Bills, bills, bills: What passed and failed in the 2024 legislative session

Gov. Jay Inslee signs a bill on Thursday, the final day of the 2024 legislative session. (Courtesy of Bill Lucia / Washington State Standard)

Washington lawmakers introduced almost 1,200 bills this session on education, public safety, taxes, housing and a wide variety of other topics – ranging from Lunar New Year to octopus farming.

Sixty days later, less than half of that legislation will become law. Here, the Standard staff breaks down what did and what didn’t make it. (For bills that died earlier in the session, see our previous wrap-up.)

• To the governor

Going into the session’s final day, roughly 340 bills had passed the Legislature and were headed to Gov. Jay Inslee.


Lawmakers approved a bill to require bleeding control kits in schools amid high rates of school shootings in the United States.

Several bills changing public school curricula are also on their way to the governor’s desk. Two would expand curricula to cover the contributions and perspectives of LGBTQ+ people and fentanyl-use prevention.

Child care

Bills to expand the business and occupation tax exemption for child care providers and increase capacity for fingerprint-based background checks for child care workers both won approval.


More dorm-like housing with separate sleeping areas and shared kitchens could be coming to cities across the state. A proposal to require large cities and counties to allow “co-living” housing is awaiting the governor’s signature.

Public safety

A ban on hogtying is on the governor’s desk four years after Manuel Ellis died while hog-tied in police custody in Tacoma.

Several bills to expand eligibility requirements for law enforcement and other civil service positions were approved: Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Thursday to allow green card holders to join the ranks of police. A bill allowing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients to join law enforcement is currently on his desk.


Democratic lawmakers pushed a few tougher gun laws past Republican opposition to the finish line. One will ban open carrying of firearms in parks, bus stations, libraries, zoos, aquariums and local government buildings. Another delivered to the governor requires gun owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm to law enforcement within 24 hours of discovering their weapon is gone. A third imposes new rules on firearm dealers concerning security and surveillance systems, and requirements that employees be at least 21 years old.


Inslee will get to sign legislation that will pave the way for merging Washington’s carbon market with those in California and Quebec. This “linkage” bill is one of the governor’s top priorities.

And House Bill 1589 – the controversial legislation to accelerate Puget Sound Energy’s transition away from natural gas – squeaked through. After the Senate approved it 27-22, the House passed it on a 50-45 vote.


On the final day, the Legislature reached agreement on the framework for legislative employees wishing to form unions and negotiate contracts. Under Senate Bill 6194, Democratic and Republican staff in each chamber cannot be in the same bargaining units. And, the final deal will allow employees to bargain on the issue of whether they are at-will employees or can only be terminated for just cause.

Other stuff

Inslee signed a ban on child marriage into law Thursday.

The Legislature also passed bills making Lunar New Year a Legislature-recognized holiday (but not an official state holiday) and reducing the amount of time mortuaries have to hold onto unclaimed human remains. 

Lawmakers approved tweaks to new wildfire-related building codes, pushing off the implementation of a new code for areas near forests and other fire-prone lands until the Department of Natural Resources can create new fire risk maps.

Also awaiting Inslee’s signature is a bill banning octopus farming. No one is pursuing this form of aquaculture today in Washington and this will keep it from happening in the state.

• Left behind 

Many high-profile proposals died over the past 60 days.


Unemployment insurance won’t be available to Washington’s undocumented workers anytime soon, despite it being a top priority of immigrant advocates this year.

Health care

A controversial proposal to require hospitals and health systems to report more information about how mergers would affect the care they provide failed in the House last week. The bill would have given the Attorney General’s Office more oversight to regulate when hospitals and health systems combine.


A number of big housing policies failed, including those to cap annual rent increases for tenants, tax the sale of expensive real estate and increase affordable housing in rural areas.

Legislation meant to expand housing near transit stops did not receive a vote in a Senate committee before a deadline last week. That bill would have required most large cities to allow denser housing near train or bus stops, but some parts of the bill, including certain affordability requirements faced criticism.

Another proposal that would have put steep penalties on cities that deny applications for transitional housing or emergency shelters did not make it through the Senate.


Efforts to add computer science as a high school graduation requirement failed to get a vote in the House. Another proposal to add a deadline to implement a tribal history and culture curriculum in K-12 schools died in the Senate. A push to add financial literacy education as a class in high school also failed.

Public safety

Nearly everything prioritized by police accountability advocates failed this session, including ‘Traffic Safety for All,” which would have restricted when cops can pull drivers over, and a bill to expand the attorney general’s authority to investigate police misconduct.


Using the palm of your hand or other biometric data to purchase alcohol will not become law, after a bill to allow businesses to do so failed in the House last month.

by Laurel Demkovich, Washington State Standard

Grace Deng and Jerry Cornfield contributed to this article.

Washington State Standard is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Washington State Standard maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Bill Lucia for questions: Follow Washington State Standard on Facebook and Twitter.

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