2021 legislative session ends with historic wins for climate, COVID relief

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A historic, largely virtual, 105-day legislative session ended Sunday night with lawmakers taking action on the state’s operating budget and making final decisions on important legislation, including the Climate Commitment Act, the low carbon fuel standard, police accountability and the capital gains tax on extraordinary profits.

Inslee’s focus of the 2021 session was “relief, recovery and resilience,” and the Legislature passed a life-saving $2.2 billion COVID-19 relief bill, a Working Families Tax Credit and climate legislation that will both improve public health and increase economic opportunity while fighting the climate crisis.

The governor had 11 pieces of request legislation this year; eight bills were passed, two were incorporated into the budget and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler instituted a rule ensuring the implementation of the focus of the remaining bill.

“It was a remarkable session with far-reaching impacts to the long-term well-being of our state,” Inslee said Sunday night. “So many of these achievements were years in the making. It took hard work, sweat and tears of many in this state to see these policies finally make it over the finish line.”

The Legislature also passed a historic suite of equity policies that Inslee supported in his budget, funding a new Office of Independent Investigations for police use-of-force cases, placing a statue of Billy Frank Jr. in the Capitol and National Statuary Hall, and restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals.

With the improved state revenue collections and large infusions of federal COVID-related relief funds, legislative budget writers had far more resources to work with than the governor did when he put together his budgets last fall. The final operating and capital budgets — including for the current and next biennium — fund most of the priorities the governor put forward in December.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.

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