Legislative Action Report — April 17, 2015

Reminder: the LAC meets this Sunday, April 19, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Delridge Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW. We are looking forward to hearing from Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (36th), especially about the compromise marijuana bill that passed, and from Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (34th), Chair of House Environment and on the House Transportation Committee.

We’ll have a Bill Tracker update next week, reflecting cutoff for floor action for the two houses. What remains, of course, is agreement between the House and the Senate on the three budgets: the General Fund, the Capital (construction) Budget, and the transportation package. There is a good amount of agreement on the Capital Budget, with the Senate funding the Housing Trust Fund at $65 million and the House at $80 million. Please ask your legislators to go for $80 million for the Housing Trust Fund, to make up for $0 last year and only one earmarked project to King County the year before.

I’ve drawn on some of our wisest analysts to give you an overview of what’s going on behind closed doors in Olympia. Read on.

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Legislative Action Report — April 6, 2015

Tuesday, April 7th is the deadline for fiscal bills to move out of committee. You will find our Bill Tracker here. Among our bills that died at the policy cutoff are Breakfast after the Bell, Paid Sick Leave, Equity in Contraceptive Care and Small Consumer Installment Loans. The Washington Voting Rights Act survives.

After long hearings Thursday and Friday, the Senate postponed its vote on its General Fund budget until Monday, when it passed 26-23, a straight party-line vote. Our best resource for budget analysis is the Washington Budget and Policy Center. Their analysis of the two budgets is here.

Democrats complained that the Senate no-new-taxes budget skims funds from local governments, infrastructure and many other sources, underfunds negotiated state employees’ contract increases by half, fails to address McCleary local levy deficits, cuts mental health and fails to restore TANF cuts and much of the $12 billion in cuts to the post-2010 recession budgets. Although the House and the Senate were nearly in agreement about K-12 (spending $1.3 Billion in Senate), their approaches to higher education funding were wildly different, with the Senate cutting tuition by some 25% (but not in community colleges), while the House stepped up the number of need grants funded, helping lower-income recipients more.

Still to come: the House Transportation and the House and Senate Capital budgets. Given the differences in the budget approaches, the go-home date of April 26 is increasingly in doubt.

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Legislative Action Report — March 30, 2015

No bills died this week. With appreciation to our friends and colleagues at Washington State Budget & Policy Center, the State League of Women Voters, and the State Low-Income Housing Alliance, here is a compendium of their budget analyses, which reflect our priorities, particularly for education and human services which are by far the largest part of the operating budget. We ask you also to support their recommended action steps as well as those of the WLIHA and the Budget & Policy Center, remembering that the budget bills will be voted out very soon.

A cutoff calendar is included at the end.

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Status of Bills for the 2015 Legislative Agenda

Printable version

Updated 4/6/2015
Call your legislators and the Gov. at 1-800-562-6000 and urge them to support your bill.

HOUSE BILLS STATUS COMMENTS & ACTION
SHB 1223 Financing Workforce Housing (Springer) (also SB 5208) Substitute bill passed House 63-35 (3/5); passed by Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing (3/31); referred to Senate Rules (4/1) Substitute bill makes corrections to specify the funding source for revenue bonds on the King County hotel-motel tax to finance workforce housing at 30% to 80% AMI. Needs your support in Senate. Ask Rules Committee members Maralyn Chase, Bob Hasegawa, Mark Mullet, Christine Rolfes, Sharon Nelson to pull the bill to the floor by 4/7.
SHB 1295 Breakfast After the Bell (Hudgins) (also SB 5437) Substitute bill passed House 63-35 (3/4); heard in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education (3/16); no vote scheduled. Bipartisan support; companion bill passed Senate policy and Ways& Means committees, but died in Rules. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff.
HB 1355 Increase Minimum Wage to $12 (Farrell) (also SB 5285) Passed House 51-46 (3/3); heard in Senate Commerce & Labor (3/30, 1:30 p.m.) ; no vote scheduled. 41 Democratic sponsors; phases in over four years. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff.
HB 1356 Paid Sick Leave (Jinkins) (also SB 5306) Passed House 51-46 (3/3); hearing in Senate Commerce & Labor (3/30, 1:30 p.m.) 43 Democratic sponsors. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff.
HB 1436 Homeless Youth Prevention & Protection Act (Kagi) (also SB 5404) Second substitute bill passed House 62-36 (3/4); heard in Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing (3/24); no vote scheduled. 24 bipartisan sponsors; companion bill passed Senate 48-1, so Senate bill is the vehicle. Both are heavily amended and must be reconciled. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff.
ESHB 1449 Oil Transportation Safety (Farrell) (also SB 5087) Substitute bill passed House 60-38 (3/5); passed Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee (3/18); referred to Senate Ways & Means (4/1); scheduled for vote (4/7) Governor request. 36 House Democratic sponsors; requires railroads to do oil spill response planning & increases Oil Spill Tax on vessels to include pipelines. Senate Energy Committee Chair Doug Erickson heavily amended the bill to exclude sea transport, pipelines and requirements for financial responsibility.
HB 1647 Equity in contraceptive coverage (Cody) (also SB 5574) Passed House 51-46; referred to Senate Health Care (3/12); no hearing scheduled. 21 Democratic House sponsors. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff.
E2SHB 1682 Homeless Student Stability Act (Fey) (also SB 5065) Engrossed second substitute bill passed House 82-16 (3/6); heard in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education 3/19); no vote scheduled. 27 bipartisan House sponsors; pilot grant program provides increased in-school guidance supports, housing referrals to homeless students. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff.
HB 2055 Statements on ballot measures in voters’ pamphlets (Johnson) Passed House 97-1; passed Senate Government Operations & Security Committee (3/26); referred to Senate Rules (3/31) Bipartisan bill. Allows fiscal impact statements to be included in voters’ pamphlet for each ballot initiative or bill referendum or measure–voters need more information. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff..
SENATE BILLS STATUS COMMENTS & ACTION
ESB 5153 Dark Money Campaign Disclosure (Billig) Engrossed bill passed Senate 49-0; passed House State Government Committee (3/24); referred to House Rules (4/1) Ask House Rules Committee members including Jessyn Farrell, Tina Orwall, Cindy Ryu, Gael Tarleton and Speaker Chopp to pull this bill to the floor before April 7th cutoff. Fix Democracy First! is lead organization.
2SSB 5404 Homeless Youth Prevention & Protection Act (O’Ban) (also HB 1436) Second substitute bill passed Senate 48-1; passed House Committee on Early Learning and Human Services (3/26); heard in House Appropriations (4/6) Governor request; funds stable housing, family reconciliation, permanent connections, education & employment opportunities. Companion bill passed House 62-36, so Senate bill should sail through House, with House attempting to reconcile differences. Fiscal cutoff is 4/7.
2SSB 5564 Sealing juvenile records & fines (O’Ban) (also HB 1481) Second substitute bill passed Senate 48-1 (3/6); passed House Committee on Early Learning & Human Services (3/31); referred House Rules (4/1) 15 bipartisan Senate sponsors; House bill also had bipartisan support, but ran out of time before a floor vote; support so that juvenile fines and penalties at 12% (amended to 6%) interest do not follow them into adulthood; many amendments have watered down Senate bill.
JOINT RESOLUTIONS STATUS COMMENTS & ACTIONS
OTHER BILLS STATUS COMMENTS & ACTIONS
SHB 1085 Lobbyist PDC Reports Filed Electronically (Moeller) Substitute bill passed House 85-13 (3/5); heard in Senate Government Operations & Security (3/16); no vote scheduled Ask Committee Chair Pam Roach & your Senator to support transparency in government. Current system is paper, not a searchable database.
2SHB 1390/SB5713 Legal Financial Obligations for Felons (Goodman/Kohl-Welles) 2nd Substitute House bill passed 94-4; referred to Senate Law & Justice (3/11); no hearing scheduled. House bill has six Democratic sponsors and no GOP sponsors. Tell Senators to lower 12% state interest from time of conviction to something reasonable and to address this unjust situation so felons can repair their credit. Died at the April 1 policy committee cutoff.
ESHB 1745/SB 5668 Washington Voting Rights Act (Moscoso/Habib) Engrossed substitute House bill passed House 52-46 (3/5); passed Senate Government Operations & Security (which passed the Senate bill) (3/31); Referred to Senate Rules (4/1). Senate bill placed in Rules “X” file after passing committee. 24 House Democratic sponsors and 13 Democratic Senate sponsors. Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA), will ensure all communities have a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice in local elections. Some election voting systems prevent all areas from being represented in local government, with a lack of accountability that leaves potholes, sidewalks, public safety and other critical issues unaddressed in those communities. Senate leadership is holding the Senate bill. Ask them to pass the House bill.
SSB 5715 Initiative Fiscal Note Impact Statements (Fain) Passed Senate 41-8 (3/9); passed House Committee on State Government (4/1); referred to House Rules President Pro Tempore Pam Roach ruled that it required a 2/3 majority. Can’t penetrate her thinking. Bipartisan sponsors are Senators Joe Fain, Jamie Pedersen, John Braun and Jan Angel. Ask to be pulled from House Rules before April 7 cutoff.
SSB 5748 Requiring test scores to be used as part of teacher evaluations (Litzow) Substitute bill passed Senate 26-23;heard in House Education (3/13); no vote scheduled. Oppose.  Tell Representatives how you feel about unvalidated high-stakes tests being used in teacher evaluations. The $40M federal NCLB waiver penalty is less than 1% of the state education budget amd most of it was restored after six months. WEA opposes. Note: Could be Necessary to Implement the budget (NTIB), therefore survive fiscal.
ESSB 5899 Small consumer installment loans (Liias) Engrossed substitute bill passed Senate 30-18 after 2 hours of floor debate and 40 attempted amendments; passed House Business & Financial Services, (3/25); referred to General Government & Information Technology, a more consumer-friendly committee (3/31); heard (4/6), but no vote taken, effectively killing bill. Oppose.  Moneytree is behind this bill and has maxed out donations to the sponsor and many House Democrats, not just Republicans. Rep. Cindy Ryu needs our support. Tell all your Representatives that the current reform law, passed in 2009, is not broken and it is superior to Colorado’s law, according to Pew Research. The State Attorney General is opposed, as are dozens of advocacy groups. Bill died in House Committee.
SB 5978 Changing the presidential primary (Roach) Passed Senate 36-12; heard in House Committee on State Government (3/12); no vote scheduled. Oppose.  Secretary of State request bill; moves presidential primary to 2nd Tuesday in March; would require both major parties to use the results to allocate at least some delegates in order for the parties to receive the names of their voters; companion bill died in House committee. The Democratic Party has a First Amendment right to meet and make delegate allocation decisions without interference or pressure.

Compiled by: Sarajane Siegfriedt, King County Legislative Action Committee (sarajane3h@comcast.net).

Lobby Day, Monday, February 16

Please register now for the King County Democrats’ Legislative Action Day in Olympia, on Presidents Day, Monday,  February 16, 2015, from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM. (You can schedule appointments with Legislators in the afternoon from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM)

The  Lobby Day Briefing will be held in Senate Hearing Room 3 of the John L Cherberg Building on the Capitol Campus, 304 15th Ave SW in Olympia.  We will hear from experts on our key issues, discuss our lobbying strategy and enjoy a box lunch while we hear from our Legislators about what they are working on. From 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. you will make appointments with your legislators and ask for their support for our Legislative Agenda. At 5 p.m., many of us will be in Lacey for the WSDCC Crab Feed, a great event for Democrats and our electeds across the state.

Registration is $20 and includes a sack lunch. If  this is not in your budget, you can register without lunch (bring your own) and still come to the event.