2021 Legislative Session | KNKX

2021 Legislative Session

Capitol dome in Olympia in January 2020.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Washington Legislature approved rules to allow lawmakers to meet remotely because of the pandemic. The in-person votes Monday in Olympia happened under tight security with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

The State Patrol and the Washington National Guard line the perimeter of the state Capitol in Olympia on Monday.
Casey Martin / KUOW

Updated at 4:10 p.m.: We are keeping an eye on the Capitol in Olympia today as lawmakers convene for the 2021 legislative session. While the focus inside will be on voting whether to meet virtually for this session, the focus outside will be on safety.

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2014, file photo, waves break on the remains of a structure as a house that toppled over the eroding Pacific Ocean shoreline of North Cove, Wash., shown in the background. This erosion may be climate-change-driven sea level rise.
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo / file

As state lawmakers gear up for the new legislative session, advocates for environmental justice are urging them to pass the HEAL Act of 2021. The acronym stands for “Healthy Environment for All.” It aims to target state investments into areas that have suffered the worst effects of pollution.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, bangs the gavel as she presides over the Washington Senate, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

Washington state's Employment Security Department has been hit hard during the pandemic. There was a dramatic increase in jobless claims when businesses were forced to shut down in the spring. And a crime ring used stolen identities to take hundreds of millions of dollars from the unemployment insurance program.