Legislature Adjourns with Important Successes
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 11:05 am
The Legislature adjourned "sine die" Thursday night, ending a short session that realized many of the governor's budget goals, headlined by a once-in-a-generation transportation revenue package that will reduce emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels. The Legislature also closed on important investments in housing and homelessness, education, and salmon recovery along with key policies to improve health care.
"Sixty days ago, I asked for big action and 60 days later legislators delivered," said Gov. Jay Inslee after legislators adjourned late Thursday. "While some work remains for next session, legislators acted on some of the most urgent issues facing Washingtonians."
In addition to the budget and transportation package, legislators approved over 300 bills this session. The actions include:
Digital Navigator Network
The Federal Communications Commission's emergency broadband benefit program is now open to help low-income households purchase internet service and devices during the pandemic. The Washington State Broadband Office's digital navigators can help people in all 39 counties apply for the program.
Households can qualify several ways, including if their income is at or below 200% federal poverty level ($55,500 for a family of four) or if they are already enrolled in a federal benefits program such as Medicaid or Social Security Insurance.
Qualifying households can get a discount up to $30 a month for internet service and a one-time discount of $100 to pay for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.
Washington National Guard
The state's veterans homes have been struggling with staffing, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. National Guard members are spending two weeks helping residents and staff at the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard, Washington Soldiers Home in Orting, and Spokane Veterans Home.
Guard members have been onsite helping to alleviate stress of veterans homes staff by answering resident call lights, cleaning meal trays, answering non-clinical requests, performing deep cleaning, performing COVID screenings, picking up manual tasks, and conducting grounds work, among many other duties.
The governor's office appreciates these members for answering the call to serve those who served our nation.
Inslee Issues Update to
Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee updated Proclamation 20-25 (Washington Ready) to rescind the face covering requirement in most places.
The face covering requirement will remain in place in healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, and correctional facilities and jails. In addition, Proclamation 20-25 is also updated to protect the right of all persons to continue wearing a face covering in any setting, except that individuals may be required to remove their face coverings briefly for identification purposes or in order to comply with state or federal law.
Due to the continuing COVID-19 threat, it is critical to continue protecting and supporting those individuals who are immunocompromised or medically vulnerable, or who remain concerned for their own health or the health of their family or community. Inslee encourages people to be kind and compassionate to individuals, students and businesses that choose to continue wearing face masks.
This emergency order is effective March 12, 2022.
Statewide Mask Policy
After 11:59 pm Friday, Washington's statewide mask policy will lift for most public locations, including schools. This announcement followed the Centers for Disease Control's new masking guidance announced in February.
"We are turning a page in our fight against the COVID-19 virus. This page is based on empowering individuals and families about protecting themselves rather than based on government restrictions. We can do this because the activity of the virus is significantly declining," said Inslee at his Feb. 28 media availability.
Masks will still be required in certain settings like health care and correctional facilities. The governor encouraged Washingtonians to be kind and compassionate as many will continue choosing to wear a mask and businesses can also continue to require masks.