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My Legislators' Key Votes

How my state representative and state senator voted on important or interesting measures

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Senate Bill 5289: Modifying the infraction of and penalties for distracted driving. Passed the House on April 19, 2017 by a vote of 61-36, one member excused. on April 19, 2017
As passed, this bill would replace current laws that prohibit the use of a hand-held cellular phone and texting while driving with a prohibition on a driver using any personal electronic device with his or her hands while driving. It would permit minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of a personal electronic device while driving. The bill also provides exceptions for contacting emergency services; uses by transit system employees; uses by commercial motor vehicle drivers; and the the operation of two-way or citizens band radio services. Distracted driving would be secondary traffic infraction under the bill, limiting enforcement to when a driver of a motor vehicle has been detained for a suspected violation of a separate traffic infraction.
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Senate Bill 5289: Modifying the infraction of and penalties for distracted driving. Final passage in the Senate on April 19, 2017 by a vote of 39-10. on April 19, 2017
The Senate agreed to the final version of the bill as passed by the House. The bill was delivered to the Governor on April 21, 2017 for approval.
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House Bill 2200: Protecting the privacy and security of internet users. Passed the House on April 19, 2017 by a vote of 87-10, one member excused. on April 19, 2017
This bill was first introduced on April 5th and would require broadband Internet providers to obtain opt-in consent to sell or transfer a customer’s personal information. It would also require providers to obtain permission from customers before sending or displaying advertisements to them that was selected based on the customer’s personal information, such as browsing or social media use. Providers of broadband Internet services would be required to have a mechanism for a customer to grant, deny, or withdraw approval to sell or transfer customer information, or to send or display an advertisement to a customer that was selected based on the customer's information. Under the bill, a provider would not be allowed to condition or refuse service as a consequence of a customer's refusal to waive privacy rights.
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This bill was also passed by both chambers earlier in the session, but the Senate refused to agree to amendments added by the House. The House receded from its initial amendments and re-passed the bill with another amendment that was accepted by the Senate. As passed, this bill would bring Washington state into compliance with the 2005 federal REAL ID act, which requires state driver’s licenses and identification cards to have special security features and to be issued only to people who can prove they’re in the US legally. Residents without the REAL ID enhancements on their driver’s licenses would need additional identification, such as a passport, to board commercial domestic flights, beginning on January 22, 2018. States that have been granted an extension would have to meet REAL ID requirements by October 21, 2020. Washington already offers, but does not mandate, an enhanced driver’s license at extra cost that would meet federal requirements.. Under the bill, the state would create a two-tier system, keeping the enhanced license and marking standard licenses as not valid for federal purposes.
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The Senate, when it passed the bill earlier, had lowered the price of an enhanced license to $54, the cost of a standard license, but the House raised it back to its current price of $108. The House also added language prohibiting the standard licenses from being used to determine or infer the holder’s immigration or citizenship status. The compromise bill that was passed would set the cost of an enhanced license at $78 and also keeps changes made by House Democrats, including prohibiting the marked licenses from being used to determine or infer citizenship or immigration status or to spark an investigation or arrest that otherwise would not have occurred. The measure is on its way to the Governor for approval.
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Senate Bill 5037: Making a fourth driving-under-the-influence offense a felony. Passed the House on April 20, 2017 by a vote of 85-11, two members excused. on April 20, 2017
This bill was passed by the Senate by a unanimous vote in February. It would raise the classification of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of physical control of a vehicle (PC) from a gross misdemeanor to a felony upon the fourth, rather than the fifth, offense. In addition to other existing penalties, a $50 fee must be assessed to any person convicted, sentenced to a lesser charge, or given a deferred prosecution as a result of an arrest for a DUI, PC, Vehicular Homicide, or Vehicular Assault offense. Revenue from the $50 fee must be used to fund Washington Traffic Safety Commission grants to organizations within counties to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
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Senate Bill 5096: Making transportation appropriations for the 2017-19 biennium. Passed the House on April 12, 2017 by a vote of 77-19, two members excused. on April 12, 2017
This is the amended version of the transportation budget that was passed a week ago by the Senate on a 49-0, unanimous vote. House members offered more than three-dozen amendments to the bill, a number of which were ruled out of order, because they dealt with Sound Transit related issues. According to the presiding Speaker Pro Temp’s ruling, these issues are beyond the scope of the bill as Sound Transit is not a state agency. The House version of the transportation budget provides $8.7 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, about $48 million more than the Senate version. Both versions include some $40 million in pay raises for Washington State Patrol troopers and officers, as negotiated in their collective bargaining agreements. A list of projects funded by this budget is available at www.fiscal.wa.gov. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence on the House amendments and final passage.
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Senate Bill 5289: Modifying the infraction of and penalties for distracted driving. Passed the House on April 12, 2017 by a vote of 63-35. on April 12, 2017
As amended by the House, this bill would replace current laws that prohibit the use of a hand-held cellular phone and texting while driving with a prohibition on a driver using any personal electronic device with his or her hands while driving. It would permit minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of a personal electronic device while driving. The bill also provides exceptions for contacting emergency services; uses by transit system employees; uses by commercial motor vehicle drivers; and the the operation of two-way or citizens band radio services. Distracted driving would be secondary traffic infraction under the bill, limiting enforcement to when a driver of a motor vehicle has been detained for a suspected violation of a separate traffic infraction. The bill is headed back to the Senate for concurrence on the House amendments and final passage.
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House Bill 2201: Concerning the collection of a motor vehicle excise tax approved by voters of a regional transit authority in 2016. Passed the House on April 12, 2017 by a vote of 64-33, one member excused. on April 12, 2017
Drastic increases in car-tab fees after Puget Sound voters approved Sound Transit’s $54 billion ST3 passage last November has sparked widely reported public outrage, because Sound Transit is using a valuation formula for collection of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax that overvalues newer used cars. This bill would provide limited relief to vehicle owners by requiring Sound Transit to use the car valuation schedule established by law in 2006, instead of the 1996 schedule it uses currently. The newer schedule is more favorable to drivers. Under the bill, a car’s value would still be based on its original MSRP, not its current market value, but owners would get a tax credit on the difference between valuations under the old and newer formulas. Several amendments to the bill were proposed to base the formula on Kelley Blue Blook values, but failed to gain approval in the House. A week ago, the Senate narrowly passed SB 5893, which would require Sound Transit to use Kelley Blue Book or National Automobile Dealers Association values as a basis for its tax calculation. Both bills now go before the opposite chamber for approval.
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Senate Bill 5008: Facilitating compliance with the federal REAL ID act by modifying driver's license and identicard design and fees. Passed the House on April 11, 2017 by a vote of 69-28, one member excused. on April 11, 2017
This bill would bring Washington state into compliance with the 2005 federal REAL ID act, which requires state driver’s licenses and identification cards to have special security features and to be issued only to people who can prove they’re in the US legally. Residents without the REAL ID enhancements on their driver’s licenses would need additional identification, such as a passport, to board commercial domestic flights, beginning on January 22, 2018. States that have been granted an extension would have to meet REAL ID requirements by October 21, 2020. Washington already offers, but does not mandate, an enhanced driver’s license at extra cost that would meet federal requirements.. Under the bill, the state would create a two-tier system, keeping the enhanced license and marking standard licenses as not valid for federal purposes. The Senate, when it passed the bill last week, had lowered the price of an enhanced license to $54, the cost of a standard license, but the House raised it back to its current price of $108. The House also also added language prohibiting the standard licenses from being used to determine or infer the holder’s immigration or citizenship status. The bill was sent to the Senate for concurrence, but the Senate refused to agree to the House amendments and has asked the House to recede from its changes.
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House Bill 2182: Providing a tiered tax on the possession of hazardous substances. Passed the House on April 12, 2017 by a vote of 50-47, one member excused. on April 12, 2017
This bill would revise the Hazardous Substance Tax (HST)., establishing an annual tiered tax rate from 2018 through 2025. The tiered rates are as follows: 0.9 percent until HST revenues collected in the fiscal year reach $110 million; 0.7 percent until HST revenues collected in the fiscal year reach $170 million; and 0.21 percent until the first day of the next fiscal year. According to proponents of the bill, the goal of the policy is to create stability and have a defined band of revenues for Model Toxic Control Act (MTCA) accounts, as oil prices and fuel prices fluctuate. Opponents say this proposal would increase MTCA taxes over the next four years and that the tiered tax structure only lasts until the revenues begin decreasing. They say large reason for shortfalls is that the MTCA accounts are used to backfill the State General fund. Opponents testifying during committee hearings include the Washington Petroleum Institute and the Washington Farm Bureau, which represent businesses that pay the tax. The bill was sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for consideration.
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Senate Bill 5046: Providing public notices of public health, safety, and welfare in a language other than English. Passed the House on April 11, 2017 by a vote of 52-45, one member excused. on April 11, 2017
This bill would require state agencies and political subdivision to provide life safety information during an emergency or disaster in a language that can be understood by significant population segments with limited English proficiency, unless this is technologically infeasible. It would also require local organizations and joint local organizations for emergency management to include communication plans in their emergency management plans, that provide emergency notification in languages other than English. The bill is headed back to the Senate for concurrence of House amendments and final passage.
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Senate Bill 5893: Concerning the administration of motor vehicle excise taxes by regional transit authorities. Passed the Senate on April 6, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on April 6, 2017
This bill would change the way regional transit authorities calculate the car tab increases approved by voters as part of Sound Transit’s $54 billion ST3 initiative. It would require Sound Transit officials to use Kelley Blue Book or National Automobile Dealers Association values, whichever is lower, to reflect the fair market value of vehicles for collecting car tab fees. The current formula, which uses drastically exaggerated vehicle values, has sparked widely reported public outrage over what amounts to a three-fold increase in current car tab fees.
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Senate Bill 5256: Concerning sexual assault protection orders. Passed the House on April 6, 2017 by a vote of 75-22, one member excused. on April 6, 2017
This bill provides that sexual assault protection orders may be permanent, rather than having a two-year maximum. It modifies the procedure for renewal of a sexual assault protection order to require renewal unless the respondent shows that he or she will not engage in or attempt contact with the petitioner after the order expires.
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Senate Bill 5382: Authorizing the issuance of identicards at a reduced cost to applicants who are under the age of eighteen and without a permanent residence address. Passed the House on April 6, 2017 by a vote of 70-27, one member excused. on April 6, 2017
An identicard is a Washington identification card (ID) issued by the Washington State Department of Licensing. The card is distinctively designed to avoid confusion with an official driver’s license and expires six years after it is issued.The fee is $54. Under this bill, people who are under the age of 18 and who do not have a primary residence address would be able to qualify to receive an identicard from the DOL at cost. The DOL would be required to determine what is or is not a permanent address by rule. The Senate passed the bill last month by a vote of 47-2.
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Senate Bill 5356: Concerning the humane treatment of dogs. Passed the House on April 6, 2017 by a vote of 68-28, two members excused. on April 6, 2017
This bill provides for new restrictions on tethering dogs under Washington State animal cruelty laws. Current law does not specify penalties or animal cruelty standards when a dog is tied to fixed structures, ropes, chains, or trolley systems for extended periods of time without owner supervision. Under this bill, criminal liability principles for crimes related to animals would apply to inhumane tethering of dogs. It provides that an unsupervised dog must not be tethered for an amount of time that is reckless under the circumstances; any tethering restraint used must allow for safe and sanitary surroundings, adequate access to food and water, protection from excessive heat or cold, and shelter from the weather; and any tethered dog must have enough freedom of movement to comfortably sit, stand, lie down, and not risk entanglement in the restraint. The Senate passed this bill unanimously in February.
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Senate Bill 5472: Requiring ballot drop boxes in all communities. Passed the House on April 5, 2017 by a vote of 52-45, one member excused. on April 5, 2017
This bill provides that a county auditor must establish a minimum of one ballot drop box for each 15,000 registered voters in the county and in each city, town, and census-designated place in the county that has a post office. Under current law, county auditors are permitted to provide election services at locations in addition to ta required voting center, including additional ballot drop boxes. The services provided at the additional locations, and the days and hours the additional locations are open, are at the county auditor's discretion. The bill passed in the Senate unanimously in February.
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House Bill 1100: Concerning concealed pistol license renewal notices. Passed the Senate on April 6, 2017 by a vote of 32-17. on April 6, 2017
This bill would require the Department of Licensing to mail a concealed pistol license (CPL) renewal notification to the license holder approximately 90 days prior to the expiration of the license. Currently, a CPL is valid for five years, and a CPL holder may renew the license by applying for renewal within 90 days before or after expiration of the license. License holders are not notified by the Department of Licensing or local authorities about an upcoming expiration. The House passed this bill in February by a unanimous vote.
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Senate Bill 5048: Making 2017-19 fiscal biennium operating appropriations. Passed the House on March 31, 2017 by a vote of 50-48. on March 31, 2017
This budget bill, passed by the Senate last week, was stripped and replaced by the contents of HB 1067, the House Democrats’ $44.9 billion 2017-19 state spending proposal. The state 2017-19 budget bill now includes appropriations of $22.0 billion for K-12 public schools; $5.9 billion for the Department of Social and Health Services; $8.2 billion for other human services programs, including the Health Care Authority and the Department of Corrections; and $3.8 billion for higher education institutions and financial aid. It would also fund the state employee and non-state employee pay raise agreements negotiated between the Governor and state employee unions last year, Initiative 732 cost-of-living adjustments, and additional K-12 salary increases. The bill would also provide supplemental appropriations in the current 2015-17 state budget, adding $1.6 million in total budgeted funds. The bill now goes back to the Senate for approval or rejection of the House amendments. If the amendments are rejected and the House insists on its position, the bill will go to a conference committee of members selected by leaders of both chambers to negotiate a final state budget measure.
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Senate Bill 5086: SB 5086: Concerning the Capital Budget. Passed the Senate on March 30, 2017 by a vote of 49-0. on March 30, 2017
The Capital Budget generally includes appropriations for the acquisition, construction, and repair of capital assets such as land, buildings, and other infrastructure improvements. Funding for the Capital Budget is primarily from state general obligation bonds, with other funding derived from various dedicated taxes, fees, and state trust land revenues. This bill would authorize $3.98 billion in new capital construction projects for state agencies and institutions of higher education for the 2017-19 fiscal biennium. The proceeds of state general obligation bonds would fund $2.53 billion of the total appropriations. The bill also provides for a net decrease of $870,000 in adjustments to the current 2015-17 capital budget. It now heads to the House for consideration.
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Senate Bill 5130: Increasing marijuana license fees and adding a temporary additional fee on marijuana licenses issued by the Washington state liquor and cannabis board. Passed the Senate on March 31, 2017 by a vote of 35-10, four members excused. on March 31, 2017
The state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has the authority to license and regulate marijuana businesses in Washington State. It issues licenses to marijuana producers, processors, retailers, and researchers. The fee for each license is currently set in statute at $1,000 for both the original application and each annual renewal. This bill would raise the licensing application and renewal fees for marijuana producers, processors, retailers, and researchers to $1,300, beginning on July 1, 2018. It would also impose a one-time nonrefundable additional fee of $480 on all marijuana license applications and modifications. The fee would apply to new license applications and all license renewals for licenses expiring on or after June 30, 2017. The one-time fee would expire on June 30, 2018. The LCB is would be required to use the revenue from this fee to replace the LCB's current electronic traceability system. The bill is now headed to the House for consideration.
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Senate Bill 5048: Making 2017-19 fiscal biennium operating appropriations. Passed the Senate on March 23, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on March 23, 2017
This is the two-year state operating budget proposed by the Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus, creating a $43 billion spending plan that earmarks $21.9 billion for K-12 schools. It is the first time since 1993 that more than half the state’s budget would be allocated to education spending. If passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by the governor, the bill would take effect immediately. However, part of the funding for the plan is contingent on SB 5875, to replace local school levies with a statewide property tax levy for education, which contains a referendum clause requiring voter approval at the November 2017 state general election. House Democrats are expected to release their version of the budget early next week, setting the stage for extensive negotiations in the remaining month of this regular session.
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Senate Bill 5111: Enacting an excise tax on capital gains to provide for education funding. Motion to advance to Final Passage. Two-thirds vote (33) of the Senate required to pass. Failed on March 23, 2017 by a vote of 25-7 (17 members absent). on March 23, 2017
This bill would enact a tax on individuals for the privilege of selling or exchanging capital assets. The tax is equal to 7.9 percent multiplied by a person's Washington capital gains for each taxable year. A $25,000 threshold exemption would be allowed for individuals, or $50,000 for those filing joint returns. The tax is part of the Governor Inslee’s budget proposal for expanding state basic education funding. The roll call recorded here is on the motion to bring the bill to a vote by the whole Senate. A prior motion by Senate Democratic leadership to excuse members from the vote was rejected, resulting in members not voting and being listed as absent.
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Senate Bill 5875: Relating to education. Passed the Senate on March 23, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on March 23, 2017
This bill modifies elements of SB 5607, which passed the Senate earlier this session to replace the state's school funding model with a new allocation method that is based on a flat per-pupil allocation of dollars and creates the state "Local Effort Levy," a new regular state property tax that is deposited in the Education Legacy Trust Account. SB 5875 would lower the maximum local effort levy rate from $1.80 to $1.55 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation and guarantee local taxing districts full reimbursement for any negative fiscal impacts to their levy authority due to the local effort levy. It would also disallow a reduction in per pupil amounts when there is negative inflation. The bill contains a referendum clause requiring voter approval at the November 2017 state general election.
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Senate Bill 5898: Concerning eligibility for public assistance programs. Passed the Senate on March 23, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on March 23, 2017
This bill deals with work activity and eligibility requirements for the WorkFirst temporary assistance for needy families program. It allows persons to receive Aged, Blind, or Disabled assistance benefits pending application for federal Supplemental Security Income for up to 36 months. Applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program would be required to demonstrate that a job search has been conducted prior to applying for assistance. The bill would establish that individuals who experience a non-temporary change in their status as working or attending a job training or education program under the Working Connections Child Care program must be discontinued from the program after a minimum of three months. This program pays part of the cost of childcare when a parent is employed, self-employed, or meets the requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or WorkFirst programs.
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Senate Bill 5033: Concerning financing essential public infrastructure. Passed the Senate on March 23, 2017 by a vote of 26-23. on March 23, 2017
This bill would improve access to and reliability of low-cost financing for local government infrastructure projects by authorizing public works bonds. It would permit the state to issue bonds for local infrastructure projects pooled by the Public Works Board. This debt would enjoy the full faith and credit of the state, but would not be subject to the state constitutional debt limit if the constitutional amendment SJR 8201, allowing the state to guarantee debt issued to local governments for infrastructure projects is passed by the legislature and adopted by voters this fall. If SJR 8201 is not adopted, the bill would authorize the WA State Housing Finance Commission to offer an infrastructure borrowing program.
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House Bill 1661: Creating the department of children, youth, and families. Passed the House on March 15, 2017 by a vote of 77-19, two members excused. on March 15, 2017
This bill would create a new state agency, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), to replace the current Department of Early Learning beginning July 1, 2018. The stated intent of creating this new agency is to improve the delivery of services and the outcomes for children and families by incorporating early learning, child welfare, and juvenile justice services in the same agency. The DCYF would be required to establish outcome measure goals and report to the Legislature on these outcome measures and progress toward these goals annually.
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Senate Bill 5312: Prohibiting employers from obtaining criminal background information from job applicants until after the employer determines they are otherwise qualified. Passed the Senate on March 7, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on March 7, 2017
This measure would create the “Washington Fair Chance Act,” under which employers would be prohibited from making inquiries related to criminal records until after initially determining a job applicant is otherwise qualified for a position. It would also prohibit employment ads or general policies that exclude applicants with criminal records. The bill would preempt the entire field of employment laws related to criminal records, repealing local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with the act. The state Attorney General would be authorized to enforce the act.
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Senate Bill 5433: Concerning informed decision making for death with dignity decisions. Passed the Senate on March 7, 2017 by a vote of 26-23. on March 7, 2017
Washington enacted its Death with Dignity law by initiative in 2008. Under current law, terminally ill adults who want to end their life may request a prescription for a lethal dose of medication. Terminally ill means that in the physician's reasonable medical judgment, the patient has an incurable and irreversible disease that will result in death within the next six months. The bill would preserves the option for terminally ill patients to request a lethal dose of medication to end their life, but clarifies and updates statutory language to require the treating physician to inform a terminally ill patient about all feasible alternatives to life ending medication, including comfort care, hospice care, pain control, treatment for the purpose of cure, and treatment for the purpose of extending the patient's life. Treating physicians would be required to comply with Washington State's standard of care when counseling a terminally ill patient who requests a life-ending dose of medication.
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Senate Bill 5339: Accommodating the civil rights of religious objectors regarding mandatory payments to labor organizations. Passed the Senate on March 7, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on March 7, 2017
Collective bargaining agreements in Washington are authorized to include provisions that require employees to maintain union membership or pay union dues as a condition of continued employment. Under current law, employees who assert the right of non-association based on religious tenets or teachings must pay an amount of money equal to regular union dues and initiation fees to a nonreligious charitable organization mutually agreed upon by the employee and the union. This bill would change the standard for religious non-association to bona fide personally held religious beliefs—not just to religious tenets of a church or organization to which the employee belongs, and an employee would be able to secure the right of non-association based on religious beliefs at any time. The non-associated employee could make payments in lieu of union dues to any charitable organization participating in the Washington State Combined Fund Drive, and the choice of charity would belong exclusively to the employee.
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Senate Joint Resolution 8204: Amending the Constitution to prohibit the taxation of individual income. Failed in the Senate by a vote of 27-22 on March 7, 2017. (33 votes required to pass). on March 7, 2017
This Senate Joint Resolution proposed an amendment to the Washington State Constitution to establish a permanent ban of a state income tax. Case law has held for 84 years that taxing personal income in the state is unconstitutional, and voters statewide have repeatedly defeated ballot measures to impose such a tax by wide margins. Advocates for an income tax are now employing a strategy of passing the tax in Seattle to generate a test case which, as they have publicly stated, might garner a more favorable review by “today’s more progressive state Supreme Court,” thus opening the possibility for a state income tax. ?The measure failed, because a two-thirds majority (33 votes) of the Senate is needed to pass proposed constitutional amendments.
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Senate Bill 5023: Changing provisions relating to school district excess levies. Passed the House on March 9, 2017 by a vote of 87-10, one member excused. on March 9, 2017
This is a compromise bill to delay the so-called “levy cliff” by a year, while lawmakers come up with a basic education funding plan mandated by the state Supreme Court. Current law, passed in 2010, allows school districts to raise up to 28 percent of their levy base through local property taxes. Under the same law, the rate would drop back down to 24 percent in 2018, but school districts are counting on the extra $500 million the current rate produces in their budgets for next year. The bill, which was passed in the Senate by a 48-1 vote on Wednesday, includes important reforms, such as prohibiting levy money to be spent on teacher salaries and requiring greater accountability in how levy monies are spent. The bill is now on its way to the Governor, who has said he will sign it.
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House Bill 1371: Modifying the infraction of and penalties for distracted driving. Passed the House on March 7, 2017 by a vote of 52-45, one member excused. on March 7, 2017
This bill provides that a person who uses a personal electronic device while driving a motor vehicle is guilty of a traffic infraction. The prohibition applies even while the vehicle is temporarily stopped at a traffic light, but not when it is pulled off the road and can remain safely stopped. Distracted driving would be a secondary infraction, limiting enforcement to when a driver of a motor vehicle has been detained for a suspected violation of a separate traffic offense.
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Senate Bill 5289: Modifying the infraction of and penalties for distracted driving. Passed the Senate on March 6, 2017 by a vote of 36-13. on March 6, 2017
Similar to HB 1371, this bill would create a new traffic infraction, beginning January 1, 2018, that prohibits a person from using a personal electronic device while driving a motor vehicle on a public highway. It would apply to holding a device in either hand, and also to the use of a hand or finger to compose, send, read, view, access, browse, transmit, save, or retrieve email, text messages, instant messages, photographs, or other electronic data. The first violation of the infraction carries a base penalty of $48 and a total penalty of $136. Second and subsequent violations of this infraction double the base penalty to $96, resulting in a total penalty of approximately $235. Both chambers will now consider each other’s versions, before a combined bill comes to a final vote.
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Senate Bill 5533: Prohibiting contributions to gubernatorial candidates by entities that collectively bargain with the state. Passed the Senate on March 7, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on March 7, 2017
The bill would prohibit any entity that engages in collective bargaining with the governor from making contributions to any candidate for governor, directly or indirectly. It would also prohibit any political committee from making independent expenditures in support of or in opposition to any candidate for governor or making direct or indirect contributions. The bill, if passed by the House and signed into law by the governor, would end conflicts of interests inherent in public employee unions negotiating with governors they had helped politically by giving money to their campaigns.
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House Bill 1506: Addressing workplace practices to achieve gender pay equity. Passed the House on March 8, 2017 by a vote of 61-36, one member excused. on March 8, 2017
This bill would prohibit discrimination in providing employment opportunities based on gender. It would also prohibits retaliation for certain workplace discussions about wages and other matters. The measure would modify the existing state Equal Pay Act by clarifying that individuals are "similarly employed" if the performance of the job requires comparable skill, effort, and responsibility, and the jobs are performed under similar working conditions. Job titles alone would not be not determinative. An employer’s defense under the act is changed to provide that a differential based on the following is not discrimination: a seniority system; a merit system; a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or a bona fide job-related factor, including education, training, or experience. An individual's previous wage or salary history would not be a defense.
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Senate Bill 5280: Making crimes and threats against persons because of their occupation as a law enforcement officer a hate crime. Passed the Senate on March 8, 2017 by a vote of 35-14. on March 8, 2017
Under this bill, a person would be found to commit malicious harassment, i.e. a hate crime, if the person commits prohibited acts because of their perception of the victim's occupation as a law enforcement officer. Assault in the third degree involving a law enforcement officer is added to the other crimes that may constitute harassment. The list of actions that would constitute a hate crime against a law enforcement officer is extensive and includes threats to cause bodily injury immediately or in the future; to cause physical damage to the property of the officer; or maliciously to do any other act which is intended to substantially harm the person threatened.
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Senate Bill 5333: Modifying presidential primary provisions. Passed the Senate on March 6, 2017 by a vote of 34-15. on March 6, 2017
This is a measure to move Washington state’s presidential primary from May to March. It was requested by Secretary of State Kim Wyman who said the state would be more relevant in choosing presidential nominees if Washington’s primary were held earlier. Under the bill, the presidential primary election would take place on the second Tuesday in March, unless the secretary of state moves it to a later date as part of a regional primary. Voters would not have to declare a party affiliation, as they do now, and would not be allowed to write in candidates when voting in the primary election.
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House Bill 1800: Enacting the Washington voting rights act. Passed the House on February 27, 2017 by a vote of 51-46, one member excused. on February 27, 2017
This bill would create a state voting rights act to protect the equal opportunity for minority groups to participate in local elections. It would provide for a cause of legal action and authorizes courts to order appropriate remedies for a violation of the act, including redistricting, within a political subdivision. This is to address claims of minority voter “dilution,” based on how voting districts are drawn. The discriminatory effect under a voter dilution claim is that minority votes are dispersed throughout the districts, which weakens their ability to influence the election. Voter dilution claims also occur in at-large general elections for multi-member boards or commissions. The act would apply to elections held within certain political subdivisions, including counties; cities; towns; school districts; fire protection districts; port districts; and public utility districts. It would not apply to state elections, elections in a city or town under 1,000 people, or school districts under 250 students.
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Senate Bill 5068: Establishing a voting rights act to promote equal voting opportunity in certain political subdivisions by authorizing district-based elections. Passed the Senate on March 2, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on March 2, 2017
This bill is another plan to address situations where local elections exhibit voting disparities between voters in a protected class and other voters. It would allow non-charter counties, code cities, second-class cities, and towns to authorize district-based or hybrid systems for electing their legislative authorities by ordinance or, if authorized, by voter initiative. Currently, most cities and towns in Washington do not use district based voting systems. Instead, all legislative authority positions are at large, and primary and general election voters may vote for candidates for all positions.
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Senate Bill 5239: Ensuring that water is available to support development. Passed the Senate on February 28, 2017 by a vote of 28-21. on February 28, 2017
This bill would reverse a 2016 state Supreme Court decision known as the “Hirst” decision involving water rights and the use of domestic wells. In its ruling, the court said counties must ensure that water is available before issuing development permits and cannot rely on state Department of Ecology regulation to satisfy that responsibility. The bill provides that evidence of potable water for a building permit may include a water well report for a permit-exempt groundwater withdrawal that is not prohibited by an applicable water resources management rule adopted by Ecology. In approving a subdivision, dedication, or short subdivision, a city, town, or county may rely on, or refer to, applicable water resources management rules adopted by the Department Ecology to determine if appropriate provisions have been made for potable water supplies. When approving a subdivision, dedication, or short subdivision, impairment review would not be required by the applicant, city, town, or county.
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House Bill 1440: Establishing a student loan bill of rights. Passed the House on March 1, 2017 by a vote of 71-27. on March 1, 2017
This bill would create the Student Education Loan Ombuds to receive, review, and provide assistance to student education loan borrowers who file complaints. It would require student education loan servicers to obtain a license from the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) to operate in the state, and permits the DFI to establish fees. Loan servicers would be required to comply with various provisions regarding assessing and crediting fees; account information and dispute requests; acquiring, transferring, and selling servicing rights; and reporting information. It would also prohibit third-party student education loan modification servicers from various practices that may misrepresent the student loan situation or encourage borrowers to do something counterproductive to their situation.
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Senate Bill 5223: Concerning safe injection sites in Washington state. Passed the Senate on March 2, 2017 by a vote of 26-23. on March 2, 2017
Under this bill, the State of Washington would exercise preemption over the field of safe injection sites within the state. Local governments would only be allowed to enact laws and ordinances relating to safe injection sites that are specifically authorized by state law. Each local health board would have to provide annual certification to the Legislature and the State Board of Health that no private or public safe injections sites are operating within its local health department jurisdiction. Any local government expenditures relating to safe injection sites would void any claim made by it against the state General Fund. All funding claims by the local government would be denied until the state, health district, or county is able to certify that there are no safe injection sites operating within its jurisdiction.
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Senate Bill 5001: Modifying the election and authority of regional transit authority board members. Passed the Senate on March 1, 2017 by a vote of 29-20. on March 1, 2017
This bill would change the board of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) from an appointed to an elected board. Currently, RTA board members are local elected officials appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the county legislative body. Under the bill, eleven non-partisan RTA board members must be directly elected in 2018 from 11 districts containing approximately equal shares of the population. Board members may not hold other elected offices. Additionally, the Secretary of Transportation, or designee, would be a non-voting member of the board. A five-member districting commission would be appointed by the Governor as soon as possible to define the 11 districts, ensuring that population is evenly divided between districts and that no more than five districts are solely within one county. A new commission would repeat the districting process every ten years after the release of census data. Elected members would serve four-year staggered terms.
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Senate Bill 5066: Concerning state budgeting through zero-based budget reviews. Passed the Senate on February 28, 2017 by a vote of 28-21. on February 28, 2017
This bill would establish a zero-based budget review process in the state of Washington. It would authorize he Legislature to specify in the two-year state operating budget, or other legislation, certain programs for which agencies must perform a zero-based budget review. Zero-based budgeting is a process that is designed to control expenditures by identifying the purposes of, and measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of all activities. Traditional budgeting provides a line-item process where only incremental spending is usually considered. Unlike traditional budgeting, which is based on budget history, no item would be automatically included in the next budget in zero-based budgeting. This process would also increase visibility and transparency of the process by which programs are funded in the state budget.
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House Bill 1843: Fulfilling the state's paramount duty for all children through equitable and responsible investments in the state's basic education program.Passed the House on February 22, 2017 by a vote of 50-47, one member excused. on February 22, 2017
This is the Democratic approach to complying with the state Supreme Court’s 2012 “McCleary” decision requiring that the state must fully fund basic education needs, including teacher, administrator, and other school worker salaries. The bill would replace the state salary allocation model with statewide minimum beginning and average salaries for teachers and administrators. It would also mandate that the state operating budget bill must specify the basis for regional adjustments, beginning in school year 2017-18 and phased in over three years. Minimum pay for beginning teachers would be $45,500, and average salaries would be $71,000 for teachers and $117,000 for administrators statewide. The estimated cost of this proposed plan is $7.6 billion over the next four years in addition to current state school expenditures of some $18 billion. The bill does not include any provisions on how the plan would be paid for, but Democratic leaders have said they would look at options like capital gains and carbon emission taxes.
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House Bill 1188: Concerning the use of child passenger restraint systems. Passed the House on February 20, 2017 by a vote of 69-28, one member excused. on February 20, 2017
This measure would combine the age and height and weight recommendations set forth in federal and pediatric guidelines. The bill would require a child to be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system until the age of two, or until he or she reaches the seat manufacturer-set weight and height limits. A child not secured in a rear-facing seat who is under the age of four would have to be properly secured in a forward-facing child restraint system until he or she reaches the seat manufacturer-set weight or height limits. Children under the age of ten not secured in a forward or rear-facing restraint system would be required to be properly secured in a booster seat.
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House Bill 1384: Concerning sexual assault protection orders. Passed the House on February 20, 2017 by a vote of 76-21, one member excused. on February 20, 2017
Under current law, a person may petition for a sexual assault protection order after one or more incidents that give rise to a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts. Temporary orders are effective for no more than 14 days, and final orders are limited to two years. This bill would change the law to provide that sexual assault protection orders may be permanent rather than having a two-year maximum. This would align the law with provisions for domestic violence, stalking, and harassment orders.
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House Bill 1273: Aligning state statutes with federal standards for the issuance of nondomiciled commercial drivers' licenses and commercial learners' permits. Passed the House on February 20, 2017 by a vote of 82-15, one member excused. on February 20, 2017
This bill is an effort to align a state statute with federal standards to provide Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) and Commercial Learners Permits CLP) to individuals who have legal status to be in the United States with temporary worker visas. Under current state law, an individual in the country with legal presence, but who is not a United States citizen or permanent resident, cannot get a CDL if he or she is otherwise eligible to do so. This bill would remedy that and bring the state in line with what the federal government allows. In line with federal regulations, applicants for a nondomiciled CDL or CLP who live in a foreign country and have not been issued a Social Security number are not required to include one on their applications, as long as they provide valid documentary evidence that they are authorized to remain in the United States, or that they are authorized to work in the United States.
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House Bill 1126: Establishing a deadline for the use and implementation of a marijuana retail license by a licensee. Passed the House on February 20, 2017 by a vote of 86-11, one member excused. on February 20, 2017
This bill would establish that a marijuana retailer license is subject to forfeiture if the licensee does not become fully operational and open to the public within a specified period from the date of license issuance. The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) would have to adopt rules to establish a license forfeiture process but would have to require license forfeiture on or before 24 calendar months, unless it determines that circumstances out of the licensee's control are preventing the licensee from becoming fully operational and that, in the LCB's discretion, the circumstances warrant extending the forfeiture period beyond 24 calendar months.
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Senate Bill 5790: Concerning the economic development element of the growth management act. Passed the Senate on February 22, 2017 by a vote of 31-18. on February 22, 2017
This bill provides that cities and counties that fully plan under the Growth Management Act (GMA) may adopt comprehensive plans and development regulations that promote economic development in urban and rural areas. These jurisdictions may also evaluate the economic performance of the prior eight years to determine if there has been economic growth in the local economy. If there is stagnation or deterioration of economic development, the comprehensive plan and development regulations may be modified to reduce restrictions on economic development opportunities.
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House Bill 1121: Changing the frequency of Puget Sound action agenda implementation strategy and science work plan updates. Passed the House on February 13, 2017 by a vote of 75-22, one member excused. on February 13, 2017
The bill would change the frequency for the Puget Sound Partnership to update its action agenda and its science work plan from every two years to every four years. The Puget Sound Partnership was created as a state agency in 2007 to oversee the restoration of the environmental health of Puget Sound. As part of its work, the Partnership produces three broad documents: an action agenda, a science work plan, and a State of the Sound Report. The Partnership also provides a set of funding recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature every two years. A Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) audit suggested modifying the Partnership's timeline for reporting. Reviewing and updating the science work plan takes tremendous effort and cost. The bill would create efficiency for those who contribute to the preparation of the Partnership reports and free up personnel to focus more time on implementation of the work of the Puget Sound Partnership
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House Bill 1209: Relating to municipal access to local financial services. Passed the House on February 16, 2017 by a vote of 73-24, one member excused. on February 16, 2017
This bill would include Credit Unions in the definition of public depositories, allowing them to accept public deposits over the maximum insured amount, subject to collateralization. It would also allow the Department of Financial Institutions to rely on information reported by the National Credit Union Association for investigation and examination of public depositories. Proponents testified in committee that this bill would bring credit unions on a par with other financial institutions. A public entity should be able to have a choice to deposit their funds at a credit union. Credit unions are not-for-profit and member owned, and they often have lower fees and higher interest rates. Opponents said the bill would create a new tax preference for credit unions. An inferred tax benefit exists, because credit unions are historically a place for low-income and underserved groups. Community banks would be endangered because they would have to compete against credit unions that do not have to pay the same taxes.
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House Bill 1738: Relating to protecting water quality by aligning state brake friction material restrictions with the requirements of a similar nationwide agreement. Passed the House on February 16, 2017 by a vote of 57-40, one member excused. on February 16, 2017
The bill provides that beginning on January 1, 2025, brake pad manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and distributors must limit copper in brake friction material to 0.5 percent or less. Manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors are given 10 years to sell their then-remaining brake-pad inventory, and equipment service contracts for vehicles manufactured before 2025 are exempt from the restrictions. This act would harmonize the date in state law on which copper in brake friction material must be limited to no more than 0.5 percent with the phase-out timeline set in a 2015 memorandum of understanding among the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Council of the States, and several stakeholder organizations, including brake manufacturers, to phase out copper and other specified materials in brake pads. Proponents of the bill testified that even small amounts of copper impede the ability of salmon to avoid predators and find spawning streams. A committee recently found that alternative, copper-free brake friction materials are available and recommended that the state move forward with a copper phase out by 2025. Manufacturers of brake friction materials have put significant resources into developing new materials, and the average concentration of copper in brakes sold in Washington has decreased from 7 percent to 3.5 percent. While positive strides have been made, this bill would help facilitate the phase out. No opponents testified in committee.
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Senate Bill 5079: Concerning dental health services in tribal settings. Passed the House on Thursday, February 9, 2017 by a vote of 80-18. on February 9, 2017
This bill, which passed the Senate by a 49-0 vote on February 1st, provides state authorization for the practice of Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHAT’s) on tribal reservations in Washington State. The federal Indian Health Service (IHS) is working to develop and expand its Community Health Aide program that serves American Indians and native Alaskans. Such an expansion expressly excludes DHATs from undertaking services covered under a program unless DHAT services are authorized under state law. Washington does not currently have a DHAT license and has not authorized the practice of DHATs.
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Senate Bill 5607: Concerning education. Passed the Senate on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by a vote of 25-24. on February 1, 2017
This bill is the Senate Republican-led majority’s plan to comply with the state Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary ruling that the state must fully meet basic education funding needs. Under this measure, local property taxes would be reduced and state property taxes would be increased. This so-called “levy swap” would create a flat statewide property tax levy of $1.80 per $1,000 of assessed value, replacing the current system of local levies that vary among school districts. The plan would replace the current school funding formula with a minimum annual funding level of at least $12,500 per student and the state would make up the difference for any school districts whose tax base is not large enough to reach this minimum. Such payments are estimated to be about $1.4 billion every two years, which, according to the bill’s proponents, could be met without additional taxes. The legislature could increase per-student dollar amounts in future years based on inflation and other expenses. The bill also includes a number of reforms and accountability provision, as well as a referendum clause that would require voters to approve the plan in the coming November election.
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House Bill 1125: Limiting the total number of retail marijuana licenses that may be held by a retailer and co-owners. Passed the House on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by a vote of 69-28. One seat vacant. on February 1, 2017
This bill would restrict, to a maximum of five, the number of retail marijuana business licenses that may be individually or collectively held by a person, partnership, or corporation. A marijuana retailer’s license entitles the holder to sell marijuana products at retail prices in retail outlets. There are currently no statutory restrictions on the number of marijuana business licenses that may be issued to individuals, partnerships, or corporations.
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House Bill 1059: Delaying implementation of revisions to the school levy lid. Passed the House on January 23. 2017 by a vote of 62-35, one member excused. on January 23, 2017
When the legislature passed a temporary increase in local levy rates in 2010 to provide a short-term increase in funding for schools, it also scheduled property tax levels to return to normal in January 2018. This bill would delay returning property tax rates to the previous rate by one year. The bill is now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and a public hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on January 30, 2017.
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