The Capitol building in Olympia is marble colored and include pillars and a dome in the classic style.
The State Capitol in Olympia. (Stephen Fesler)

The Washington State Legislature has recently kicked off its 2022 session. It’s going to be a shorter session than last year since even-numbered years only have a 60-day session period. However, the legislative agenda promises to be full with both new bills and some bills that were introduced last session coming up for consideration.

At the moment, we’re tracking a very large number of bills. It’s important to highlight that some bills have effectively been ruled out and have little chance of gaining traction. Still, a lot could happen in the next 60 days, providing for exciting progress on transportation, housing, land use, and the environment. New bills, such as House Bill 1782, and companion Senate Bill 5670, which would legalize missing middle housing statewide, have been filed in recent weeks. These bills could see momentum despite the short nature of this session.

Other bills to watch include House 1099 and Senate Bill 5042 which would close the sprawl loophole in the Growth Management Act (GMA). Futurewise has been advocating strongly for the passage of legislation that would close the sprawl loophole and they are hopeful that this will be the year it gets accomplished.

Another topic we have covered in the past is Senate Bill 5528, which would allow for any city, subarea, or county within Sound Transit’s Regional Taxing Area to create an “enhanced service area,” effectively allowing voters to raise additional funds for transit. Seattle Subway has been advocating for this law to pass in effort an effort to advance their vision for a Sound Transit 4 expansion plan. The organization is encouraging supporters to submit a note in favor of the bill online.

Here’s our complete list of bills to watch. We will continue to monitor and update the list as the session moves ahead.

BillTopic AreaYearDescription
HB 1099Growth Management2021This bill would add climate as a key goal and part of the Growth Management Act.
HB 1241Environment2021This bill would modify the timeline for major comprehensive plan updates and Shoreline Master Plans, require cities and counties to fill progress reports on comprehensive plan implementation, and require consultation in the planning process with federally-recognized tribal governments.
HB 1330 Transportation2021This bill would create a limited sales and use tax exemption on the purchase of electric bikes and related equipment.
HB 1337Housing2021This bill would create financial incentives to local governments to adopt certain accessory dwelling unit regulations.
HB 1524Transportation2021This bill would create a limited sales and use tax exemption on the purchase of electric bikes and related equipment.
HB 1643Housing2022This bill, and its companion, would exempt the sale or transfer of property for affordable housing by certain entities from the Real Estate Excise Tax.
HB 1660Housing2022This bill, and its companion, prohibit an owner-occupancy requirement from being imposed on a lot with an accessory dwelling unit unless an accessory dwelling unit on the lot is being used for short-term rental.
HB 1705Safety2022This bill closes the "ghost gun loophole" allowing individuals to skirt gun laws and the tracing efforts of law enforcement by assembling guns themselves from parts.
HB 1711Growth Management2022This bill would clarify in the Growth Management Act that cities and planning under the act may "waive or defer fees, including impact fees; defer the payment of taxes; or waive specific regulations" on accessory dwelling units, provided that such units are not regularly used as short-term rentals and that appropriate agreements are recorded.
HB 1717Growth Management2022This bill would directly facilitate participation of federally-recognized tribal governments in the planning processes under the Growth Management Act.
HB 1727Elections2022This bill would transition most local elections to even-numbered years.
HB 1731Transportation2022This bill would strengthen requirements for autonomous vehicle testing within the state.
HB 1738Housing2022This bill would increase the amount of debt that the Washington State Housing Finance Commission could carry to finance affordable housing projects.
HB 1770Environment2022This bill, and its companion, would push the state energy building codes toward greener standards and begin to ready buildings for a net-zero paradigm.
HB 1782Growth Management2022This bill, and its companion, would allow missing middle housing in areas that permit single-family homes in cities planning under the Growth Management Act. It also increases density requirements by the population size of a city and proximity to defined major transit stop locations. A somewhat similar but less ambitious bill was filed last year.
HB 1838Growth Management2022This bill, and its companion, would seek to establish programs and regulations that protect, restore, and maintain habitat to support salmon recovery. A similar bill from last year had comparable aims.
HB 1904Housing2021This bill, sponsored by Rep. Strom Peterson, requires landlords to give at least six months written notice for significant rent increases of 7.5% or more, allows a tenant to move without penalty if they can’t afford the rent increase, and limits late fees to $75. While not rent control, it would slow the pace of rent gouging. It is in House Rules Committee needing a floor vote by February 15th.
SB 5042Growth Management2021This bill would address a loophole in the Growth Management Act that allows illegitimate urban growth area expansions to occur and development projects to vest prematurely. It would delay the effective date for actions to expand urban growth areas and certain other land designations to provide appropriate time for any appeals to work themselves out.
SB 5078Safety2021This bill, and its companion, would ban high capacity magazines for guns. The bill sets the high capacity limit at magazines holding more than 17 rounds of ammunition and establishes a violation as a gross misdemeanor.
SB 5217Safety2021This bill, and it companion, would ban assault weapons.
SB 5354Transportation2021This bill would allow Seattle to use a single flagger to control intersections without police officer present under an approved traffic control plan.
SB 5510Transportation2022This bill would allow sales and use taxes for Transportation Benefit Districts to be renewed up to ten years with an affirmative vote of the electorate, essentially extending the number of times such taxes may be imposed.
SB 5528Transportation2022This bill would provide new taxing authority to Sound Transit to fund specialized expansion projects within "enhanced service zones." Cities, towns, and other areas that want to fund such specialized projects would have to vote on a measure authorizing them and new taxes. Last year, a Seattle-specific bill, HB 1304, had similar aims.
SB 5584Elections2022This bill would allow for the use of ranked-choice voting systems in local elections. A similar bill, HB 1156, from last year had similar aims.
SB 5687Transportation2022This bill would allow cities to install automatic speed cameras within the designated walk area of a school, not just at the school's front door.
SB 5707Transportation2022This bill would extend authorization of Seattle to use automated camera enforcement for transit lanes, crosswalks, and intersections by two years to June 30, 2025.
SB 5818Growth Management2022This bill would limit appeals to certain urban housing construction and zoning amendments under the Growth Management Act and State Environmental Policy Act.
HB 1769Sunsetting Community Councils2022This bill would sunset community municipal corporations, better known as community councils, within 30 days of passage.

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Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.

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Doug Trumm is publisher of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in 2019. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.

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Natalie Bicknell Argerious (she/her) is a reporter and podcast host at The Urbanist. She previously served as managing editor. A passionate urban explorer since childhood, she loves learning how to make cities more inclusive, vibrant, and environmentally resilient. You can often find her wandering around Seattle's Central District and Capitol Hill with her dogs and cat. Email her at natalie [at] theurbanist [dot] org.

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Ryan Packer lives in the Summit Slope neighborhood of Capitol Hill and has been writing for the The Urbanist since 2015. They report on multimodal transportation issues, #VisionZero, preservation, and local politics. They believe in using Seattle's history to help attain the vibrant, diverse city that we all wish to inhabit. Ryan's writing has appeared in Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, Bike Portland, and Seattle Bike Blog, where they also did a four-month stint as temporary editor.