Last Wednesday was a very important cutoff date that killed a lot of bills. Many were very good bills, but some that were terrible were killed as well. There are also some of both still alive. I mainly focus on the bad bills in my newsletters, because my emails are already quite long – you’d be reading into tomorrow, if I covered everything! Also note the next cutoff dates. Friday, the 28th is the cutoff for anything in a policy committee and the fiscal committee cutoff is Monday the 2nd. Both the Senate and the House go back to the floor full time on Tuesday.
Before I get to the list of bills (and I’ve added some), I want to discuss a few things up front. First is about a bill that would ban high capacity magazines. There were two bills that would ban hi cap magazines – both killed on Wednesday night. One, HB 2240, was killed because the Republicans had over 120 amendments that were ready to go and would have extended debate into the wee hours – way to go, House Republicans! Many times, if you can wear them down with amendments, you can get them to stop pursuing the bill. However, the very next day, a new bill was dropped – one that isn’t subject to the cutoff, because it is tied to the budget. This bill, HB 2947, is highly unusual. Its title takes up an entire page. The reason for this is because the House is required to only allow amendments that fit within the scope of the title. The super long and narrow title makes it almost impossible to amend in the House. The hearing on this bill is tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 8:00 am in the House Finance Committee.
There were a couple of exciting moments for us WA Leg wonks on the day of cutoff in the Senate, as well. First, Senator O’Ban made the highly unusual move to call for the 9th order to bring the $30 tab bill to the floor. His argument was that the people voted for $30 tabs, and their vote should be honored. The motion was defeated. If you want to hear Senator O’Ban making the case on behalf of the voters who approved I-976, you can listen to it here – https://www.tvw.org/watch/?clientID=9375922947&eventID=2020021235&startStreamAt=414&autoStartStream=true
Just a little later, the majority brought a bill to the floor that would restore voting right to felons the minute they walked out of jail – before their sentence is completed and before restitution. During the middle of that discussion, Senator O’Ban again tried to bring something to the floor that was vital – a bill that would help stop our nursing homes in the state from closing left and right. We have a serious problem right now in that we have more and more need for nursing homes, and yet the reimbursements rates are so low that they cannot keep their doors open. We’ve already lost many of them when we are really needing more. Again, it was defeated, but here you can hear Sen. O’Ban and other Republicans arguing for hearing the nursing home bill. I started the recording a little earlier than the actual motion, so you can hear about the bill they were trying to pass.
On a side note, the bill allowing the felons to vote failed to pass. They decided the pull the bill in the middle of debate – I’m guessing the points made by the Republicans had an effect!
HB 1010 – Allowing the WSP to destroy firearms that have been confiscated. Still alive – it is in the Rules Committee, one step away from coming to the Senate Floor for a vote.
HB 2947 – Ban on high cap magazines. Hearing in the House on the 25th at 8:00 am.
SB 6288 – Office of Firearm Violence – Passed the Senate and is scheduled in the House for a hearing on Feb 26th at 8:00 am. The makers of this bill claim to only want to gather data, but if you’ve been watching how “data” and statistics are used in the past, you can guess where the focus of this office will be.
SB 6586 – Pay per mile tax. If you didn’t read about this bill in last week’s post, you need to go back and read about what this bill does. In the Rules Committee which means next stop is a floor vote. This bill is not subject to cutoff because it’s a tax.
HB 1110 – Low Carbon Fuel Standards has passed the House and is in the Senate. The Hearing is tomorrow, the 25th at 10:00 am. I have this under Transportation because it will increase our cost to move ourselves and goods around the state. This could raise gas prices more than 40 cents per gallon. The worst part about this is that if it were a gas tax, at least the money would go towards roads (it’s constitutionally required for gas tax to go to transportation). But this legislation would just increase the costs to manufacture the fuel, so not a dime will go to our roads. Get ready to pay more at the pump and pay more for all our goods delivered by truck. (Hint – it’s pretty much everything you see in your local store).
SB 5811 – Passed the Senate and is in the House – in Rules and ready to go to the floor. Literally requires the Dept. of Ecology to adopt rules to implement California’s vehicle emissions standards. Again – costs will go up. It never ends.
SB 5323– state-wide ban on plastic bags – Still very much alive. SB 5323 has been voted off the floor of the Senate and is now in the House – scheduled for an executive session tomorrow, the 25th.
5339 – Abolishing the Death Penalty. Very much
alive. Passed the Senate and is awaiting executive session in the House on the
ESSB 5395 – Sex Education – Scheduled for Executive Session from the House Education Committee on the 27th. This is a push to teach gender fluidity as early as kindergarten. It has had a hearing in the House.
SB 6313 – Passed the Senate and is moving quickly through the House -it’s in the House Rules Committee which is one step away from the floor – Allowing 17 year olds to vote in the Primary and requiring colleges to have voting centers to make it easy for them, if the students desire.
ESB 5294 – Here is one business-owners will love. It requires you to grant a leave of absence without loss of job status or seniority to an employee who is a member of the state Legislature. Businesses have to bear the brunt of this one. It’s moving through the House – it had a hearing and is expected to have executive action taken on the 27th.
Usurping Parental Authority
HB 1551 – Passed the House and is in the Senate – it has been heard and is scheduled for executive action today at 1:30. – removes crimes related to knowingly infecting someone with HIV/AIDS and allowing children to get treatment to avoid HIV infection as young as 14 without parental consent.
SB 6455 – Passed the Senate – it is in the House with a committee hearing tomorrow at 10:00 am–Forcing restaurants to offer only water, milk, or low-sugar milk alternative as the default on kids menus.
Signed into law. It’s a done deal.
SB 6492 – Increase of B&O tax on the service industry. See last week’s newsletter for details
Likely Dead (I always say “likely” because nothing is for sure until the last gavel goes down) –
HB 2184 – Sex Ed bill
HB 2241 – another high cap magazine bill.
HB 2688 – Expanding Transportation policy goals –It removes mobility as one of the goals of transportation. Add climate change to the goals. There is a long list – none of which will help you to get to work faster.
HB 2515 – Ban on gas powered vehicles by 2030. But be assured, it will be back next year. We need to make sure there aren’t enough votes to pass it.
SB 6516 – reducing the work week to 32 hours.
SB 6228 It would restore voting rights to felons the second they walk out of prison, before their parole and financial restitution.
HB 2520 –This makes it extremely difficult to keep a deposit to cover damage done by a tenant. Requires meticulous documentation of every “fixture” in the rental including the age of the item.