Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



State Government & Tribal Relations Committee

HB 1783

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Creating the Washington state office of equity.

Sponsors: Representatives Gregerson, Morgan, Ryu, Lovick, Valdez, Ramos, Thai, Reeves, Slatter, Lekanoff, Peterson, Macri, Entenman, Pettigrew, Bergquist, Callan, Stonier, Orwall, Hudgins, Riccelli, Mead, Senn, Santos, Chapman, Walen, Kloba, Doglio, Tarleton, Pollet, Dolan, Davis, Jinkins, Wylie, Shewmake, Pellicciotti, Fey, Stanford, Sells, Morris, Kilduff, Leavitt, Appleton, Tharinger, Ormsby, Frame and Robinson.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Creates the Washington State Office of Equity (Equity Office).

  • Establishes a task force to develop the initial operations plan for the Equity Office.

  • Requires all state agencies to provide appropriate and reasonable assistance to the Equity Office as needed, work to meet the established performance measures, and implement equity assessment tools as appropriate.

Hearing Date: 2/6/19

Staff: Desiree Omli (786-7105).


Various state agencies have done work around promoting equity and reducing disparities. Some examples include:

In January 2018, the Council issued a state policy action plan to eliminate health disparities. One recommendation in that plan was for the Governor to issue a policy to create a comprehensive initiative to promote equity in state government. The Council recommended that the initiative include certain aspects, such as actions to improve access to information and services for people who speak languages other than English, collect disaggregated data to raise awareness of inequities that exist in the state's communities, create performance metrics and track progress in making state government more equitable, ensure that diverse communities have a voice in state government decisions, and increase the diversity of the state workforce.

Summary of Bill:

Washington State Office of Equity–Created.

The Washington State Office of Equity (Equity Office) is created on January 1, 2020, within the Office of the Governor. The state purpose of the Equity Office is to promote access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce disparities, including racial and ethnic disparities, and improve outcomes statewide across all sectors of government.

The Governor is required to appoint a director to administer the Equity Office. The Governor must set the director's salary, in accordance with recommendations set by the OFM. The director is required to supervise the administration of the office, employ and supervise staff, and implement recommendations of the task force, as described below.

Washington State Office of EquityDuties.

The Equity Office is required to:

Washington State Office of EquityPowers.

The Equity Office may:

Responsibilities of State Agencies.

All state agencies are required to provide appropriate and reasonable assistance to the Equity Office as needed, including gathering and providing data and information. State agencies are also required to work to meet performance measures established with the assistance of Results Washington and the Equity Office. In addition, state agencies must implement, as appropriate, the equity assessment tools established by the Equity Office.

Task Force.

A task force is established to create the initial operations plan for the Equity Office, which must be adopted by the task force no later than December 1, 2019. The operations plan must include:

The task force must submit the adopted operations plan to the Governor and the director of the Equity Office. The task force is staffed by the Council. The task force may, through the Council, contract with consultants and experts in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as form work groups to inform the work of the task force.

The members of the task force include:

The task force members are entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with law.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on February 3, 2019.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect on July 1, 2019.