The Washington 2023 Legislative Session is Complete

The 2023 Washington Legislative session concluded on Sunday, April 23rd and I wanted to give you an update on how three priority issues faired.


hero_image_alt_text===A picture of the Washington Capitol building
thumbnail_alt_text===A picture of the Washington Capitol building

HB 1238 - Providing free school meals for all

Thank you to all of those who sent their legislators a message in support of this important legislation!

Here's a brief summary of the passed bill:

    • Requires certain public schools serving grades K-4 to provide breakfast and lunch each school day at no charge to any student who requests these meals.
    • Phases in this requirement beginning in schools with 40 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced-price meals in the 2023-24 school year, and then including schools with 30 percent or more of their students eligible in the 2024-25 school year.

This bill was delivered to the Governor's office on April 20th and he signed it on May 10th. 

SB 5365 - Preventing use of vapor and tobacco products by minors

While this bill underwent quite a few changes, the bill is finally at a place that we can support it. 

Here's a brief summary of the passed bill:

    • Increases the maximum monetary penalties the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) may impose against cigarette and tobacco products retailer licensees and vapor products retailer licensees for selling or giving cigarette, tobacco, or vapor products to minors.
    • Only LCB enforcement officers, not peace officers, may detain persons under 18 to determine their identity and date of birth and seizing products, when actions are within 100 feet or less of a tobacco retailer.
    • Penalties for persons under 18 if caught purchasing, possessing cigarette, tobacco or vapor products updated to remove the financial penalty, minors may be subject to up to four hours of community service and referral to a smoking cessation program at no cost.

Commercial Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding

The State Legislature's final operating budget invested $2.5 million in ongoing funding per year for tobacco and vapor product control and prevention. The revenue forecast predicted that Washington will be down close to $1 billion over the next four-year period, but this funding shows that budget writers clearly recognize the importance of rebuilding the tobacco prevention and cessation framework in Washington State. This is a crucial first step, and we will continue our work to fully rebuild these lifesaving programs.

During the  interim (the time between now and the 2024 session), we're hoping to build momentum for a statewide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco ban (including e-cigarettes). If you're interested in learning more or volunteering, please send me an email to: [email protected].


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