State of Washington
67th Legislature
2022 Regular Session
BySenators Carlyle, Braun, Brown, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Honeyford, Hunt, Keiser, Liias, Lovelett, Nguyen, Pedersen, Saldaña, Van De Wege, Warnick, C. Wilson, and L. Wilson
Read first time 02/12/22.Referred to Committee on Ways & Means.
AN ACT Relating to the legislative chamber skylights; creating a new section; and making an appropriation.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. For nearly a century, the Washington state legislative building has served as the symbol of the state's free and democratic government, welcoming the people of Washington as they engage with the citizen legislators who represent their voices in Olympia.
Completed in 1928, the elegant, American-neoclassical style building is the centerpiece of the capitol campus designed by architects Walter Wilder and Harry White. The campus presents a grand example of the City Beautiful Movement of the progressive era of the early 20th century and in 1979 its buildings and grounds were entered into the national register of historic places.
The state legislative building originally included skylight systems above the chambers of the house of representatives and the senate. For decades, these skylight systems bathed the work of each chamber in an amber-tinted glow, admitting natural light filtered through a layer of opalescent glass panels in an intricate, ornamental bronze grid work laylight.
While a similar skylight system continues to illuminate the building's state reception room, the skylight openings and glass panels above the legislative chambers were removed in the 1970s amid renovations to the building. The bronze ceiling laylights remain, but the skylight openings and glass panels were replaced by a stainless steel roof and by insulation painted black to obstruct any view.
The legislature recognizes that the state legislative building, which has withstood three earthquakes due to its excellent structural design and the superb craftsmanship of its builders, is an invaluable architectural treasure that should be preserved and maintained in line with its original design.
The legislature also recognizes the symbolic value of opening the seat of state government to the light of public scrutiny. Sunlight is essential to democracy and public trust in government improves when government demonstrates that it is transparent and open. Accordingly, the legislature finds it necessary to appropriate funding to restore the skylight systems above the chambers of the house of representatives and the senate.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. The sum of $5,982,000, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 2023, from the state building construction account-state appropriation to the department of enterprise services for the purposes of this act. This funding is for design and construction for the restoration of the legislative skylight systems located above the chambers of the house of representatives and the senate, to include work on each bronze ceiling laylight, skylight attic, roof and skylight system, and chamber acoustics.
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