2024 State Legislative Session Takeaways: Washington

Written by Costa Costidis

The Washington Legislature adjourned the 2024 legislative session on March 7. In even-numbered years, the legislature meets for only 60 days rather than the long 105-day sessions of odd-number years.

Here’s what you may have missed:


The legislature made history in the waning days of the session when the House and Senate approved three of the six citizen initiatives brought them. The state’s ballot initiative process allows citizens to collect signatures on proposals, which are then sent to the legislature. The legislature may adopt the proposals, revise the proposals to send to the voters, or reject/ignore the proposals, which would also send them to the voters. In the last few days of session, the legislature voted to adopt three of these proposals. This is only the second time in state history that the legislature adopted multiple proposals in the same year.

The three adopted proposals create a Parents’ Bill of Rights to increase transparency in public schools, prevent state and local governments from establishing an income tax, and restore reasonable suspicion standards for vehicle pursuits by police. All three were widely supported by Republicans and passed after Democrats allowed consideration, which led House Minority Leader Drew Stokesbary (R) to remark that the 2024 session was a good one for his party. While at first glance, it may seem odd that the Democratic majority passed these initiatives, this may be because the state is anticipating a lengthy ballot in 2024 and Democrats want to spend more time educating voters on three additional initiatives that could have much more dramatic consequences in the state if passed. These initiatives would repeal the Climate Commitment Act, allow employees to opt out of the long-term care insurance program, and repeal the excise tax on certain capital gains. These three initiatives are sure to drive the policy conversation until November.

Budget Supplement

In even-numbered years, the Washington Legislature agrees to a supplemental budget to make any adjustments that have come to light since passage of the larger state budget passed in odd-numbered years. A main goal of both Governor Jay Inslee (D) and the legislature was to increase funding for behavioral health initiatives. Approximately $245 million was appropriated towards behavioral health capacity and outpatient and personal care programs. The supplemental budget also contained key amendments to the Climate Commitment Act. One of the most discussed provisions is a $150 million appropriation for public and private utilities to provide a one-time $200 credit to low- and moderate-income residents to help transition to clean energy. This was a provision first brought forward by Governor Inslee in his State of the State address and ultimately made it into the final bill.

The 2025 session will be the first in decade without Governor Inslee. He is currently the longest-serving governor in the nation but will not seek reelection in November. The favorite to succeed Inslee is current State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D). In the final of session, several high-profile lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D), announced they will not be seeking reelection. In addition to three ballot initiatives that voters will consider in November, they will also be addressing these new vacancies. To stay up to date on all state and local elections in Washington and across the country please visit www.stateside.com/election.