7 02, 2018

Legislation phasing out youth detention for non-criminal offenses passes Senate

February 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Landmark legislation to phase out detention of minors for status offenses such as truancy, running away from home, and other non-criminal behavior today passed out of the Washington state Senate.

Washington currently incarcerates more youth than any other state in the country by a significant margin. Senate Bill 5596 would phase out the use of juvenile detention for status offenders by July 1, 2020.

“In 2016, over 1,700 young people were incarcerated for non-criminal behavior in our state,” said bill sponsor Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma. “The logic of existing law, that we ought to take kids out of school for failing to attend, is backward. Now is the time for our state to rectify a broken system that has been proven to inflict more harm than good on our young people.”

During the phase-out period leading up to full implementation, the bill requires status offenders in detention to be separated from juveniles detained for criminal offenses.

“Our system is simply not working for the young people and families of our state who are in desperate need of additional resources to address serious obstacles they may be facing in their lives,” added Darneille. “This legislation sends a clear message that incarceration is no longer an acceptable avenue for addressing the barriers our children face on the path to becoming healthy participants in our society.”

SB 5596 passed on a bipartisan 26-22 vote and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

6 02, 2018

Video: Carlyle lauds carbon tax as strong investment in energy

February 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Watch Sen. Reuven Carlyle’s remarks on Thursday as chair of the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee ahead of its vote on Thursday on Senate Bill 6203, Gov. Jay Inslee’s carbon tax proposal.

“The global trend around the world is for a modest, thoughtful carbon pricing effort that invests in energy,” Carlyle said. “How we invest matters…. The fundamental value of considering legislation in the Legislature in your representative democracy is to attempt to customize, in a thoughtful and responsible way, very complex and important policies.”

The bill would tax the sale or use of fossil fuels, and the sale or use of electricity generated from them.

The Committee passed the bill Thursday evening. It will now move to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for further consideration before it can go before the full Senate for a vote.

5 02, 2018

Week 5: Senate floor action heats up

February 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — As we reach the mid-point of the 2018 session, Senate Democrats remain focused on policies that put people first. Last week, the Senate passed several measures that protect and improve women’s health care with bipartisan support, including the Reproductive Parity Act which had been blocked by Senate Republicans since 2013. The Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee also took a big step toward a cleaner future by passing a plan to put a price on carbon pollution. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, expect to see a flurry of hearings on dozens of bills in the Senate Ways & Means Committee as the Legislature faces a Tuesday deadline to move bills out of fiscal committees. The remainder of the week will focus on floor action as the full Senate considers a long list of bills before a Feb. 14 deadline to move all bills out of the Senate.

Click here for a list of bills passed by the Senate so far in the 2018 session.


Ways & Means, 10 a.m., Senate Hearing Room 4 Full agenda as of 2/4 – Subject to change

Public Hearing:

  • SSB 5689 – Establishing a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace.
  • SSB 5407 – Ensuring housing options.
  • SSB 6253 – Establishing a clean, efficient, renewable energy standard.
  • SSB 6314 – Extending the existing state property tax exemption for residences of senior citizens and disabled persons to local regular property taxes.
  • SSB 5935 – Enhancing consumer access, affordability, and quality of broadband and advanced telecommunications services.
  • SSB 6161 – Establishing a training course for campaign treasurers.
  • SB 6201 – Making the open educational resources project permanent.
  • SSB 6421 – Updating the environmental and sustainability literacy plan.
  • SSB 6410 – Concerning school safety.
  • SSB 6388 – Concerning paraeducators.
  • SB 6389 – Regarding career and technical education in alternative learning experience programs.
  • SB 6184 – Adding part-time employees to state civil service.
  • SSB 6026 – Prohibiting health carriers and pharmacy benefit managers from using contracts to prevent pharmacists from telling their customers about cheaper ways to buy prescription drugs.
  • SSB 6150 – Concerning opioid use disorder treatment, prevention, and related services.
  • SSB 6102 – Enacting the employee reproductive choice act.
  • SB 6549 – Expanding the access to baby and child dentistry program to serve children with disabilities.
  • SSB 6129 – Concerning an ambulance transport quality assurance fee.
  • SSB 5970 – Establishing the mental health field response teams program.
  • SB 6491 – Increasing the availability of assisted outpatient behavioral health treatment.
  • SB 6573 – Establishing the capacity to purchase community long-term involuntary psychiatric treatment services through managed care.
  • SSB 6160 – Revising conditions under which a person is subject to exclusive adult jurisdiction and extending juvenile court jurisdiction over serious cases to age twenty-five.
  • SSB 6277 – Creating a graduated reentry program of partial confinement for certain offenders.
  • SB 6283 – Repealing an expiration date that affects state fire service mobilization.
  • SSB 6453 – Concerning legal support for kinship caregivers.
  • SB 6309 – Extending the timeline for completing a family assessment response.
  • SSB 6223 – Concerning equitable educational outcomes for vulnerable children and youth.
  • SSB 6502 – Concerning eligibility for the essential needs and housing support and the aged, blind, or disabled assistance programs.
  • SSB 6539 – Ensuring compliance with the state’s fiduciary duty in managing state trust lands.
  • SB 6109 – Concerning the International Wildland Urban Interface Code.
  • SSB 6413 – Reducing the use of certain toxic chemicals in firefighting activities.
  • SSB 6396 – Concerning the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging.
  • SSB 6268 – Creating the orca protection act.
  • SSB 6386 – Ensuring the funding of fairs.
  • SSB 6529 – Establishing a modernizing pesticide notification work group.
  • SSB 6199 – Concerning the consumer directed employer program.
  • SSB 6360 – Improving transition planning for students in special education who meet criteria for services from the developmental disabilities administration.
  • SSB 6101 – Establishing the evergreen free college act.
  • SSB 6262 – Establishing pilot programs to plan for the needs of certain college students experiencing homelessness.
  • SSB 6246 – Providing for approval of school district bonds by fifty-five percent of the voters voting.
  • SJR 8213 – Amending the Constitution to allow at least fifty-five percent of voters voting to authorize school district bonds.
  • SB 6480 – Concerning local government infrastructure
5 02, 2018

Rural broadband bill approved by Senate committee

February 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – A bill designed to expand access to broadband services in rural communities throughout the state was approved Thursday by the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee.

Senate Bill 5935, sponsored by Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, creates a new state Office on Broadband Access, launches an advisory group and directs it to identify barriers and opportunities for superfast Internet and 5G service. The measure also provides funding for immediate action on deployment. The measure is cosponsored by the committee’s chair, Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.

“Superfast broadband service is just around the corner, and we need to make sure rural communities are not left behind as new technologies are deployed,” Sheldon said. “Access to high-speed service is just as important in rural areas as it is in the state’s biggest urban markets. This legislation will help ensure everyone shares in the benefits high-speed service will provide.”

Carlyle added: “Everyone is in favor of high quality, affordable broadband but we continue to have too many small communities and rural areas without quality service. Sen. Sheldon has taken strong action to kick deployment of broadband into high gear for the 15 percent of our state population without service. I’m excited to partner together to get this important bill to the governor’s desk.”

The committee’s vote Thursday sends the bill to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

The new Office on Broadband Access, under the governor’s office, would coordinate public and private efforts for broadband access and deployment. It would develop goals for high-speed broadband service and identify underserved areas of the state. The legislation sets a target of at least 25 mbps download speed and 3 mbps upload speed, to be increased as technology advances.

The broadband office would establish a competitive grant program for local governments and tribes seeking to build broadband infrastructure in underserved areas of the state. Funding would come from existing taxes paid by telecommunications providers and federal grants. The office is directed to consider tax incentives for commercial providers deploying new technology in rural areas. The advisory group would make recommendations on a statewide rural broadband strategy.

Under the bill, the Kitsap County Public Utility District would be allowed to offer internet services where commercial services are inadequate or not available. Cities of more than 5,000 people would be required to develop ordinances setting standards for deployment of new small-cell technology, and generally would be barred from requiring land-use permits. The broadband office would develop a model ordinance for use by local governments.

Sheldon and Carlyle were recognized in December by the Association of Washington Cities for their work on the broadband issue. Sheldon noted the governor’s support for rural broadband efforts.

“All of us recognize the importance of broadband to this state’s economic development,” Sheldon said. “None of us want this state to be divided between internet ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ ”

28 01, 2018

Week 4: Youth homelessness, student loans, electric vehicles, law enforcement, net neutrality, ‘ban the box’ policies and more

January 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — As the midpoint of the 60-day session approaches, Senate Democrats continue to pass priority legislation with bipartisan support, including votes last week to help sick Hanford workers, reduce gun violence, and expand college opportunities for DREAMers. This week features hearings on youth homelessnessstudent loanselectric vehicleslaw enforcementnet neutrality‘ban the box’ policies, and many more issues. Policy committees also face a Friday deadline to move bills out. Any policy bill that doesn’t earn committee support by the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday is likely “dead” this session.

• Democratic leaders from the House and Senate will hold a press availability at 11 a.m. on Tuesday in the Senate Caucus Room.
• Possible floor action Wednesday-Friday.
• This is not a complete list of committees or agendas. It only includes items we think you might find of interest. Check the legislative website for complete agendas.
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Monday, Jan. 2

Health & Long Term Care 10 a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 1

SB 6273 – Concerning state charity care law. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.

Law & Justice 10 a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 4

SB 5970 – Establishing a pilot project for crisis intervention response teams composed of qualified law enforcement and mental health professionals to respond professionally, humanely, and safely to crisis involving people with mental health issues.

Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks 1:30 pm, Senate Hearing Rm 3

SB 6396 – Concerning the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging. 

Tuesday, Jan. 3

Financial Institutions & Insurance 8 a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 3

SJM 8002 – Requesting that Congress enact legislation that would reinstate the separation of commercial and investment banking functions that were in effect under the Glass-Steagall act.

SB 6400 – Concerning local authority to address affordable housing needs through regulation of rent and associated charges.

SB 6532 – Creating a Washington affordable housing tax credit program.

SB 6557 – Concerning sales, use, and excise tax exemptions for self-help housing development

Energy, Environment & Technology 10 a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 1

SB 6080 – Concerning the electrification of transportation.

SB 6098 – Reducing climate altering emissions from light duty vehicles

Health & Long Term Care 10 a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 2

SB 6157 – Regarding prior authorization. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.)

SB 6416 – Requiring the insurance commissioner to review a health carrier’s surplus levels in its rate filing review process.

SB 6470 – Concerning health carrier provider networks.

Human Services & Corrections 1:30 pm, Senate Hearing Rm 2

SB 6560 – Ensuring that no youth is discharged from a public system of care into homelessness SB 6566 – Concerning juvenile offenses

Ways & Means 3:30 pm, Senate Hearing Rm 4

SB 6110 – Prohibiting employers from asking about arrests or convictions before an applicant is determined otherwise qualified for a position. (Ban the box)

SSB 5689 – Establishing a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace.

SSB 6029 – Establishing a student loan bill of rights

Wednesday, Jan. 31 

Energy, Environment & Technology 8: a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 1

SB 6423 – Concerning the internet.

State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections 8 a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 2

SB 6075 – Concerning disclosure of contributors to online political advertising.

Labor & Commerce 1:30 p.m., Senate Hearing Rm 4

SB 6266 – Concerning loot boxes in online games and apps.

Friday, Feb. 2

State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections 8 a.m., Senate Hearing Rm 2

SB 5816 – Designating Sasquatch the official cryptid or crypto-animal of Washington.

24 01, 2018

Video: Conway honors fallen Deputy Daniel McCartney

January 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Watch Sen. Steve Conway’s remarks from the floor of the Washington Senate on Senate Resolution 8464 honoring Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney, who was killed in the line of duty on Jan. 8, 2018. The full text of Conway’s remarks appears below.

“Deputy Daniel Alexander McCartney was a dedicated public servant who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the people of Pierce County and, I might add, our state.

Deputy McCartney was many things. A devoted law enforcement officer who served Pierce County, and prior to that, the City of Hoquiam, with distinction. A decorated veteran who served with honor in our nation’s Navy. A loving husband to his wife, Cierra. A father to his three sons: Tytus, Tate and Traxton. A coach. A friend. A hero who gave his life doing his duty.

Our grief at his tragic loss – our sorrow for his wife and young sons, and for his family, friends and colleagues – is probably tempered only by our admiration for his selflessness and bravery in the face of danger.

Deputy McCartney had a profound impact on our community and his loss was felt deeply. Thousands lined the route of his funeral procession through Pierce County last week in solemn silence to pay their respects and to show their support for the McCartney family in this most difficult of times. Some 1,500 law enforcement [personnel] and firefighters – from across Washington and beyond, with some 650 patrol vehicles – rode with their fallen brother one last time as he set out on his final journey.

Abraham Lincoln, about 150 years ago, probably laid his finger on the sorrow that we all have in our hearts today, in a famous letter to Ms. Bixby, who had lost two sons in the Civil War. With your permission, madam president, I’d like to read.

‘I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.’

And I might add to that, ‘in service to our community.’

Deputy McCartney’s legacy lies in what he did. In the love he gave as a husband and father. In the fellowship he shared with others as a coach. In his selfless actions as a law enforcement officer. It also lies in who he was: a man guided by service to his community and faith in the almighty.

We are profoundly grateful to Deputy McCartney and to all of the brave men and women who protect our state as law enforcement officers, many of whow are in our galleries today.

We are similarly grateful to their families, particularly those who grieve the loss of a loved one. We mourn with them and seek to honor them with this tribute.”

Sen. Steve Conway presents the flag of the State of Washington to Cierra McCartney, widow of slain Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney.

Family members of slain Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney and representatives of Washington’s law enforcement community during a ceremony to honor Deputy McCartney in the Washington State Senate on Jan. 24, 2018.

An image of the badge of Deputy Daniel McCartney is displayed on the Senate floor during a ceremony to honor him with Senate Resolution 8464 on Jan. 24, 2018.
21 01, 2018

Week 3 Hot Topics: Women’s health, clean energy, death penalty, sexual harassment, protecting orcas, preventing oil spills, and more

January 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — Senate Democrats ended the second week of the 2018 session by passing a list of long-delayed priority legislation with bipartisan votes, including:

  • $4 billion capital construction budget (Passed the Senate 49-0)
  • Washington Voting Rights Act (29-19)
  • Same-day registration (29-20)
  • The DISCLOSE Act (32-17)
  • Breakfast After the Bell (40-8)
  • Protecting transgender students from bullying in school (30-18)
  • A ban on the so-called practice of “conversion therapy” (32-16)
  • Eliminating unfair credit “freeze” fees for consumers (46-2)

The third week will focus on more policies that put people first, led by package of bills aimed at improving health care access for women in Washington. The Senate will focus on the next steps in education funding, with a hearing in the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee on Monday afternoon. Other highlights this week include hearings on the death penalty, sexual harassment, clean energy, reducing gun violence, protecting orca whales, preventing oil spills, and many more.

Monday, Jan. 22

Health & Long Term Care, 10 am, Senate HR1

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 5912 – Concerning insurance coverage of tomosynthesis or three-dimensional mammography.
  2. SB 6102 – Enacting the employee reproductive choice act.
  3. SB 6105 – Enacting the reproductive health access for all act. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.)
  4. SB 6048 – Concerning the age of individuals at which sale or distribution of tobacco and vapor products may be made.
  5. SB 6026 – Prohibiting health carriers and pharmacy benefit managers from using contracts to prevent pharmacists from telling their customers about cheaper ways to buy prescription drugs. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.)

Law & Justice, 10 am, Senate HR4

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6052 – Reducing criminal justice expenses by eliminating the death penalty and instead requiring life imprisonment without possibility of release or parole as the sentence for aggravated first degree murder.

Early Learning & K-12 Education, 1:30 pm, Senate HR1

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6362 – Modifying basic education provisions.
  2. SB 6397 – Concerning public schools.

Human Services & Corrections, 1:30 pm, Senate HR2

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6467 – Concerning families in need of services.

Tuesday, Jan. 23

Financial Institutions & Insurance, 8 am, Senate HR3

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6371 – Concerning facilities financing by the housing finance commission.

Economic Development & International Trade, 8 am, Senate HR1

Work Session: Infrastructure and Broadband

Energy, Environment & Technology, 10 am, Senate HR1

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6253 – Establishing a clean, efficient, renewable energy standard.

Law & Justice, 10 am, Senate HR4

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6297 – Concerning provisions governing firearms possession by persons who have been found incompetent to stand trial and who have a history of one or more violent acts.
  2. SB 6298 – Adding domestic violence harassment to the list of offenses for which a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks, 1:30 pm, Senate HR3

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6268 – Creating the orca protection act.

Transportation, 3:30 pm, Senate HR1 Public Hearing:

  1. SB 5110 – Enhancing youth voter registration. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.)

Ways & Means, 3:30 pm, Senate HR4

Public Hearing:

  1. SSB 6086 – Protecting the state’s marine waters from the release of nonnative finfish from marine finfish aquaculture sites.

 Wednesday, Jan. 24

 State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections, 8 am, Senate HR2

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6193 – Concerning dates and timelines associated with the operation of the state primary and elections.

Energy, Environment & Technology, 8 am, Senate HR1

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6424 – Authorizing an alternative form of regulation of electrical and natural gas companies.

Labor & Commerce, 1:30 pm, Senate HR4

Public Hearing:

  1. SB 5996 – Encouraging the disclosure and discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.

Ways & Means, 3:30 pm, Senate HR4

Public Hearing:

  1. 2ESHB 1508 – Promoting student health and readiness through meal and nutrition programs. 

Thursday, Jan. 25

Higher Education & Workforce Development, 8 am, Senate HR2 Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6131 – Providing a tuition waiver for state residents who are members of a federally recognized Indian tribe.

Economic Development & International Trade, 8 am

Senate Full Committee Senate HR1 Work Session: The Future of Work.

Health & Long Term Care, 10 am, Senate HR2 Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6238 – Concerning long-term care services and supports.

Energy, Environment & Technology, 10 am, Senate HR1 Public Hearing:

  1. SB 6267 – Providing for an emergency response system that provides for an emergency response towing vessel.
  2. SB 6269 – Strengthening oil transportation safety.




21 01, 2018

#MeToo comes to Olympia as Senate hears sexual harassment bills

January 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|

The Senate Labor & Commerce Committee will hear three pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

When: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Senate Hearing Room 4.

Where you can watch it live: /www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018011337

Brief Summary:
·  Senate Bill 5996 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee, as a condition of employment, to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prevents the employee from disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault.
· Senate Bill 6313 addresses mandatory employment contracts and agreements that limit an employee’s right to file a complaint or cause of action for sexual harassment or sexual assault.
· Senate Bill 6471 relates to developing model policies to create workplaces that are safe from sexual harassment.

· Sen. Karen Keiser:
· “For a long time, women felt sexual harassment was something we had to deal with just to have careers. I want to make clear that sexual harassment will no longer be accepted, time is up, and we must make a change.

“There’s a burden of humiliation and fear of reprisal that intimidates victims from coming forward. These bills will provide a path forward for victims to report without fear of losing their jobs or suffering other forms of retaliation. We must no longer limit the economic and career potential of half of our population. We must demand that our workplace culture shifts to reflect our values of fairness and respect.”

18 01, 2018

Senate approves ban on credit freeze fees

January 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – The Senate today approved a bill to eliminate the fees that credit bureaus charge customers who want to freeze their credit reports to protect their personal information.

Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, sponsored Senate Bill 6018 in response to the major Equifax database hack last summer that exposed the private information of more than 143 million Americans.

“Consumers whose sensitive financial data has been exposed through no fault of their own shouldn’t have to pay to protect their credit ratings,” Mullet said. “I’m pleased that we’re taking real steps to help people protect themselves and their personal information by removing undue financial penalties.”

Following the Equifax hack, consumer watchdogs recommended that customers request credit freezes from credit reporting agencies to ensure that the stolen information could not be exploited. A freeze blocks access to a credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts using stolen data.

Credit reporting agencies charge Washington residents $10 to temporarily freeze their credit reports. But a consumer who needs to unfreeze the account to generate the credit report necessary to buy a car, take out a mortgage or open a bank account must pay the fee again to each agency, meaning that those who freeze and unfreeze reports with all three major agencies actually face some $60 in fees.

Mullet said that he would now urge the House of Representatives to pass the bill in a timely fashion to speed up the timeline of giving consumers relief from credit freeze fees.

16 01, 2018

Nelson: Spellman protected environment, ‘cared deeply for our state’

January 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson released the following statement after the death of former Gov. John Spellman.

“Gov. Spellman cared deeply for our state and devoted a large part of his life to serving the people, first in King County and then in the governor’s office.

“He led our state during a difficult financial time in the early 1980s and left his mark by working to strengthen local governments. He also recognized early on that the state had an important role to play in protecting the environment and the open spaces in our unique corner of the world.

“The Senate Democratic Caucus extends its deepest condolences to the entire Spellman family.”