SB 5776

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.

As of February 25, 2019

Title: An act relating to creating the Washington state office of equity.

Brief Description: Creating the Washington state office of equity.

Sponsors: Senators Dhingra, Das, Randall, Nguyen, Saldaña, Darneille, Keiser and Wilson, C..

Brief History:

Committee Activity: State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections: 2/22/19.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Creates the Washington State Office of Equity (office), effective January 1, 2020.

  • Establishes a task force to create the initial operations plan for the office.

  • Requires agencies provide appropriate and reasonable assistance to the office, work to meet performance measures established, and implement the equity assessment tools as appropriate.


Staff: Melissa Van Gorkom (786-7491)

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

Summary of Bill: Washington State Office of Equity. The office is created on January 1, 2020, in the office of the Governor to promote access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce disparities and improve outcomes statewide across all sectors of government. The Governor must appoint a director who will:

Office Duties. The office must:

The office must also facilitate state policy and systems change to promote equity in policy, practice and outcomes through:

Office Powers. The office may:

State Agencies. All agencies must:

Task Force. A task force is established to create and submit, to the Governor and the director of the office, by December 1, 2019, the initial operations plan for the office. The operations plan must include:

The task force members include:

Task force members are entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

The council must provide staff support for the task force and coordinate community and stakeholder outreach to solicit feedback before adoption of the task force operations plan. The task force may contract with consultants and form work groups to inform the work of the taskforce in developing recommendations.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: Yes.

Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect on July 1, 2019.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: Race influences where we live, work, health impacts and other things on a daily basis and may advantage some and disadvantage others. Many agencies are doing work around equity, but the Equity Office would help to provide coordination and a mechanism for collaboration between agencies and across sectors. Agencies are already doing work in this area but no agency can do the work alone. A coordinated statewide effort can make a real impact and will allow agencies to recognize the value of working together to identify and dismantle these inequities in a more unified way. No two communities are the same and some face disproportional impacts. The bill recognizes that consultation with impacted communities is needed to make a difference. The state would be a national leader by having this Office.

OTHER: Agree that equity is an outstanding goal, but one barrier not mentioned in this bill is discrimination based on age. Age discrimination occurs across all other categories and should be considered under the bill.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Manka Dhingra, Prime Sponsor; Matias Valenzuela, King County—Office of Equity and Social Justice; Aaron Czyzewski, Food Lifeline; Kimberly Goetz, Department of Ecology; Christy Hoff, Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities; Jim Bamberger, Office of Civil Legal Aid. OTHER: Fred Yancey, State School Retirees' Association.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: Sheila Burrus, citizen; Bong Santo Domingo, Filipino Community of Seattle.