Highlights from Olympia: How did your elected representatives vote?

Senate Bill 5722: Restricting the practice of conversion therapy. Passed the Senate on January 19 by a vote of 32-16 with one member excused.

This bill would make it “unprofessional conduct” for a licensed healthcare provider to perform conversion therapy on patients younger than 18. Conversion therapy is a regime that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex. The bill is now before the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness for consideration.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – No

Senate Bill 5766: Preventing harassment, intimidation and bullying in public schools. Passed the Senate on January 19 by a vote of 30-18 with one member excused.

Under this bill school districts must adopt or amend a transgender student policy and procedure by August 1, 2018. The policy must include provisions addressing discriminatory harassment of transgender students and must incorporate the transgender student policy and procedure created by Washington State School Directors Association and the rules and guidelines developed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction to eliminate discrimination in public schools on the basis of gender identity and expression. The bill is now before the House Education Committee for consideration.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – No

Senate Bill 6002: Enacting the Washington voting rights act of 2018. Passed the Senate on January 19 by a vote of 29-19 with one member excused.

The bill would create a voting rights act to protect the equal opportunity for minority groups to participate in local elections. The bill was referred to the House Committee on State Government, Elections and Information Technology.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – No

Senate Bill 6021: Extending the period for voter registration. Passed the Senate on January 17 by a vote of 29-20.

In addition to authorizing voter registration by mail or electronically up to eight days before an election, this bill would allow in-person voter registration and voter registration updates up to 8 p.m. the day of the election, i.e. same-day voter registration. Current law provides that to register to vote, a person must submit an application via mail or an online registration no later than 29 days before the day of the next primary, special, or general election, or in person at their county auditor’s office no later than eight days before the election. The bill was referred to the House Committee on State Government, Elections and Information Technology.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – No

Senate Bill 5074: Aligning eligibility for the college bound scholarship program with the state need grant program. Passed the Senate on January 24 by a vote of 38-11.

This bill would make Washington state students who came to this country illegally as children eligible for state financial aid to pay for college. Currently, students without legal immigration status are not eligible for federal financial aid. Under the bill, students who have been here for at least three years before earning a high school diploma would qualify for the College Bound scholarship program available to low-income Washington students. It would include those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status and also establishes that the term nonresident student does not pertain to certain visa holders that meet other statutory requirements regarding residency. The bill is now before the House Committee on Higher Education for consideration.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – No

Senate Bill 5992, Concerning bump-fire stocks. Passed the Senate on January 25 by a vote of 29-20.

The Senate passed this bill to ban trigger modification devices that allow legal semi-automatic firearms to simulate automatic weapons fire. Automatic weapons, or machine guns, are tightly restricted or outlawed under current federal and state laws. The ban would make it illegal for anyone in Washington to manufacture or sell bump stocks beginning July 1, 2018. In July 2019, it would become illegal to own or possess a bump stock in Washington, which means current owners of such devices would have to turn them in to law enforcement or destroy them. The action was prompted by last October’s shooting in Las Vegas in which bump stocks were used for rapid fire that killed 58 persons and left hundreds more injured.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – No

Senate Bill 6219: Concerning health plan coverage of reproductive health care. Passed the Senate on January 31 by a vote of 26-22 with one member excused.

This measure would require health insurance plans in Washington that offer maternity care coverage to also cover elective abortions. It would also mandate coverage for all contraceptive drugs, devices, products and services, as well as voluntary sterilization with no co-payments or deductibles. Amendments to exclude elective abortion for gender selection and granting exemptions for employers opposed to abortion on conscience or religious grounds were rejected. The bill is now before the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – No

House Bill 1523: Requiring health plans to cover, with no cost sharing, the same preventive services required by federal law as of December 2016. Passed the House on January 31 by a vote of 56-38 with four members excused.

Under this bill, a health insurance plan in Washington must, at a minimum, provide coverage for the same preventive services required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and any federal rules or guidance in effect on December 31, 2016. These include contraception for women, immunizations for certain diseases, autism screening for children blood pressure and cholesterol screenings; and screenings for certain diseases, including diabetes, colorectal cancer, and HIV. The bill is now before the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – No

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – No

House Bill 1188: Concerning the use of child passenger restraint systems. Passed the House on January 31 by a vote of 64-30 with four members excused.

The bill requires a child to be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system until the age of 2 or until it reaches the seat manufacturer-set weight and height limits. A child not secured in a rear-facing seat who is under the age of 4 must 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 10 or under 4 feet 9 inches must be properly secured in a child booster seat until they reach the seat-manufacturer-set weight or height limits. The bill is now before the Senate Transportation Committee.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – No

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – No

House Bill 1169: Enacting the student opportunity, assistance and relief act. Passed the House on January 31 by a vote of 79-15 with four members excused.

The bill would repeal multiple provisions in current law that allow suspension of a professional license due to student loan default. It changes the judgment interest rate for unpaid private student loan debt to 2 percentage points above the prime rate, unless the judgment interest rate is specified in the contract and increases the bank account and wage garnishment exemptions for judgments on private student loan debt. The bill is now before the Senate Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – Yes

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – Yes

House Bill 1060: Concerning the administration of marijuana to students for medical purposes. Passed the House on January 31 by a vote of 67-27 with four members excused.

This bill would require school districts to allow students to consume marijuana for medical purposes on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or while attending a school- sponsored event. It directs school districts to establish policies related to the consumption of marijuana by students for medical purposes if requested by the parent or guardian of a student who is a qualifying patient. The bill is now before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – No

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – No

House Bill 2384: Concerning consumer reporting agency security freeze fees. Passed the House on January 31 by a vote of 81-13 with four members excused.

This bill would prohibit a consumer reporting agency from imposing a charge on a consumer for a request to place, temporarily lift or remove a security freeze. The bill is now before the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – No

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – Yes

House Bill 2311: Reducing barriers to student participation in extracurricular activities. Passed the House on January 31 by a vote of 62-32 with four members excused.

This bill would limit the maximum fee charged to a public or private high school student who is eligible for federal free and reduced-price meals program, to five dollars for an associated student body card, other student identification card, participating in an extracurricular activity, or participating in career and technical student organizations. It would also prohibit a student from being required to complete a physical examination to participate in extracurricular activities more often than every twenty-four months. The bill is now before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – No

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – No

House Bill 2419: Regarding beer, wine, cider and mead at farmers markets. Passed the House on January 29 by a vote of 78-17 with three members excused.

The bill would authorize microbreweries to sell growlers and cans of beer to the public and domestic wineries to sell cider and mead of its own production by the bottle or in a growler at farmer’s markets. It also allows domestic wineries to provide tasting samples of cider and mead to the public at farmer’s markets. The bill is now before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – Yes

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – Yes

Senate Bill 6091, Ensuring that water is available to support development. Passed the House on January 18 by a vote of 66-30 with two members excused.

After passage in the Senate, the bill was immediately transmitted to the House for action, and the bill is on the way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – Yes

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – Yes

Senate Bill 6090: 2017-19 Capital Budget. Passed the Senate on January 18 by a vote of 49-0.

The Capital Budget generally includes appropriations for the acquisition, construction and repair of capital assets such as land, buildings and other infrastructure improvements. This bill authorizes $4.2 billion for new capital projects for state agencies and institutions of higher education for the 2017-19 fiscal biennium. Of this, $2.77 is financed with state general obligation bonds.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – Yes

Senate Bill 6090: 2017-19 Capital Budget. Passed the House on January 18 by a vote of 95-1 with two members excused.

The House passed the bill immediately after it passed the Senate, and it is on the way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – Yes

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – Yes

House Bill 1080: Concerning state general obligation bonds and related accounts. Passed the House on January 18 by a vote of 94-2 with two members excused.

This bill authorizes the State Finance Committee to issue up to $2.9 billion in general obligation bonds to finance projects in the 2017-19 Capital Budget and to pay issuance and bond sale expenses. It also authorizes the Committee to issue up to $300 million in general obligation bonds over fifteen years, beginning in the 2017-19 biennium, to finance watershed restoration and enhancement projects.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – Yes

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – Yes

House Bill 1080: Concerning state general obligation bonds and related accounts. Passed the Senate on January 18 by a vote of 47-2.

After House passage, the Senate passed the bill, and it is on the way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) – Yes

House Bill 1506: Regulating workplace practices to achieve gender pay equity. Passed the House on January 17 by a vote of 69-28 with one member excused.

Under the state’s current Equal Pay Act (EPA), an employer who discriminates in the payment of wages as between sexes or who pays any female a lesser wage than males similarly employed is guilty of a misdemeanor. This bill modifies the state Equal Pay Act by defining “similarly employed,” as the performance of a job that requires similar skill, effort and responsibility and the job is under similar working conditions. Job titles are not the determining factor in this definition. It prohibits discrimination in providing career advancement opportunities based on gender, and prohibits retaliation for workplace discussions, such as comparing wages or encouraging others to exercise their rights. Violation of the act would result in actual damages $5,000, whichever is greater; and interest, and a fine of up to $1,000. The bill passed the House but was not acted on in the Senate during the 2017 session. It is now before the Senate Committee on Labor and Commerce for further consideration.

Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden) – No

Representative Luanne Van Werven (R-Lynden) – No

 

 

  1. Good grief! I knew that Whatcom County’s so-called “Legislators” represented the most narrow-minded, self-righteous, alt-right faction of the Republican party, but their votes identified in this article prove beyond all doubt that they are even worse than I thought. Vote them out! Vote them ALL out!

    Reply

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