The upcoming 2022 session, redistricting, and engaging in the legislative process | Rep. Mike Steele
information and photos released
Dear Friends and Neighbors — The Thanksgiving holiday means many things. For my family, it’s always been a time for celebrating and enjoying the company of loved ones with fun, laughter and, most notably, a wonderful turkey dinner. But now, as a state representative, it also means that the legislative session is right around the corner.
The 2022 legislative session is scheduled to begin on Monday, Jan. 10. In the state’s constitutionally defined two-year work cycle, even-numbered years are designated as “short” sessions because they only run 60-days. With only a little more than eight weeks to review, analyze and decide on literally thousands of legislative proposals — the session will indeed be short, but the work won’t be.
House and Senate operations for 2022 session
For the upcoming session, the Senate recently announced it will do its work both in-person and remotely. Under the Senate’s guidelines, state senators and support staff will be allowed in the Senate chambers, regardless of vaccination status, but will be required to submit to daily COVID-19 testing. The House will allow only a limited number of legislators in the House chambers if they are vaccinated.
To access their on-campus offices, unvaccinated House members will need to submit to a minimum of three COVID -19 tests per week. Members of the public who would like to watch the legislative proceedings from the Senate or House galleries will be allowed to do so, but in limited numbers. In the House gallery, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours will be required.
Prefiling bills for 2022 session
Prefiling of legislative proposals for the upcoming session starts on Monday, Dec. 6. Submitting bills early allows House and Senate committees to establish their agendas prior to the official first week of legislative work. The bills will then be “officially” introduced on the first day of session.
After Dec. 6, if you would like to review any of the prefiled bills, you can do so by clicking here.
Every ten years, shortly after the release of the federal census data, the state redraws its congressional and district maps to better reflect population changes. Regrettably, for the first time since the bipartisan Washington State Redistricting Commission was created in 1990, the commission has failed to complete its work on time.
According to state law, the decision on the maps now defaults to the state Supreme Court, which must complete the work by April 30, 2022. For more information on redistricting, and its potential impact on our region, here are some articles and links to information:
- In a first, court will decide new WA redistricting plan as commission falters (Crosscut)
- Washington’s redistricting commission emerges Tuesday night, post-deadline, with agreement on boundaries. What’s next? (Seattle Times)
- Washington state redistricting commission admits failure to meet deadline for new political maps (Seattle Times)
- Failed redistricting would have split Chelan and Douglas from 12th District, among other changes (NCW Life)
- To view the final commission-approved maps, click here.
How to engage in the legislative process | Remote testimony
Getting involved and staying informed about legislative topics is easier than most people might think. One of the biggest success stories to come out of the 2021 session was remote testimony. For residents that live far from the Capitol Campus in Olympia, like those in the 12th District, sharing your thoughts on bills before the Legislature is as easy as turning on your computer. Take a look at the information below on how to get started:
Want to testify on a bill? Here’s a few links that can help:
- Accessing the Legislature remotely
- Committee Sign In – Remote Testimony (House/Senate/Joint)
- How to comment on a bill
- Americans with Disabilities Act Information
Additional legislative resources:
- A Citizen’s Guide to Effective Legislative Participation
- Legislative process (video)
- Cutoff calendar
- Glossary of legislative terms
- Find your legislative district
Please stay in touch!
Because of certain state restrictions, I will not be sending another email update until the second week of January. If you have questions or concerns about state government-related matters, please contact my office. I’m always happy to help.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve and represent you.
12th Legislative District
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000