Washington legislature priorities: police, health benefits, and more

SPOKANE, Wash. — While the 2022 legislative session may have just started, there is a clear picture of what they plan to cover.

Senator Jeff Holy proposed a bill to increase funding for Washington State Police and hire more officers. He said that Washington has fewer law-enforcement officers per capita than any state right now, and it’s making communities unsafe.

The bill aims to direct 0.1% of the current state sales tax to law-enforcement services. That alone could raise $250 million a year.

Another priority on the legislature’s list is funding health benefits and providing more unemployment benefits to Washington workers. The goal of the bill is to ease the access of health and unemployment benefits to Washingtonians, regardless of their immigration status.

While the health benefits bill already has a proposed budget from Governor Jay Inslee, the unemployment benefits bill has not been fully introduced.

Another bill is about a process to destroy past juvenile records. Along with juvenile record sealing, this bill hopes to de-criminalize the status of many one-time offenders whose only offense was from when they were young.

There is still much more time for legislature to address other priorities this session. Washington’s homeless problem and other housing struggles continues to be a topic many Washingtonians want to see legislature cover.

Whether its in person or remote, legislation has a lot on their agenda this year.

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