18 02, 2019

Week 6: Legislature faces first cutoff

February 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — It’s day 36 of the 105-day session and the snow is finally melting away at the Capitol. It will be a busy week as lawmakers will be holding hearings on hundreds of bills ahead of the session’s first cutoff on Friday. Policy bills that do not pass out of committee by the end of the week cannot receive further consideration. (View cutoff calendar). Health care, preventing bullying, and tax fairness will be among the hot topics discussed in committee this week.

What to watch this week

HEALTH & LONG TERM CARE COMMITTEE
Monday, Feb. 18 @ 1:30 p.m.

The committee will hear SB 5526, which creates a public option health care plan; SB 5805, which protects threatened Obamacare mandates like preexisting conditions; and SB 5822, which establishes a pathway to universal health care in Washington.

EARLY LEARNING & K-12 EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Monday, Feb. 18 @  1:30 p.m.

The Senate will hold a hearing on SB 5689, which is designed to end bullying, harassment, intimidation and discrimination against transgender students in public schools.

HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, Feb. 19 @ 8 a.m.

Should collegiate athletes get paid? The Higher Education Committee will explore that issue when it hears SB 5875.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY
Tuesday, Feb. 19 @ 11 a.m.

Democratic leaders in the Senate and House will hold their weekly media availability in the Senate Majority Caucus room. 

HEALTH CARE COMMITTEE
Wednesday, Feb. 20 @ 1:30 p.m.

With the spread of measles on the rise, the Senate Health Care Committee will hear SB 5841, which will eliminate the personal/philosophical objection exemption to common vaccinations. A press conference will precede the hearing at 12:30 p.m. in JAC 211.

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE
Thursday, Feb. 21 @ 3:30 p.m.

SB 5810 will address inequities in our state’s tax structure and help give working families a leg up. The Working Families Tax Credit is a proven tool to increase family income, reduce child poverty and improve overall quality of life for low- and middle-income households.

Click here to access the entire schedule of Senate hearings.

13 02, 2019

Washington state’s expansion of voting rights to be discussed in Congress

February 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — Washington’s Secretary of State Kim Wyman is set to testify Thursday morning on HR 1, a measure sponsored by Congressional Democrats to strengthen and expand voting rights across the country.

HR 1, called the “For the People Act,” replicates many measures that were part of the Access to Democracy package passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2018.

In November 2017, Democrats in Washington state took control of the Legislature after five years of Republican control in the state senate. When Democrats took the gavels heading into the 2018 legislative session, they prioritized expanding voting rights for all Washingtonians. In other states where legislative control flipped back to Democrats, similar efforts have reversed years of Republican bills to limit voter access.

Prior to their passage here in Washington state, each of the Access to Democracy bills passed the Democratic-controlled House only to die in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Bills in the 2018 Access to Democracy package included:

  • Washington Voting Rights Act (SB 6002)
  • Automatic Voter Registration (HB 2595)
  • Disclosure of campaign spending by nonprofit organizations  (SB 5991)
  • Same Day Voter Registration (SB 6021)
  • 16 and 17-year old Pre-Registration (HB 1513)

Senate Democrats have continued the push to expand voting access in 2019. Already, the Native American Voting Rights Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support. In addition, a bill restoring the right to vote for the roughly 18,000 individuals on probation or parole and a bill to permanently provide prepaid postage for all elections are expected to pass the Senate in the coming days.

8 02, 2019

B.C. Premier to address Washington State Legislature

February 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate will welcome John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, to the Washington State Capitol on Friday. Horgan will deliver an address in the form of a joint session of the State House and Senate.

“B.C. and Washington State have a lot in common, and we know we are stronger when we work together,” said Premier Horgan. “Gov. Inslee and I are committed to act jointly together to fight climate change, increase connectivity and transportation links, grow the innovation economy and tech sector, grow mutually beneficial trade, and work to make life more affordable for people.”

Gov. Jay Inslee spoke about the need for the region to work together towards sustainability during a visit to Victoria in 2017 – the first time a Washington governor had delivered remarks in front of B.C. lawmakers since 1984.

In October, the two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to fight climate change, and improve digital connectivity and transportation links, among other common goals.

Washington exports more to B.C. than it does to all other provinces combined, and represents B.C.’s third largest international export market. As of 2018, British Columbia’s exports to Washington are nearly equal to the value of all the province’s exports to China.

7 02, 2019

Changes to deadly force law signed

February 7th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill on Jan. 4 to apply consensus revisions to Initiative 940 — a voter-passed measure that changed Washington’s laws regarding police use of deadly force.

The Spokesman Review wrote the following:

With a crowd of supporters so large that the ceremonial bill signing had to be moved to the state reception room, Gov. Jay Inslee put his name on changes to Initiative 940, which voters approved last November by nearly 60 percent.

Read the full story here.

4 02, 2019

Week 4: Early learning, orca habitat and expanding voting access

February 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Senate takes on critical issues as session moves into fourth week

OLYMPIA — The fourth week of the 105-day legislative session will begin with Gov. Jay Inslee signing House Bill 1064, the bipartisan compromise fix for Initiative 940. Senate committees will continue to hold hearings on orca habitat, early education, voting access, and more. 

Last week, the Senate held its first significant floor votes of the session, including the formal adoption of new rules that will protect people who work at the Capitol from inappropriate behavior. A measure that will move Washington’s presidential primary to the second Tuesday of March passed by 29-18 vote, giving voters here greater influence on our presidential election process. That bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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What to watch this week

BILL SIGNING, HOUSE BILL 1064
Monday, Feb. 4 @ 3:30 p.m.

Gov. Inslee will sign this modification to Initiative 940, which addresses police officer training and deadly force standards. 

EARLY LEARNING & K-12 COMMITTEE
Monday, Feb. 4 @ 1:30 p.m.

The Senate will consider SB 5437 which will expand access to early childhood education programs for vulnerable populations

MEDIA AVAILABILITY
Tuesday, Feb. 4 @ 11 a.m.

Democratic leaders from the Senate and House will meet with the media to provide an update on the legislative session.

LAW & JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Tuesday, Feb. 5 @ 10 a.m.

In October, the State Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty law, ruling it “arbitrary and racially biased.” Lawmakers will now consider SB 5339 to officially clear the law from the books.

AG & NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
Tuesday, Feb. 5 @ 1:30 p.m.

SB 5404 and SB 5580 would implement a more complete strategy for improving forage fish populations in our state’s waters (crucial for orca and salmon recovery), including habitat restoration efforts.

WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE
Tuesday, Feb. 5 @ 3:30 p.m.

The Senate’s fiscal committee will hold a hearing on legislation to make prepaid postage for ballots in Washington permanent (SB 5063).

K-12 EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, Feb. 6 @ 1:30 p.m.

SJR 8201 would amend the state constitution to allow a simple majority, rather than a 60 percent requirement, to authorize school district bonds.

LABOR & COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Thursday, Feb. 7 @ 8 a.m.

Lawmakers will hear testimony on SB 5438, a bill to clarify the state’s role in the H-2A temporary visa program that allows migrant workers to enter the United States in order to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work.

STATE GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
Friday, Feb. 8 @ 1:30 p.m.

Former Gov. Gary Locke returns for a discussion about the 2020 census. The committee will also hold a public hearing on three bills (SB 5139, SB 5140, SB 5250) that concern daylight savings time. 

JOINT LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Friday, Feb. 8 @12:15 p.m.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan will address a joint session of the House and Senate.

Click here to access the entire schedule of Senate hearings.

30 01, 2019

Presidential primary bill passes out of Senate

January 30th, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — A measure to make Washington’s presidential primary process more accessible and relevant passed out of the state Senate today on a 29-18 vote.

Senate Bill 5273, sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia), would move Washington’s presidential primary to the second Tuesday in March. California, Texas, Massachusetts, Alabama and seven other states have primaries and caucuses scheduled for the first Tuesday in March.

“A new presidential primary system would allow for greater voter participation, expanding Washingtonians’ access to democracy,” Hunt said. “It will provide Washington voters with an easy and effective way to participate in the nomination of the next president.”

Voting earlier in the election cycle would increase Washington’s influence in the presidential nominating process. Hunt’s bill would also require voters to voice their preferences through the state’s vote-by-mail system–every voter will receive ballots.

An earlier date will make the presidential primary meaningful. It will increase participation. The bill will enable the major political parties to use primary election results instead of caucuses to allocate Washington’s national convention votes to nominate presidential and vice presidential candidates.

The presidential primary came to the Legislature in 1989 as Initiative 99 with nearly 203,000 signatures and was enacted by the House and Senate.

SB 5273 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

30 01, 2019

Frockt applauds passage of I-940 update

January 30th, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Senate today unanimously passed legislation that would update Initiative 940, a voter initiative that updated Washington’s deadly force statute.

House Bill 1064 applies a set of consensus revisions to the initiative, which was enacted by voters in the November election.

Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) has long been a leader in Washington’s efforts to update the state’s deadly force statute.  He sponsored the Senate companion legislation to HB 1064 and served on the Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force.

“The agreement reached between law enforcement groups and DeEscalate Washington is one of the most profound and important agreements I have seen since my time in Olympia,” Frockt said. “For years, we worked to find common ground and to find a solution that will prioritize the safety of all Washingtonians.”

“No one is above the law, and no one is beneath the protection of the law. This bill acknowledges both these realities.”

Having passed the state House of Representatives on Jan. 24, the bill now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee to be signed into law.

29 01, 2019

State Senate expands remote testimony program

January 29th, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate has approved a bipartisan proposal from Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) and Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) to make permanent and expand a program that further opens public access to state government by allowing remote video testimony in legislative hearings.

In recent years, a Senate pilot project developed a system enabling people across the state to testify over high-speed internet connections for a limited number of committee hearings. The proposal approved on Tuesday by the Senate Facilities & Operations Committee will make this system permanent and expand its use.

In addition to the existing program becoming permanent, it will expand this year. Starting in 2019, the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee will become the first legislative panel to offer remote testimony for every hearing.

“Technology offers us an opportunity to open up the doors of government to more people across the state,” said Billig. “Everyone should feel like they can have their voice heard in Olympia, regardless of where you live.”

The proposal also calls for further study to identify the next steps in the program’s expansion.

In 2018, remote testimony was used in 21 hearings. There are now 16 available sites throughout the state offering remote connections. People have testified remotely from cities such as Ellensburg, Pasco, Spokane, Wenatchee and Walla Walla.

“Our democracy is stronger when more people are involved, and this offers another method to weigh in on pertinent issues without driving to Olympia,” Billig said.

Available remote testimony sites:

Bellevue College: Bellevue
Bellingham Technical College
Central Washington University
Clark College (Vancouver)
Columbia Basin College (Pasco)
Confluence Technology Center (Wenatchee)
Everett Community College
North Eastern Washington ESD (Spokane)
Peninsula College (Port Angeles)
Skagit Valley College (Mt. Vernon)
Spokane Community College Newport
Spokane Community College
Spokane Falls Community College
Walla Walla Community College
Washington State University – Spokane
Wenatchee Valley College

28 01, 2019

Week 3: Homelessness, school safety, affordable medicine, climate change

January 28th, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — The third week of the 2019 session begins with hearings Monday focused on addressing the youth homelessness crisis. Senate Democrats will also focus on school safety, prescription drug prices, oil train safety, voting rights and climate change. The Senate is also scheduled to take its first significant floor votes of the session on Wednesday.

Media Contacts for Senators / Follow Us / Like Us / Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Gun safety bills draw a crowd

Improving public safety from gun violence was the focus of a hearing in the Law & Justice Committee that drew more than 1,300 people last Monday. Legislation that would place restrictions on undetectable, 3D printed firearms, a ban on high capacity magazines, stricter regulations on firearms used in domestic violence cases and training requirements for people acquiring a concealed weapon permit all were voted out of committee last week.

What to watch this week

HOUSING COMMITTEE

Monday, Jan. 28 @ 1:30 p.m.

The committee will hear bills to prevent families and children entering homelessness by expanding services provided by the Office of Homeless Youth (SB 5470) and strengthening protections for renters facing eviction (SB 5600).

HEALTH CARE COMMITTEE

Monday, Jan. 28 @ 1:30 p.m.

The Senate will consider two proposals to increase drug price transparency. (SB 5292, SB 5251)

MEDIA AVAILABILITY

Tuesday, Jan. 29 @ 11 a.m.

Democratic leaders from the Senate and House will meet with the media to provide an update on the legislative session.

SCHOOL SAFETY PRESS CONFERENCE

Tuesday, Jan. 29 @ 12:30 p.m. (HHR A)

Senate and House Democrats as well as advocates for safe schools, including Alissa Parker, founder of Safe and Sound Schools, will discuss bills to address student mental health, youth suicide prevention, and access to counselors.

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Tuesday, Jan. 29 @ 10 a.m.

New legislation (SB 5579) will be introduced to increase public safety and reduce the risk posed by highly flammable Bakken crude oil being shipped by rail through communities across the state.

AG & NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE

Tuesday, Jan. 29 @ 1:30 p.m.

The Senate will hear a proposal to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the exploration for and production of oil and natural gas in Washington state. (SB 5145

STATE GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE

Wednesday, Jan. 30 @ 8 a.m.

Lawmakers will hear testimony on a bill to restore voting rights for Washingtonians in community custody who don’t violate terms of their sentence. (SB 5076)

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Wednesday, Jan. 30 @ 8 a.m.

Lawmakers will hear testimony on Clean Fuel Standards legislation (SB 5412), one of the most significant measures in the Legislature this year aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

Click here to access the entire schedule of Senate hearings.

25 01, 2019

The Everblue State: Sen. Patty Kuderer talk plastics, Tobacco 21 and more

January 25th, 2019|Uncategorized|

For this episode of the Everblue State, we spoke with Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue). She represents the 48th District, serves as the assistant floor leader, and chairs the newly formed Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee.

This year, she’s passionate about a bill that would help Washington reduce its dependence on single-use plastics. Her proposed straw ban takes a different approach than Seattle’s, and was brought to her by high school students. Read more about Senate Bill 5077 here.

She’s also working to raise Washington’s smoking age to 21 through Senate Bill 5057. You can learn more about that bill here.

She has a bill that would ban large capacity magazines — the favorite of mass shooters. You can find more on Senate Bill 5062 here.