1st Legislative District Democrats – Legislative Alert for April 21, 2019

We are rapidly approaching the end of the legislative session.  We have one week before the session closes.  The session ends on April 28, 2019.  The only items that can be considered this week in the legislature are initiatives, alternatives to initiatives, budgets and matters necessary to implement budgets, matters that affect state revenue, messages pertaining to amendments, differences between the houses, and matters incident to the interim and closing of the session.

Last Wednesday April 17, was the last day this session that bills which are not directly needed to help implement the budget could be considered in the opposite chamber.  This means we have a very near final list of NOW priority bills that passed into law this session.

Top Action of the Week:

Tracking the Reproductive Health Access for All Act (SB 5602):

The Health Equity and Reproductive Rights Coalition (HERRO Coalition) – a group of more than a dozen advocacy organizations and reproductive health care providers in Washington state working to advance equity in sexual and reproductive rights, health, and justice. 

The HERRO Coalition has been leading the charge to build and advance SB 5602, a bill that expands reproductive health care services to historically excluded communities including transgender or gender non-conforming and non-documented immigrant communities.

On April 16 the House passed an amendment to the bill which removed the Take Charge look-alike program (section 2) which extended access to free birth control provided by the state’s Medicaid program to non-documented immigrant communities.   The decision to remove this section of the bill was very controversial, though the House Democrat’s indicated the policy could still be enacted through a budget proviso which would allocate funds for this purpose.  The HERRO Coalition responded quickly to this amendment and issued  a letter to House Speaker Frank Chopp and the House Democratic Caucus, which you can read here.

We believe that immigration status should not affect anyone’s ability to access family planning care the HERRO Coalition is working hard to ensure these vital services reach immigrants who currently cannot access state medical services due to federal restrictions.  It also remains critical that the bill’s language expanding health care services to transgender or gender non-conforming patients passes into law this year.

Stay tuned for next steps this week, as the HERRO Coalition works with state legislators to ensure the intent of the original bill is upheld and that all communities impacted by this legislation are served and supported.

You can in the meantime contact your legislators (Representatives and Senators) and ask that they stand with immigrants in our state by retaining the Take Charge program and funding it as originally cited in SB 5602.  All Washingtonians especially those already marginalized by gender identity or immigration status need access to reproductive health to survive. We cannot secure our health, self-determination, and rights to build and raise our families with dignity if we don’t include those marginalized by gender identity and immigration status.

You can also contact your legislators by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1 800-562-6000.  You can also contact them by e-mail using this format:  firstname.lastname@leg.wa.gov.  If you need to look up your legislators, use the following link to find them: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Bills Lost This Week:

We are disappointed to report that the following four bills did not pass the cut-off on April 17 and will not advance this year.   However, we expect these policies will return next year and we will speak out for these important pieces of legislation.

  • SHB 1231: Addresses the statute of limitations for certain offenses. Authorizes the following offenses to be prosecuted at any time after their commission: Rape of a child in the first degree; and child molestation in the first degree.
  • SB 5822 : Providing a pathway to establish a universal health care system for the residents of Washington state.
  • SB 5160: Concerning property tax exemptions for service-connected disabled veterans and senior citizens.
  • HB 1998: Creating a task force on sexual violence at institutions of higher education.

The following list includes partial list of the 1st District’s Priority bills that have – or will be – passed into law:

HB 1198 Health provider misconduct notice Requiring health care providers sanctioned for sexual misconduct to notify patients.
HB 1412 Nonresident pharmacies Concerning nonresident pharmacies.
SB 5526 Individual health insurance market Increasing the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market.
SB 5602 Reproductive health care Eliminating barriers to reproductive health care for all.
HB 1016 Sexual assault kit notice Concerning hospital notification of availability of sexual assault evidence kit collection.
HB 1149 Sexual assault protection orders Clarifying requirements to obtain a sexual assault protection order.
HB 1350 Temporary protection orders Issuing temporary protection orders.
HB 1533 D.V. resources in workplace Making information about domestic violence resources available in the workplace.
SB 5861 Legislature/code of conduct Extending respectful workplace code of conduct provisions to all members of the legislative community.
SHB 1166 Sexual assault Requires the Joint Legislative Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Examination to: (1) Develop policies and submit recommendations on the storage, retention, and destruction of unreported sexual assault kits; (2) Monitor implementation of state and federal legislative changes; (3) Collaborate with the office of the attorney general to implement reforms pursuant to federal grant requirements; and (4) Make recommendations for institutional reforms. Provides a December 31, 2021, expiration date for the task force.
HB 1382 Emergency aid/prostitution Increasing access to emergency assistance for victims by providing immunity from prosecution for prostitution offenses in some circumstances.
HB 1517 Domestic violence Requires the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to conduct a study on domestic violence (DV) treatment programs operating under the new administrative regulatory model. Requires the Washington State University Department of Criminal Justice to develop a DV risk assessment tool. Makes other updates to existing statues.
HB 1756 Adult entertainer safety Requires adult entertainers to take training relating to the rights and responsibilities of entertainers, reporting of injuries, and other matters to receive an adult entertainer license issued by a local government. Requires adult entertainment establishments to issue panic buttons to entertainers and ban customers for three years if an accusation of violence or harassment against the customer is supported by a statement made under penalty of perjury or other evidence.
HB 1786 Protection, etc. orders Improving procedures and strengthening laws relating to protection orders, no-contact orders, and restraining orders.
SSB 5258 Isolated worker protection Preventing the sexual harassment and sexual assault of certain isolated workers.  Requires Every hospitality, retail, behavioral health care, or custodial employer, or labor contractor who employs a custodian, security guard, hotel or motel housekeeper, or any worker who spends  a majority of her or his working hours alongside two or fewer coworkers at a location that is not her or his home must: (a) adopt a sexual harassment policy;( b) provide mandatory training to the employer’s managers, supervisors, and employees to: Prevent sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace; provide trainings; provide support information.
HB 1713 Native American women Improving law enforcement response to missing and murdered Native American women.
SB 5063 Ballots, prepaid postage Providing prepaid postage for all election ballots.
SSB 5079 Native Americans/voting Enacting the Native American voting rights act of Washington.
SB 5356 LGBTQ commission Establishing the Washington state LGBTQ commission.
HB 1696 Wage and salary information Concerning wage and salary information.
HB 1743 Prevailing rate of wages Addressing the methodology for establishing the prevailing rate of wages for the construction of affordable housing, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and low-income weatherization and home rehabilitation public works.
HB 1155 Health care employees Concerning meal and rest breaks and mandatory overtime for certain health care employees.
SB 5865 Filipino American history Declaring October as Filipino American history month.
HB 1065 Out of network health care Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services.
HB 1105 Home foreclosure/taxes Protecting taxpayers from home foreclosure.
HB 1531 Medical debt Reforming the Rules for Medical Debt Collection.
HB 1602 Consumer debt Concerning Consumer Debt.
HB 1730 Payment/limitations period Concerning the effect of payment or acknowledgment made after the expiration of a limitations period.
SB 5621 Small claims court jurisdiction amount Increasing the jurisdictional amount for small claims courts.

A Note About the Budget:

During this final week of session, all eyes are turned to passing final versions of the operating, capital and transportation budgets. NOW supports a budget that will raise revenue to help enact key policies and support communities all over this state.  Specifically, NOW supports a budget that:

Enacts an 8.9% capital gains tax on profits of more than $250,000 on the sale of stocks, bonds, commercial real estate, or a large business.  Revenue generated by the capital gains tax would be used to provide tax reductions for less wealthy Washingtonians. Under the bill, expected revenues of $780 million starting in 2021 would fund: 

  • Working Families Tax Credit ($220 M): A sales tax rebate for 400,000 of the state’s lower-income families.
  • Small businesses tax cut ($260 M): Up to $3,000 in B&O tax relief for businesses grossing less than $2.5 million in revenue annually. This would apply to approximately 350,000 – or 90 percent – of Washington small businesses.
  • Senior property tax reduction ($15 M): A property tax reduction for approximately 21,000 households to help senior citizens with economic and housing stability.
  • Eliminate sales tax on certain products ($235 M): Sales tax ended on diapers, medical and mobility equipment, feminine hygiene products, and over-the-counter medications.

Reforms the way the state’s real estate excise tax (REET) is assessed, creating a progressive, graduated REET in place of the current flat rates, with homes sold for less than $250,000 getting a cut in their rate, homes sold for between $250,000-$1 million paying the same rate as now, and increased rates on homes sold for over $1 million and $5 million. 

Changes the sales tax exemption for non-residents into a reimbursement program and eliminates the preferential B&O rate for travel agents and tour operators.

National Organization for Women signed in to support all three of these important measures, further helping to demonstrate widespread public support for closing the tax break on capital gains, enacting a progressive real estate excise tax, closing obsolete and inefficient tax breaks, and investing in a wide range of services and progressive tax reforms.

For a full explanation of how a bill becomes law click here.

You can contact your legislators by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1 800-562-6000.  You can also contact them by e-mail using this format:  firstname.lastname@leg.wa.gov.  A complete list of email addresses for all legislators can be found at https://app.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/ If you need to look up your legislators, use the following link to find them: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/.

For details of the above bills see details below.

Note:  Committee members for House and Senate Committees are listed at the end of this alert. 

I have also included hyperlinks on each of the bill actions below, which will take you to the WA State Legislature’s comment page for the bill where you can enter your support or opposition to the bill and include a comment (up to 1000 characters).

Civil and Equal Rights

Initiative 1000

            Initiative 1000 – Washington State diversity, equity and exclusion act

            SUPPORT

Initiative 1000 redefines Affirmative Action to provide equal opportunity in Education, Employment and Contracting (Entrepreneurship) for the following groups:

  • Women
  • Veterans
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • People of Color;

Eliminates quotas and preferential treatment from Affirmative Action;

Expands Affirmative Action to include all Honorably discharged Veterans;

Protects Washington’s colleges & universities from federal penalties should they utilize race as a factor in their student admissions programs;

Expands the term, “sexual orientation” to all state anti-discrimination laws; and

Creates Washington State’s 1st Governors Commission on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Status: I-1000 has been assigned to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee where has been scheduled for a public hearing on April 18. It has also been assigned to the Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections and it has been scheduled for a hearing also on April 18

Action:  Let your representatives and senators know that you support Initiative 1000 and ask that it be passed out of the legislature as written.

Prepaid Postage for All Election Ballots

SB 5063 Providing prepaid postage for all election ballots.

SUPPORT

SB 5063 requires prepaid postage on return envelopes for all elections, with county costs for the postage to be reimbursed by the state.

Status:  SB 5063 passed the Senate on a unanimous vote. As it passed both houses in slightly different versions. It now goes back to the Senate for concurrence and negotiations between the two houses.

Action: Contact your senators and ask that they vote to concur with the House amendment on SB 5063.

Health Care Employees

            HB 1155 Concerning meal and rest breaks and mandatory overtime for certain health care employees.

HB 1155 addresses meals and rest periods for licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, surgical technologists, diagnostic radiologic technologists, cardiovascular invasive specialists, respiratory care practitioners, and certified nursing assistants. The bills prohibit an employer from: (1) Using prescheduled on call time to fill chronic or foreseeable staff shortages; and (2) Scheduling nonemergency procedures that would require overtime. Exceptions are allowed to the uninterrupted meal and rest break requirement, to allow for clinical circumstances that raise the acuity of the unit such that the employee is needed back from break to avoid patient harm. Provides that the prohibition on mandatory overtime does not apply to sexual assault nurse examiners who work on a prescheduled on-call basis. Allows an employer to apply to the Department of Labor and Industries for a variance from the meal and rest break and overtime provisions.

Status:  HB 1155 passed the House on a 30 to 18 vote and is on its way to the governor for signature

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1155 into law.

Native American Voting Rights

SB 5079 Enacting the Native American voting rights act of Washington

PASSED and SIGNED by Governor Inslee

SB 5079 allows for non-traditional addresses when a traditional address has not been assigned or affixed to a voter’s residence or when a voter resides on an Indian reservation or Indian lands. This bill also permits the use of tribal identification for electronic voter registration the Secretary of State can obtain a copy of the applicant’s signature. It authorizes tribes to request ballot drop boxes on reservations and designation of state facilities on reservations as voter registration sites, with legal enforcement for election officials to comply.

Status: SB 5079 passed out of the House with amendments and was sent back to the Senate where they concurred with the engrossed substitute bill and amendments on a 45 to 3 vote. This bill was signed into law by Governor Inslee on March 14.

Action: Celebrate

Working Families Tax Credit

HB 1527 Providing a working families’ tax credit.

SB 5810 Providing a working families’ tax credit.

SUPPORT

HB 1527 and SB 5810 provide a sales tax credit for low-income working individuals and families similar to the federal earned income tax credit. The objective as cited in the bill is allow low-income and middle-income workers to recover some or all of the sales tax, they pay to support state and local government as a way to increase their economic security and to decrease the regressivity of our state tax code. It is the legislature’s intent to provide a sales and use tax exemption, in the form of a remittance, to low income and middle-income working families. If a review finds that the working families’ tax credit provides meaningful financial relief to low-income and middle-income households, then the legislature intends to extend the expiration date of the tax preference.

Status: HB 1527 and SB 5810 have had hearings in the House and Senate, and they were awaiting final revenue and budget agreements. The House budget which was released the beginning of this past passed the House without the Working Families Tax Credit. The Senate version does include it in its version of its budget/revenue package.

Action: Contact your senators and representatives ask for support a working families tax credit in the budget.

Immigrants

SB 5497 Establishing a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace.

SUPPORT

SB 5497 establishes a state wide workgroup to develop strategies with private sector businesses, labor and immigrant advocacy groups to support current and future industries across the state.

The attorney general’s office is to develop model policies for limiting immigration enforcement to the fullest extent possible consistent with federal and state law at public schools, health facilities operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state, courthouses, and shelters to assure that they remain safe and accessible to all WA residents regardless of immigration status. These entities must then adopt necessary changes to their policies to be consistent with the model policy. If they do not adopt these changes the agency must state why and provide a copy of their policy to the attorney general. All other organizations that provide services related to physical or mental health and wellness, education, or access to justice, are encouraged to adopt the model policy.

State agencies must review their confidentiality policies and identify any changes necessary to ensure that personal information collected on individuals is limited to that necessary to perform agency duties and is not used or disclosed for other purposes. Policies must clearly state that public employees may not condition services or request information or proof regarding a person’s immigration or citizenship status, or place of birth, except as required by law. The policies must also ensure that public services are available to, and public employees shall serve, all Washington residents without regard to immigration or citizenship status.

Status: SB 5497 has now passed both the House and the Senate but in slightly different versions.  It now goes back to the Senate for concurrence and negotiations between the two houses.

Action: Contact your senators and ask that they vote to concur with the House amendment on SB 5497.

LGBTQ Commission

SB 5356 Establishing the Washington state LGBTQ commission.

SUPPORT

SB 5356 establishes the Washington State LGBTQ Commission. The commission would have 15 members appointed by the governor and would be responsible for monitoring and advocating for legislation affecting LGBTQ people, assess programs and policies affecting LGBTQ people, coordinate with minority commissions, women’s commission and human rights commission to address issues of mutual concern and work as a liaison between the public and private sectors to eliminate barriers to economic and health equity for LGBTQ people

Status: Substitute SB 5356 has now passed both the House on a 67 to 28 vote.  As it passed both the House and the Senate in slightly different versions it now goes back to the Senate for concurrence and negotiations between the two houses.

Action: Contact your senators and ask that they vote to concur with the House amendment on SB 5356.

Transportation Funding and Tribes

HB 1584 Restricting the availability of state funds to regional transportation planning organizations that do not provide a reasonable opportunity for voting membership to certain federally recognized tribes.

SUPPORT

HB 1584 sets a requirement for regional transportation planning organizations to be eligible for state funds that they make reasonable opportunity for voting membership for federally recognized tribes that hold a reservation or trust lands within their planning area of the organization.

Status: HB 1584 has now passed the Senate on April 10 with a 27 to 19 vote and will move forward to be signed by the governor.

Action: Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1584 into law.

Filipino American History

SB 5865 An act relating to declaring October as Filipino American history month.

SUPPORT

SB 5867 declares October as Filipino American history month. The Legislature has recognized Filipino American History Month for years in an annual resolution. This bill will institutionalize that practice and continue that tradition indefinitely.

Status: SB 5867 passed the House on a unanimous vote on April 17 and is on its way to the governor for signature.

Action: Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign SB 5867 into law.

Consumer Rights

Debt Collection

HB 1066 Requiring debt collection complaints to be filed prior to service of summons and complaint.

SUPPORT

Requires that debt collection complaints be filed before service of the summons and complaint on defendants to ensure that defendants: (1) Understand that it is an existing court case; (2) Are informed of the case number; and (3) Receive adequate notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond and be heard to avoid default judgment. Prohibits a licensee or employee of a licensee from serving a debtor with a summons and complaint unless the summons and complaint have been filed with the court and bear the case number assigned by the court. 

Status:  HB 1066 passed the Senate on a 31 to 17 vote on April 15.  It is on its way to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1066 into law.

Senior Citizen and Veterans Property Taxes

SB 5160 Concerning property tax exemptions for service-connected disabled veterans and senior citizens.

SUPPORT

SB 5160 seeks to adjust the income qualification thresholds for the exemption program and are modified beginning with taxes levied for collection in calendar year 2020, and thereafter, as follows:

  • Income Threshold 1 replaces the $30,000 income threshold—Income Threshold 1 is defined as equal to the greater of Income Threshold 1 for the previous year or 45 percent of the county median household income (CMI);
  • Income Threshold 2 replaces the $35,000 income threshold—Income Threshold 2 is defined as equal to the greater of Income Threshold 2 for the previous year or 55 percent of CMI; and
  • Income Threshold 3 replaces the $40,000 income threshold—Income Threshold 3 is defined as equal to the greater of Income Threshold 3 for the previous year or 65 percent of CMI. The income threshold for the deferral program is defined as equal to the greater of the income threshold for the previous year or 75 percent of CMI, replacing the $45,000 income threshold.

The income threshold for the deferral program is defined as equal to the greater of the income threshold for the previous year or 75 percent of CMI, replacing the $45,000 income threshold. Senate Bill Report – 3 – SB 5160 CMI is defined as median household income estimates for Washington by county of the legal address of the principal place of residence, as published by the Office of Financial Management (OFM).

A claimant may, among other stated exceptions, be confined to the home of a relative for the purpose of long-term care without disqualification to the property tax exemption program.

 The term “principal place of residence” is defined to mean a residence occupied for more than nine months each calendar year.

 The bill includes language that states the tax preference is exempt from the tax preference performance statement and ten-year expiration date requirements for new tax preferences because the Legislature intends for the preference in this act to be permanent.

The substitute versions of these bills added language to add an heir to those who can keep the deferral going if they independently qualify for the program and have been living in the house.

Status:  SB 5160 is DEAD as if failed to pass out of the House by the April 17 cutoff.

Out of Network Health Care Services

HB 1065 Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services.

SUPPORT

HB 1065 establishes the balance billing protection act. This bill finds that consumers receive surprise bills or balance bills for services provided at out-of-network facilities or by out-of-network health care providers at in-network facilities. HB 1065 and SB 5031 declare an intent to: (1) Ban balance billing of consumers enrolled in fully insured, regulated insurance plans and plans offered to public employees under state health care authority provisions for certain services; (2) Provide self-funded group health plans with an option to elect to be subject to the provisions of this act; and (3) Remove consumers from balance billing disputes and require that out-of-network providers and carriers negotiate out-of-network payments in good faith under the terms of this act.

Status:  HB 1065 passed out of the Senate on a unanimous vote on April 10.  On April 18, the House concurred with the Senate amendments.  HB 1065 is now on its way to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1065 into law.

Protecting Taxpayers from Home Foreclosure

HB 1105 Protecting taxpayers from home foreclosure.

SUPPORT

HB 1105 is a bill that seeks to help consumers avoid foreclosure due to a lapse in the payment of state property taxes. The bill creates a counselor referral hotline account and a housing counseling activities account. The objective of the bill is to provide greater notice to taxpayers who are delinquent and help provide a mechanism to cure the delinquency through housing counselor assistance and/or through a payment plan agreement with taxing authorities.  With the problem of homelessness and the rising property taxes in our state we must do everything we can to ensure that those that can afford to stay in their house are given the opportunity to do so with better notice and assistance.

Status:  HB 1105 passed out of the Senate on April 11 with a 44 to 3 vote in a slightly different version from what passed in the House.  On April 18, the House concurred with the amendments made by the Senate.  HB 1105 is now on its way to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1105 into law.

Working Families Tax Credit

HB 1527 Providing a working families’ tax credit.

SB 5810 Providing a working families’ tax credit.

SUPPORT

HB 1527 and SB 5810 provide a sales tax credit for low-income working individuals and families similar to the federal earned income tax credit. The objective as cited in the bill is allow low-income and middle-income workers to recover some or all of the sales tax, they pay to support state and local government as a way to increase their economic security and to decrease the regressivity of our state tax code. It is the legislature’s intent to provide a sales and use tax exemption, in the form of a remittance, to low income and middle-income working families. If a review finds that the working families’ tax credit provides meaningful financial relief to low-income and middle-income households, then the legislature intends to extend the expiration date of the tax preference.

Status: HB 1527 and SB 5810 have had hearings in the House and Senate, and they were awaiting final revenue and budget agreements. The House budget passed the House without the Working Families Tax Credit. The Senate version does include it in its version of its budget/revenue package.

Action: Contact your senators and representatives and ask for support a working families tax credit in the budget.

Medical Bill Debt Collection Reform

HB 1531 Reforming the Rules for Medical Debt Collection.

SUPPORT

HB 1531 would ensure that people are not penalized for seeking medical care when they need it. Medical billing is not transparent, and people often don’t know how much they owe until after they have already received medical care.  This is a problem for those with insurance and those without it. This bill will address the following problems with our current system:

  • Reduces Pre-Judgment interest from 12% to 9%
  • Reduces Post Judgment interest from 12% to 9%
  • Mandates that debt collectors provide people with information about Charity Care
  • Requires Debt collectors to cease collections if a Charity Care Application is Pending
  • Eliminates bench warrants for medical debt
  • Prohibits the assignment and sale of debt for 120 days after the first billing
  • Prohibits debt collectors from making adverse credit reports for 180 days post assignment.
  • Increases the amount people can keep in their bank accounts when garnished from $500 to $2000.

Status:  HB 1531 passed out of the Senate on a unanimous vote on April 15.  It is now on its way to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1531 into law.

Consumer Debt Bill re Interest on Judgments and Garnishment Limits

HB 1602 Concerning Consumer Debt.

SUPPORT
HB 1602 provides a reduction in the rate of interest on consumer judgments from 12% to 9%. The bill also raises the garnishment limits to an exemption of $2000 to an aggregate amount of assets in bank accounts or stocks. On March 1st, the bill passed the house and was referred to the Senate Law & Justice committee for a first reading. However, there is word that a large debt collector has hired a contract lobbyist in Washington State to oppose HB 1602, particularly the garnishment provisions.

Status:  HB 1602 survived a challenge in the Senate Law & Justice committee by a lobbyist for a California debt buyer Encore.  There was a slight amendment of the bill to clarify that medical debt is within the definition of consumer debt. The Senate passed HB 1602 on a 44 to 4 vote with amendments.  On April 18, the House concurred with the Senate’s amendments.  HB 1602 is on its way to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1602 into law.

Zombie Debt Collection

HB 1730 Concerning the effect of payment or acknowledgment made after the expiration of a limitations period.

SUPPORT

HB 1730 is a bill to stop the practice of debt collection once the statute of limitations has passed.  Under the current law, debt collectors can still contact you by phone and by mail asking you to pay on a debt that has already passed the statute of limitations. This practice is often known as zombie debt collection because a consumer can unknowingly restart the clock on the statute of limitations by making a payment and restart their legal liability on the debt. The objective of this bill is to stop this practice. Under this bill, any payment of principal or interest made after the limitations period has expired shall not revive or extend the limitations period. This bill will hopefully stop a very misleading practice of debt collectors.

Status:  HB 1730 was passed out of the Senate on a unanimous vote with amendments on April 15.  On April 18th the House concurred with the Senate’s amendments.  HB 1730 is on it way to the governor’s desk for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1730 into law.

Increasing Jurisdictional Amounts in Small Claims Court

SB 5621 – Increasing the jurisdictional amount for small claims courts.

Support

SB 5621 raises the jurisdiction of small claims court from $5,000 to $10,000 for individual persons. With the amendment as the bill passed out of committee the amount that businesses can file in small claims court remains at $5000.

Status:  SB 5621 is on the governor’s desk for signature

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign SB 5621 into law.

Economic Equity and Support for Low Income Individuals and Families

Initiative 976 – Vehicle Fees and Taxes

Initiative 976  Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles.

OPPOSE

I 976 is Tim Eyman’s initiative.  The “$30 Tabs Initiative” would establish a regressive license tab fee system because cars and light trucks of all values would be taxed the same. Additionally, it would harm Sound Transit by preventing it from obtaining the amount of revenue estimated, relied upon and approved by the voters in 2016 in the measure called Sound Transit 3, and leave Sound Transit without the anticipated revenues to cover their bond costs.

Status:  Initiative 976 is in the House and Senate Transportation Committees where it is eligible for executive sessions in each committee

Action:  Contact Representative Jake Fey  and Senator Steve Hobbs the chairs of the of the House and Senate Transportation Committees and let them know that you do not support Initiative 976 and request that it NOT BE SCHEDULED for an executive session and that this initiative should be put forward to voters as we trust they will make the right decision to not pass this initiative. An alternative ballot proposition will only confuse voters.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness Projects

HB 1219 Providing cities and counties authority to use real estate excise taxes to support affordable housing and homelessness projects.

PASSED and SIGNED into law by Governor Inslee

HB 1219 authorizes cities and counties who are required to plan or who are planning under the Growth Management Act to use of real estate excise tax revenue to support affordable housing and homelessness projects for the planning, acquisition, reconstruction, repair, replacement, rehabilitation or improvement of facilities.

Status:  HB 1219 has been signed by the governor into law.

Action:  Celebrate.

Wage and Salary Information

HB 1696 Concerning wage and salary information.

SUPPORT

HB 1696 prohibits and employer from: (1) Seeking the wage or salary history of an applicant from the applicant or a current or former employer; or (2) Requiring that an applicant’s wage or salary history meet certain criteria.  The employer may confirm an applicant’s wage or salary history if the applicant voluntarily discloses it OR after the employer has negotiated and made an offer of employment with compensation to the applicant.  This bill also institutes a complaint process for violations of this legislation and allows the dept of labor and industries to order an employer to pay actual damages or $5000 whichever is greater if violations are found.

Status: HB 1696 passed out of the Senate on a 37 to 19 vote.  On April 18 the House refused to concur with the Senate amendments and is asking the Senate to recede from their amendments and send the bill to the governor as passed out of the House.

Action:  Contact your senators and ask that they vote to concur with the House version of HB 1696 and send to the governor for signature.

Methodology for Establishing Prevailing Rate of Wages

HB 1743 Addressing the methodology for establishing the prevailing rate of wages for the construction of affordable housing, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and low-income weatherization and home rehabilitation public works.

SUPPORT

State law requires that prevailing wages be paid to laborers, workers, and mechanics employed upon all public works and under all public building service maintenance contracts. HB 1743 establishes a method for determining prevailing wages in the construction industry.  It requires the industrial statistician to conduct wage and hour surveys and the initial survey must cover fiscal year 2018.  After the initial survey, the industrial statistician must conduct a survey for each trade every five years and may stagger the surveys for workload purposes. The bill also provides interim rates pending the establishment of the rates based on the surveys.

Status: HB 1743 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 27 on a 44 yes to 1 no vote in a slightly different version from how it passed the House.  On Thursday, April 4 the House concurred with the Senate version on a unanimous vote.  HB 1743 is now on the governor’s desk for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support HB 1696 and request that he sign HB 1696 into law.

Reproductive Rights and Health Care

Healthcare Provider Misconduct Notice

HB 1198 Requiring health care providers sanctioned for sexual misconduct to notify patients.

SUPPORT
HB 1198 requires a health care provider who is subject to the uniform disciplinary act and has been sanctioned by a disciplining authority for sexual misconduct to provide a disclosure to all patients before a patient’s first visit with the licensee following the sanction.

Status:  HB 1198 is on the governor’s desk for signature

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1584 into law.

Dental Coverage for Pacific Islander

SB 5274 Concerning dental coverage for Pacific Islanders residing in Washington.
SUPPORT
SB 5274 establishes a dental services program that provides dental coverage to income-eligible members of Compact of Free Association (COFA) nations and the United States with no premium or cost-sharing payment requirements. Defines “COFA citizen” as a person who is a citizen of: (1) The Republic of the Marshall Islands; (2) The Federated States of Micronesia; or (3) The Republic of Palau.  This would expand dental coverage to the COFA citizens who qualify for medical assistance.  Currently other income eligible Washington residents who qualify for medical assistance also qualify for dental assistance.

Status:  SB 5274 passed out of the House on a 56 to 36 vote on April 12 in a slightly different version from the Senate.  On April 19, the Senate refused to concur with the House amendments and sent it back to the House and asked them to recede from their amendments.

Action: Contact your representative and ask that they vote to concur with the Senate version of SB 5274 and send it to the governor for signature.

Indian Health Improvement Act

SB 5415 Creating the Washington Indian health improvement act.

SUPPORT

SB 5415 establishes the Washington Indian Health Improvement Act to establish the Indian health improvement account to provide incentives to tribes to assume the administrative burdens created by the federal requirements for the state shift health care costs to the federal government.  It establishes an advisory committee made up of primarily tribal representatives and local urban Indian health organizations whose responsibilities include a.  adopting the Indian health advisory plan, b. facilitating better understanding of health disparities and historical trauma and tribal sovereignty and self-governance, c. providing oversight of contracting and service performance contracts to address impacts on services to American Indians and Alaska Natives, and d. providing oversight of the Indian Health reinvestment account. The goal of the Washington Indian Health Improvement Act is to raise the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives and improve delivery of services by increasing access to care, strengthening continuity of care, and improving population health through investment in capacity and infrastructure.

Status:  SB 5415 passed unanimously in the House on April 11 in a slightly different version from the Senate.  It has now been sent back to the Senate for concurrence.

Action: Contact your senator and ask for their vote to concur with the House amendment on SB 5415 and to send it on to the governor for signature.

Maternal Mortality

SB 5425 Concerning maternal mortality reviews

SUPPORT

SB 5425 updates the state’s maternal mortality review which conducts comprehensive, multidisciplinary review of maternal of women while pregnant or within one year of the end of the pregnancy.  It requires that at least one member of the panel be a tribal representative and expands the list of categories of persons who can serve on the panel.  It also expands the list of agencies to include the new Department of Children, Youth and Families and its licensees and providers who may be requested to provide records for the morality review panel.  The bill will also allow the Department of Health with a signed written data sharing agreement to share information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The requirements for data sharing agreement prohibit identifying information for the deceased individuals and their families from being released and any attempts of the recipient from attempting to identify these individuals.

Status:  SB 5425 passed unanimously out of the House on April 12. As it passed out of the House in a slightly different version from the Senate, it now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

Action:  Contact your senators and ask that they vote to concur with the House on  SB 5425 and send it to the governor for signature.

Nonresident Pharmacies

HB 1412 Concerning nonresident pharmacies.

PASSED and SIGNED by Governor Inslee

HB 1412 amends the state’s statute regarding pharmacies located in other states and Canada and clarifies what types of documentation is necessary for licensure by the department of health.

Status:  HB 1412 has passed both the House and the Senate.  This bill was signed into law by Governor Inslee on April 17.

Action: Celebrate

Standardized Health Care Plans

HB 1523 Increasing the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market.

SB 5526 Increasing the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market.

SUPPORT
HB 1523 and SB 5526 establish regulations for insurance plans in the exchange such as reducing deductibles, making more services available before the deductible, provide predictable cost sharing, reducing barriers to maintaining and improving health, and encouraging choice based on value while limiting increases in health plan premium rates.  

The Economic Opportunity Institute published an article on 3/14/19 in regard to the testimony by the healthcare industry’s and the industry’s opposition to this bill.  To see the EOI’s analysis click on this link to view “What Health Care Providers Mean When They Say They Can’t Lower Costs”.

Status:  SB 5526 has passed out of the House on April 10 with a 54 to 38 vote in a slightly different version from the Senate.  On April 18, the Senate refused to concur on the House amendments and requested a conference committee be appointed.

Action:  Contact your senators and representative and ask that the conference committee work to pass SB 5526 and  send SB 5526 to the governor for signature.

Reproductive Healthcare Access for All

SB 5602 Eliminating barriers to reproductive health care for all.
SUPPORT with Concerns
HB 5602 expands reproductive health access to all people in Washington. This bill includes specific provisions that address the reproductive health care needs of Washington’s immigrant and transgender communities.  SB 5602 does the following:

  1. Creates a state funded program to cover family planning services for immigrants who would be eligible for the Take Charge federal waiver program but cannot access it because of federal restrictions. It also requires outreach and education about this program.
  2. Prohibits gender identity discrimination, including automatic denials based on gender identity, in all reproductive health services covered by Medicaid and private insurance plans.
  3. Requires private insurance plans to cover additional reproductive health services, beyond those required in the Reproductive Parity Act (RPA) and the preventive services statute.
  4. Corrects the RPA to explicitly include student health plans.

The House passed a version of the bill that removed the state funded program to cover family planning services for immigrants who would otherwise be eligible for the Take Charge federal waiver program due to their undocumented status.  See the discussion above on page 1 for more details.

Status: SB 5602 passed out of the House on a 59 to 39 vote with an amendment to remove the funding for family planning services for undocumented immigrants on April 16.  On April 19, the Senate refused to concur with the House amendments and asked the House to recede from their amendments.

Action:  Contact your representatives and let them know you support SB 5602 as passed by the Senate and ask that they recede from their amendments and send the bill to the governor for his signature.  Let them know that all Washingtonians especially those already marginalized by gender identity or immigration status need access to reproductive health to survive. We cannot secure our health, self-determination, and rights to build and raise our families with dignity if we don’t include those marginalized by gender identity and immigration status.

Universal Health Care

SB 5822 Providing a pathway to establish a universal health care system for the residents of Washington state.
SUPPORT
SB 5822 declares that health care is a human right. This bill directs the health care authority (HCA) to convene a workgroup on establishing a universal health care system in Washington state.  The work group must consist of stakeholders, including: 1) consumers, patients, and the general public , 2) large and small businesses with experience with large and small group insurance and self-insured models, 3) labor, 4) health care providers and facilities, 5)health insurance carriers, 6)state agencies, and 6) legislators. The work group must study and make recommendations to the Legislature on how to create, implement, maintain, and fund a universal health care system that may include publicly funded, publicly administered, and publicly and privately delivered health care that is sustainable and affordable to all Washington residents including: 1) options for increasing coverage and access for uninsured and underinsured 2) transparency measures, 3) innovations promoting quality, 4) options for ensuring a just transition to a universal health care system for all stakeholders, 5) options to expand health care purchasing in collaboration with neighboring states, and 6) options for revenue and financing mechanisms to fund the system. Requires HCA to make the work group’s preliminary reports with findings and preliminary recommendations available for public comment by November 15, 2019, and May 15, 2020.

Status:  :  SB 5822 is DEAD as it failed to pass out of the House by the April 17th cutoff..

Violence Against Women

Sexual Assault Kit Notice

HB 1016 Concerning hospital notification of availability of sexual assault evidence kit collection.
SUPPORT
HB 1016 requires a hospital that does not provide sexual assault evidence kit collection or have appropriate providers available to provide the collection at all times, to develop a plan by July 1, 2020, to assist individuals with obtaining the collection. Requires a hospital that does not perform the collection or have appropriate providers available to, beginning July 1, 2020: (1) Provide notice, within two hours of a request, to an individual who presents in the emergency department and requests a collection that the hospital does not perform the collection or does not have appropriate providers available; and (2) Coordinate care with the local community sexual assault agency and assist the patient in finding a facility with an appropriate provider available.

Status:  HB 1016 passed the Senate on April 15 in a slightly different version from the House removing the civil penalty for failure to comply with the bill’s requirement.  On April !8, the House refused to concur with the Senate amendments and requested that a conference committee be appointed.

Action: Contact your senators and representatives and let them know that you support HB 1016 and request they work in the conference committee to pass HB 1016 and send it on to the governor for signature.

Sexual Assault Protection Orders

HB 1149 Clarifying requirements to obtain a sexual assault protection order.

SUPPORT
HB 1149 finds that the state supreme court’s decision in Roake v. Delman, 189 Wn.2d 775 (2018), does not reflect the legislature’s intent regarding requirements for obtaining a civil sexual assault protection order. The bill clarifies that a petitioner who seeks a sexual assault protection order is not required to separately allege or prove that the petitioner has a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts by the respondent, in addition to alleging and proving that the petitioner was sexually assaulted by the respondent.

Status:  HB 1149 passed the Senate on a unanimous vote on April 18 and is on its way to the governor for signature.

Action: Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1149 into law.

Sexual Assault Survivors

HB 1166 Supporting sexual assault survivors

SUPPORT
HB 1166 changes the composition of the joint legislative task force on sexual assault forensic examination best practices.

Requires the task force to: (1) Develop policies and submit recommendations on the storage, retention, and destruction of unreported sexual assault kits; (2) Monitor implementation of state and federal legislative changes; (3) Collaborate with the office of the attorney general to implement reforms pursuant to federal grant requirements; and (4) Make recommendations for institutional reforms.

Provides a December 31, 2021, expiration date for the task force.

Requires the state auditor to conduct a comprehensive performance audit of the statewide sexual assault tracking system and operations of the Washington state patrol crime laboratory with respect to processing sexual assault kits.

Requires the statewide sexual assault kit tracking system to designate sexual assault kits as unreported or reported.

Expands the requirements of the specialized, intensive, and integrative training for people responsible for investigating sexual assault cases involving adult victims.

Requires the Washington state patrol, when it receives a request for examination of a sexual assault kit from a law enforcement agency, to conduct the laboratory examination of the kit and enter relevant information into the combined DNA index system, within forty-five days of receipt of the request.

Requires law enforcement agencies to submit to the Washington state patrol crime laboratory requests for forensic analysis of sexual assault kits collected before July 24, 2015, and in the possession of the law enforcement agencies.

Prohibits the disposal or destruction of untested sexual assault kits.

Status:  HB 1166 passed the Senate on April 11 on a unanimous vote and has been delivered to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1166 into law.

Statute of Limitations for Felony Sex Offences

HB 1231 Modifying the statute of limitations for certain felony sex offenses.
SUPPORT
Substitute HB 1231 lifts the statute of limitations on the crimes of Rape in the first and second degrees if the victim is under the age of 16; Rape of a Child in the second and third degrees; Child Molestation in the second and third degrees; Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the first degree; Custodial Sexual Misconduct in the first degree; and Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. The statute of limitations is extended to 20 years for Rape in the first and second degrees if the victim is 16 years or older, and for Indecent Liberties. The statute of limitations is extended to 10 years for the crime of Rape in the third degree. The statute of limitations for Incest is extended to 10 years, or the victim’s thirtieth birthday if committed against a victim under the age of 18, whichever is later.

Status:  HB 1231 is DEAD as it failed to pass out of the Senate by the April 17 cutoff.

Temporary Protection Orders

HB 1350 – Issuing temporary protection orders

SUPPORT

HB 1350 modifies which courts handle temporary protection order and transferring to the superior courts

Status:  HB 1350 passed out of the Senate on a 45 to 3 vote on April 16.  It is on its way to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1350 into law.

Immunity from Prosecution  for Prostitution in Some Circumstances

HB 1382 Increasing access to emergency assistance for victims by providing immunity from prosecution for prostitution offenses in some circumstances.
SUPPORT
HB 1382 allows for persons seeking emergency assistance or seeks emergency assistance for a victim of a violent offense, assault in the third degree, assault in the fourth degree or rape in the third degree to not be charged with prostitution if the evidence of the charge was obtained as a result of the need for emergency assistance.

Status:  HB 1382 is on the governor’s desk for signature.

Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support HB 1382 and request that he sign HB 1382 into law.

Domestic Violence Programs

HB 1517 Concerning domestic violence.

SUPPORT
HB 1517 does the following

  • Requires the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to conduct a study on domestic violence (DV) treatment programs operating under the new administrative regulatory model.
  • Requires the Washington State University Department of Criminal Justice to develop a DV risk assessment tool.
  • Establishes requirements for DV offenders participating in the Special Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative.
  • Modifies community custody conditions for DV offenders.
  • Establishes requirements for deferred prosecutions involving DV behavioral problems.
  • Specifies timeframes for which DV no-contact orders entered as a condition of sentence remain in effect.
  • Requires the enforcement of civil DV protection orders issued by Canadian Courts.

Substitute HB 1517 modifies the current statutory definitions pertaining to DV to distinguish between DV committed by intimate partners and family or household members. Intent language was added specifying that the legislative intent for reorganizing the definition is to facilitate data analysis rather than to substantively change DV cases.

Status:  SHB 1517 passed unanimously in the Senate on April 12. On April 18 the House concurred with the Senate version.  HB 1517 is now on its way to the governor for signature

Action: Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1517 into law.

Domestic Violence Resources

HB 1533 Making information about domestic violence resources available in the workplace.
SUPPORT
HB 1533 requires that the employment security department create a domestic violence poster with a space for an employer to provide the name or names of community resources regarding domestic violence.  The poster is required to be posted with the other required employment posters.

Status:  HB 1533 passed the Senate on a unanimous vote on April 15.  It is now on its way to the governor for signature.

Action:  Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign HB 1533 into law.

Missing and Murdered Native American Women

HB 1713 Improving law enforcement response to missing and murdered Native American women.
SUPPORT
HB 1713 establishes a legislative task force on missing and murdered Native American women to monitor and improve law enforcement response to missing persons reports for Native American women. This task force is responsible for developing a best practices protocol, developing a tool kit for tribal and urban Indian communities  to educate families about steps and actions they can take if a loved one is missing, raising public awareness of the issue.  representatives on this task force include representatives from the legislature, tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations, the bureau of Indian affairs, FBI, and the governor’s office of Indian affairs.  The first report of this committee is due Dec 1, 2019.  The task force must also develop a database of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that provide aid and support in locating missing Native American women.

Status:  HB 1713 is on the governor’s desk for signature. It is on the governor’s schedule to be signed on Wednesday, April 24.

Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support HB 1713 and request that he sign HB 1713 into law. 

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Prevention

SB 5258 Preventing the sexual harassment and sexual assault of certain isolated workers.
SUPPORT
SB 5258 requires every hospitality, retail, behavioral health care, or custodial employer, or labor contractor who employs a custodian, security guard, hotel or motel housekeeper, or worker who spends a majority of his or her working hours alongside two or fewer coworkers at a location that is not his or her home to: (1) Adopt a sexual harassment policy; (2) Provide mandatory training to the managers, supervisors, and employees; (3) Provide a list of resources for the employees to use; and (4) Provide a panic button to each worker that spends most of his or her working hours alongside two or fewer coworkers at a location that is not his or her home.

Requires the department of labor and industries to publish advice and guidance for employers with fifty or fewer employees relating to the requirements mentioned above. Requires the director of the department of labor and industries to establish procedures for licensing property service contractors. Requires hotels and motels with sixty or more rooms to meet the requirements in this act by January 1, 2020.

Status:  SB 5258 passed out of the House on a 47 to 35 vote on April 10.  On April 18, the Senate refused to concur on the House amendments and requested a conference committee be appointed. 

Action: Contact your senators and representatives let them know you support SB 5258 to protect isolated workers from sexual harassment and ask that they work in conference committee to pass SB 5258 and send it on to the governor for signature. 

HB 1756 Concerning the safety and security of adult entertainers.

SUPPORT
HB 1756 requires the Dept of Labor and Industries to develop training for entertainers that includes 1) education about the rights and responsibilities of entertainers, including working as an independent contractor; 2) reporting workplace injuries, including sexual and physical abuse and sexual harassment; 3) risk of human trafficking; and 4) resources for assistance.  The bill also requires the entertainer to sign an affidavit that they have received this training in order to receive or renew an adult entertainer license.  The adult entertainment establishment must provide a panic button to each entertainer at no cost to the entertainer.  The bill also requires the adult entertainment establishment to record accusations regarding customer acts of violence including sexual assault/harassment and retain this information for 5 years after the most recent accusation.  If the accusation is made under penalty of perjury or other evidence, the customer must be prohibited for at least 3 years after the date of the incident.

Status:  HB 1756 passed unanimously out of the Senate on April 10.  As it passed out of the Senate in a slightly different version from the House, it now goes back to the House for concurrence.

Action: Contact your representatives and ask that they vote to concur with the Senate amendments on HB 1756 and send it to the governor for signature.

Protection Orders

HB 1786 Improving procedures and strengthening laws relating to protection orders, no-contact orders, and restraining orders.
SUPPORT
HB 1786 requires that a court when issuing a protection order, no-contact order, or restraining order to also issue an order prohibiting the individual from accessing, obtaining, or possessing any firearms or other dangerous weapons if evidence shows the individual used, displayed, or threatened to use a firearm or other dangerous weapon.  It also requires the surrender of any concealed pistol license by the individual.  It also changes the language in the law from “intimate partner” to “protected person”.

Status:  HB 1786 passed out of the Senate on a 25 to 20 vote on April 13.  As it passed out of the Senate in a slightly different version from the House, it now goes back to the House for concurrence.

Action: Contact your representatives and ask that they vote to concur with the Senate amendments on HB 1786 and to send the bill onto Governor Inslee for signature.

Higher Education Sexual Violence Task Force

HB 1998 Creating a task force on sexual violence at institutions of higher education.

SUPPORT
HB 1998 establishes a joint legislative task force on Title IX protections and compliance.  The task force is directed to

  • Examine legislative, administrative, and other options to ensure that this state provides clear, consistent, and comprehensive protections for survivors that are consistent with federal law;
  • Develop model procedures, policies, and guidance for institutions of higher education to implement in this state; and
  • Evaluate and recommend oversight and accountability measures, including the feasibility of establishing a statewide office to implement, monitor, and ensure the consistency of campus sexual violence policies statewide.

Status:  HB 1998 is DEAD as it failed to pass out of the Senate by the April 17 cutoff.

Possession of Firearms

SB 5205 Concerning provisions governing firearms possession by persons who have been found incompetent to stand trial and who have a history of one or more violent acts.
SUPPORT
SB 5205 Prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if his or her charges are dismissed based on incompetency to stand trial and the court makes a finding indicating that the person has a history of one or more violent acts.

Status:  SB 5205 passed out of the House on April 10 with a 53 to 39 vote. On April 18 the Senate concurred with the House amendments on SB 5205.  It is now on its way to the governor for signature.

Action: Contact Governor Inslee and request that he sign SB 5205 into law. 

Legislative Code of Conduct

SB 5861 Extending respectful workplace code of conduct provisions to all members of the legislative community.
SUPPORT
SB 5861 requires the public disclosure commission to establish a code of conduct for registered lobbyists. It must include a process for conducting investigations into any alleged violations of the code of conduct in order to make credible findings when allegations are sustained. The code of conduct must be modeled on the code of conduct developed for the legislature itself.  Lobbyists must sign a statement at the time of registration that they have completed a training course on the respectful workplace code developed by the commission.  If a lobbyist’s registration is revoked, they cannot conduct any lobbying activity during the period of revocation.

Status:  SB 5861 passed out of the House on a unanimous vote on April 15.  As it passed in a slightly different version from the Senate, it now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

Action:  Contact your senators and let them know that you support SB 5861 and ask they vote to concur with the House amendments and send SB 5861 on to the governor for signature.

Transportation

Construction bonds for I 405, state route 162 and state route 509

HB 2132 addressing the completion of the planned construction of various facilites, by advancing construction, issuing bonds, and tolling portions of interstate 405, state route 167, and state route 509.
OPPOSE
HB 2132 has multiple components including:

– Authorizes the issuance of up to $1.5 billion of general obligation bonds for Interstate 405 and State Route 167 payable from toll revenue and motor fuel taxes or solely toll revenue. 

– Removes the 45mph speed requirement on the toll lanes. 

Obligating the toll revenue to pay back bonds prevents taking any action that would reduce congestion and thereby reduce toll revenue.

Given the purpose of the tolls is to reduce congestion, both of these actions are diametrically opposed to that goal.

Status:  HB 2132 is still alive as it deals with the transportation budget. It is currently in the House Transportation Committee where it is eligible for an executive session.

Action: Contact your representatives and let them know you oppose HB 2132 and ask for a NO vote. 

Budget and Revenue:

Working to pass new progressive policies and demonstrating continued investment in our state is important.  However, in order to ensure these policies have adequate funding, we must advocate for a healthy budget that invests in our schools, protects the most vulnerable and supports strong women and strong families.  We must support measures that aim to restructure our regressive tax system that currently relies the most heavily on taxes from the least affluent. 

We need to look at new revenue sources such as those recommended in Governor Inslee’s 2019-2021 budget proposal:

Capital Gains Tax…$975,000,000

B&O Tax on Services…$522,000,000

Retail Sales Tax… $92,800,000

Business and Occupation Tax…$30,200,000

Extension of the Renewable Energy M&E (0.0)

Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Extension…($4,800,000)

Raise Cigarette Age to 21…($8,900,000)

Additional 1% BSA Transfer…($16,100,000)

Subtotal $1,590,200,000

Operating Budget

ESHB  1109 Making 2019-2021 biennium operating appropriations

The House of Representatives passed their 2019-21 operating budget plan on Friday, March 29, which makes additional investments in critical areas of the state budget such as behavioral health, affordable housing, education, and environment.

Below are a few highlights of the $52.6 billion two-year operating budget – House version:

  • $91 million to expand community behavioral health beds & services.
  • $136 million in this biennium to ensure the stability of our state hospitals and the safety of patients and staff.
  • $21 million focused on permanent supportive housing and youth homelessness.
  • $70 million for additional special education funding ($153 million over four years).
  • $5 million additional funding for student mental health and safety.
  • $38 million to expand Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) slots and rate increases.
  • $289 million for rate increases for long-term and developmental disabilities care service providers.
  • $11 million to eliminate the backlog in testing sexual assault kits.

On April 4th, Senate approved a $52.2 billion state operating budget to fund state services, including targeted support for the state’s behavioral health system, K-12 special education, higher education, and the environment.

Because the Senate amended the House’s budget proposal before passing it, budget writers from the Senate and House must now begin a conference process to negotiate the differences in the versions that passed each chamber and pass a final operating budget before the end of the legislative session on April 28

More than half of the state budget pays for K-12 education, honoring commitments made in 2017 to increase basic education funding. A new investment of $283 million is dedicated to improving behavioral health services over the next two years.

Other budget highlights include the funding of Gov. Inslee’s climate initiatives and orca whale protection, investments to address housing needs and homelessness, expansion of college scholarship programs, improving the foster care system, police de-escalation training, expanded access to early learning, and funding the sexual

assault kit backlog at the Washington State Patrol.

The two budgets also differ in the rates that they increase funding for various services.

Click here for more Operating Budget details.

Action:  The budget will be moving fast in order to meet the time frames for completing the legislative session on time.  So, your legislators need to hear from you soon in regard to HB 1109.

Revenue

Both the House and Senate revenue proposals take critical steps to balance our worst in the nation, upside down tax code with proposals to close the tax break the wealthy receive in WA State on capital gains.  The House version proposes raising taxes to nearly 10% on “extraordinary profits” or high value assets like stocks and bonds.  This tax would only apply to profits above $100,000 or $200,000 for couples.  It also proposes a progressive Real Estate Excise Tax (REET), where the rate of excise tax varies with the value of the property sold.

The Senate budget also proposed a progressive REET as well, and closure or reduction of three preferential tax rates: non-resident sales tax, prescription drug resellers, and travel agents. They also proposed a small tax increase on property, auto and casualty insurance, to establish a dedicated account to fund wildfire prevention and suppression.  The Senate budget also addresses the wealth gap with the inclusion of the Working Families Tax Credit.  This will give hundreds of thousands of working families a cost of living boost and puts that money into local economies.

Between the House and Senate budget plans, the House plan is better because it includes additional reforms to our state’s inequitable tax code and is less reliant on artificial savings and budget gimmicks but there are elements in the Senate budget such as the Working Families Tax Credit that need to be included in the final budget plan.

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SB 5961 Improving the equity and sustainability of Washington’s tax structure.

SB 5961 modifies WA State current revenue sources by doing the following:

  • Imposes a capital gains tax at a rate of 8.9 percent beginning January 1, 2020.
  • Increases and funds the Working Families Tax Exemption Program.
  • Increases the small business business and occupation tax credit to an amount equivalent to a $200,000 exclusion for all businesses with a taxable annual income below $2.5 million.
  • Provides sales and use tax exemptions for feminine hygiene products, diapers, durable medical and mobility enhancing equipment, and over-the counter drugs.
  • Expands the property tax relief program for senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.
  • Establishes a committee to research and evaluate options to modernize and rebalance Washington State’s tax structure.

Status:  SB 5961 is currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee where it is eligible for an executive session.

Action:  Call and write to your legislators and let them know that the state needs new revenue from a Capital Gains Tax, and you will stand behind legislators that vote for increasing revenue to invest in our state.  Also let them know that you support the inclusion of the Working Family Tax Exemption in the budget as well as the sales tax and use exemptions for necessary products as identified in SB 5961 and the property tax relief program for senior citizens, individuals with disabilities and veterans.

SB 5997 Eliminating or narrowing certain tax preferences to increase state revenue for essential public services.

SB 5997 changes the sales tax exemption for non-residents a remittance program. Refunds may only be requested by nonresidents for the immediately preceding calendar year and must be for at least $25. In addition, a nonresident may only make one refund request per calendar year.  This bill also eliminates the preferential B&O tax rate for travel agents and tour operators. 

Status: SB 5997 is currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee where it is eligible for an executive session.

Action:  Call and write your legislators and let them know that you support eliminating and narrowing certain tax preferences as proposed in SB 5997.

SB 5998 An act relating to establishing a graduated real estate excise tax.

SB 5998 reforms the way the state’s real estate excise tax (REET) is assessed, creating a progressive, graduated REET in place of the current flat rates, with homes sold for less than $250,000 getting a cut in their rate, homes sold for between $250,000-$1 million paying the same rate as now, and increased rates on homes sold for over $1 million and $5 million.

Status: SB 5998 is currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee where it is eligible for an executive session.

Action:  Call and write your legislators and let them know that you support a graduated real estate excise tax as proposed in SB 5998.

For a more in depth analysis of the House and Senate Budget and Revenue proposals see the Washington Budget and Policy Center’s post http://budgetandpolicy.org/schmudget 

HOUSE COMMITEES

Appropriations Committee:
Timm Ormsby (Chair), June Robinson (1st Vice Chair), Steve Bergquist (2nd Vice Chair), Drew Stokesbary, Drew MacEwen, Skyler Rude, Michele Caldier, Bruce Chandler, Eileen Cody, Laurie Dolan, Mary Dye, Joe Fitzgibbon, Drew Hansen, Paul Harris, Larry Hoff, Zach Hudgins, Laurie Jinkins, Vicki Kraft, Nicole Macri, Gina Mosbrucker, Eric Pettigrew, Gerry Pollet, Cindy Ryu, Joe Schmick, Tana Senn, Larry Springer, Derek Stanford, Mike Steele, Pat Sullivan, Robert Sutherland, Gael Tarleton, Steve Tharinger, and Mike Volz

Capital Budget Committee:
Steve Tharinger (Chair), Beth Doglio (Vice Chair), Strom Peterson (Vice Chair), Richard DeBolt, Norma Smith, Mike Steele, Lisa Callan, Chris Corry, Lauren Davis, Mary Dye, Carolyn Eslick, Chris Gildon, Morgan Irwin, Bill Jenkin, Mari Leavitt, Debra Lekanoff, Jacquelin Maycumber, Melanie Morgan, Marcus Riccelli, Sharon Tomiko Santos, Mike Sells, Monica Jurado Stonier, and Jim Walsh

Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee
Laurie Jinkins (Chair), My-Linh Thai (Vice Chair), Morgan Irwin, Jeremie Dufault, Roger Goodman, Jenny Graham, Drew Hansen, Christine Kilduff, Steve Kirby, Brad Klippert, Tina Orwall, Matt Shea, Javier Valdez, and Amy Walen

College and Workforce Development Committee:
Drew Hansen (Chair), Debra Entenman (Vice Chair), Mari Leavitt (Vice Chair), Luanne Van Werven, Chris Gildon, Jenny Graham, Steve Bergquist, Jared Mead, Dave Paul, Gerry Pollet, Bill Ramos, Skyler Rude, Mike Sells, Vandana Slatter, Robert Sutherland, and Jesse Young

Consumer Protection and Business Committee:
Steve Kirby (Chair), Kristine Reeves (Vice Chair), Brandon Vick, Larry Hoff, Andrew Barkis, Brian Blake, Jeremie Dufault, Cindy Ryu, Sharon Tomiko Santos, Derek Stanford, Mike Volz, and Amy Walen

Education Committee:
Sharon Tomiko Santos (Chair), Laurie Dolan (Vice Chair), Dave Paul (Vice Chair), Mike Steele, Bob McCaslin, Mike Volz, Steve Bergquist, Michelle Caldier, Lisa Callan, Chris Corry, Paul Harris, Christine Kilduff, Vicki Kraft, Jacquelin Maycumber, Lillian Ortiz-Self, Skyler Rude, Monica Jurado Stonier, My-Linh Thai, and Javier Valdez

Finance Committee:
Gael Tarleton (Chair), Amy Walen (Vice Chair), Ed Orcutt, Jesse Young, Mike Chapman, Noel Frame, Nicole Macri, Jeff Morris, Tina Orwall, Larry Springer, Drew Stokesbary, Brandon Vick, and Sharon Wylie  

Health Care and Wellness Committee:
Eileen Cody (Chair), Nicole Macri (Vice Chair), Joe Schmick, Michelle Caldier, Kelly Chambers, Lauren Davis, Richard DeBolt, Paul Harris, Laurie Jinkins, Jacquelin Maycumber, Marcus Riccilli, June Robinson, Monica Jurado Stonier, My-Linh Thai, and Steve Tharinger

Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee:
Cindy Ryu (Chair), Melanie Morgan (Vice Chair), Bill Jenkin, Andrew Barkis, Debra Entenman, Noel Frame, Chris Gildon, Mari Leavitt, and Kristine Reeves

Human Services and Early Learning Committee:
Tana Senn (Chair), Lisa Callan (Vice Chair), Noel Frame (Vice Chair), Tom Dent, Carolyn Eslick, Bob McCaslin, Chris Corry, Roger Goodman, Dan Griffey, Christine Kilduff, Brad Klippert, John Lovick, & Lillian Ortiz-Self

Labor and Workplace Standards Committee:
Mike Sells (Chair), Mike Chapman (Vice-Chair), Gina Mosbrucker, Bruce Chandler, Mia Gregerson, Larry Hoff, and Timm Ormsby

Public Safety Committee:
Roger Goodman (Chair), Lauren Davis (Vice Chair), Brad Klippert, Robert Sutherland, Sherry Appleton, Jenny Graham, Dan Griffey, John Lovick, Tina Orwall, Mike Pellicciotti, and Eric Pettigrew

Rules Committee:
Frank Chopp (Chair), Steve Bergquist, Kelly Chambers, Mike Chapman, Chris Corry, Lauren Davis, Noel Frame, Chris Gildon, Christine Kilduff, Joel Kretz, John Lovick, Jacqueline Maycumber, Lillian Ortiz-Self, Tina Orwall, Eric Pettigrew, Marcus Riccelli, Skyler Rude, Larry Springer, Monica Jurado Stonier, Pat Sullivan, Robert Sutherland, Mike Volz, J. T. Wilcox, and Sharon Wylie

State Government and Tribal Relations Committee:
Mia Gregerson (Chair), Mike Pelliciotti (Vice Chair), Jim Walsh, Keith Goehner, Sherry Appleton, Laurie Dolan, Zack Hudgins, Gina Mosbrucker, and Norma Smith

Transportation Committee:
Jake Fey (Chair), Vandana Slatter (2nd Vice Chair), Javier Valdez (2nd Vice Chair), Sharon Wylie (1st Vice Chair), Andrew Barkis, Jim Walsh, Jessy Young, Matt Bohnke, Kelly Chambers, Mike Chapman, Tom Dent, Beth Doglio, Jeremie Dufault, Debra Entenman, Carolyn Eslick, Keith Goehner, Mia Gregerson, Morgan Irwin, Shelley Kloba, John Lovick, Bob McCaslin, Jared Mead, Ed Orcutt, Lillian Ortiz-Self, Dave Paul, Mike Pellicciotti, Bill Ramos, Marcus Riccelli, Matt Shea, Sharon Whewmake, and Luanne Van Werven

SENATE COMMITEES

Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long-Term Care Committee:
Manka Dhingra (Chair), Keith Wagoner, Jeanne Darneille, David Frockt, and Steve O’Ban

Early Learning and K-12 Committee:
Lisa Wellman (Chair), Claire Wilson (Vice Chair), Brad Hawkins, Jeff Holy, Sam Hunt, John McCoy, Mark Mullet, Mike Padden, Jamie Pedersen, Jesse Salomon, and Keith Wagoner

Health and Long Term Care Committee:
Annette Cleveland (Chair), Emily Randall (Vice Chair), Steve O’Ban, Barbara Bailey, Randi Becker, Steve Conway, Manka Dhingra, David Frockt, Karen Keiser, Ann Rivers, and Kevin Van De Wege

Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee:
Guy Palumbo (Chair), Emily Randall (Vice Chair), Jeff Holy, Sharon Brown, Doug Ericksen, Marko Liias, and Lisa Wellman

Housing Stability and Affordability Committee:
Patty Kuderer (Chair), Mona Das (Vice Chair), Hans Zeiger, Jeanne Darneille, Phil Fortunato, Rebecca Saldaña, and Judy Warnick

Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee:
Jeanne Darneille (Chair), Joe Nguyen (Vice Chair), Maureen Walsh, Annette Cleveland, Steve O’Ban, Claire Wilson, and Hans Zeiger

Labor and Commerce Committee:
Karen Keiser (Chair), Steve Conway (Vice Chair), Curtis King, John Braun, Rebecca Saldaña, Maureen Walsh, and Lisa Wellman

Law & Justice Committee:
Jamie Pedersen (Chair), Manka Dhingra (Vice Chair), Mike Padden, Jeff Holy, Patty Kuderer, Jesse Salomon, and Lynda Wilson

Rules Committee:
Cyrus Habib (Chair), Karen Keiser (Vice Chair), Mark Schoesler, Randi Becker, Andy Billig, Reuven Carlyle, Annette Cleveland, Bob Hasegawa, Curtis King, Patty Kuderer, Marko Liias, John McCoy, Joe Nguyen, Ann Rivers, Tim Sheldon, and Shelly Short

State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee:
Sam Hunt (Chair), Patty Kuderer (Vice Chair), Hans Zeiger, Barbara Bailey, Bob Hasegawa, Brad Hawkins, and Dean Takko

Transportation Committee:
Steve Hobbs (Chair), Rebecca Saldaña (Vice Chair), Curtis King, Tim Sheldon, Annette Cleveland, Mona Das, Manka Dhingra, Phil Fortunato, Joe Nguyen, Steve O’Ban, Mike Padden, Emily Randall, Dean Takko, Claire Wilson and Hans Zeiger

Ways & Means Committee:
Christine Rolfes (Chair), David Frockt (Vice Chair, Operating, Capital Lead), Mark Mullet (Capital Budget Cabinet), John Braun, Sharon Brown, Jim Honeyford, Barbara Bailey, Randi Becker, Andy Billig, Reuven Carlyle, Steve Conway, Jeanne Darneille, Bob Hasegawa, Sam Hunt, Karen Keiser, Marko Liias, Guy Palumbo, Ann Rivers, Mark Schoesler, Kevin Van De Wege, Keith Wagoner, Judy Warnick, and Lynda Wilson

Hint:  You can view bills by going to the following website and plug in the bill number for which you want to view the history and status:

http://dlr.leg.wa.gov/billsummary/

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