Articles
Sunday February 25, 2018
English Chinese (Simplified) Filipino French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

A big THANK YOU to the 650 advocates who participated in Catholic Advocacy Day last Thursday, March 26, it was a remarkable success! The next Catholic Advocacy Day is scheduled for February 8, 2016.  

The House Democrats unveiled their operating budget HB 1106 on Friday, March 27. The budget will fund the state for the next two fiscal years, starting July 1, 2015. The House operating budget calls for spending $39 billion over the next two years, an increase of 15.7% over the current operating budget of $33.8 billion.  The majority of the spending increase would go to K-12 public schools. The House Democrats also released a proposed revenue package, HB 2224, that includes a capital gains tax and the closing of seven tax loopholes. The Senate will release its operating budget this week. The House and Senate must reconcile their budgets, before passing one and sending it to the Governor for his consideration and signature.

Most observers consider that the legislature will not be able to pass a budget before the end of the regular session on April 26th. If that happens, the Governor will need to call a special session. The legislature must approve a budget before the end of June to avoid a government shutdown.

If policy bills did not pass out of their committees in the opposite House by 5:00 p.m.on Wednesday, April 1st, they were considered "dead" for this legislative session.

BILLS WSCC SUPPORTS

Flame Retardants (HB 1174) - The House passed HB 1174 that would decrease children's exposure to toxic chemicals.  The Senate Energy and Environment & Telecommunications Committee heard HB 1174 two weeks ago. 

Breakfast After the Bell (HB 1295) - This legislation would require high-needs schools to offer breakfast after the beginning of the school day. The Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee held a hearing on HB 1295 on March 16th.

Minimum Wage (HB 1355) - HB 1355 would raise the minimum wage to $12 over four years.  The Senate Commerce & Labor Committee heard HB 1355 on March 30th.

Farm Worker Training (HB 1127) - This bill would fund training for agricultural workers to improve their skills and safety.  The Senate Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development Committee heard HB 1127 two weeks ago.  No committee vote is scheduled.

Human Trafficking (HB 1139 / SB 5884) - HB 1139 would establish a working group to study the trafficking of youth.  The Senate Law & Justice Committee has yet to schedule a hearing on HB 1139SB 5884 would create the Washington State Clearinghouse on Human Trafficking to share and coordinate statewide efforts to combat the trafficking of persons. The bill would also direct the state to develop an anti-trafficking notice and require all establishments with public restrooms to prominently display the notice. The House Public Safety Committee voted and passed SB 5884 on March 26th.  The bill is now in the General Government & Information Technology Committee.

Legal Financial Obligations (HB 1390) - This bill would enact several reforms concerning Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) to make it easier for people who have served a prison sentence to reenter the community. The Senate Law & Justice Committee heard HB 1390 on March 30th, but no vote has been scheduled.  This issue is funded in the House Budget, so the bill may be considered necessary to implement the budget. 

Homeless Youth (SB 5404) - SB 5404 would create an Office of Homeless Youth Programs to coordinate a spectrum of funding, policy, and practice efforts related to homeless youth. The House Early Learning & Human Services Committee passed the bill and it is now in the Appropriations Committee.  It must be voted out of the Appropriations Committee by April 7th.

Oil Transportation Safety (HB 1449) - HB 1449 would create additional protections to prevent oil spills and require improvements in preparation for rapid response to spills. The Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee is scheduled to vote on HB 1449 on March 31st.  

Cesar Chavez Day (HB 1560) - This bill would designate March 31st as Cesar Chavez Day in our state, though it would not be considered a legal holiday. The bill has been voted out of committee and is on the floor calendar in the Senate ready for a vote by the entire Senate.

Weatherization of Low-Income Housing (HB 1720) - HB 1720 would expand services for low income residents allowing for healthy housing improvements to homes undergoing weatherization, as many of these homes have serious indoor environmental problems.  Last week, the Senate Human Services and Mental Health & Housing Committee passed HB 1720, and the bill is in the Senate Rules Committee.  

State Voting Rights Act (HB 1745) - This bill would protect the equal opportunity to participate in elections for minority groups. The Senate Government Operations & Security Committee heard HB 1745 on March 30th.  No committee vote is scheduled.

WorkFirst Program (HB 1875) - HB 1875 would increase the amount of vocational training from 12 to 24 months for recipients of WorkFirst/TANF, subject to the amount appropriated. Extending the time limit to 24 months would afford many students, for example nursing students, to complete their programs. The Senate Human Services and Mental Health & Housing Committee voted HB 1875 out of committee on March 30th.

Informed Consent and Assisted Suicide (SB 5919) - Currently, the law requires physicians to inform patients requesting a lethal dose of medication about feasible alternatives including comfort care, hospice and pain control. SB 5919 would add "treatment for the purpose of cure, and treatment for the purpose of extending the patient's life" to the list of information patients should receive. The House Health Care & Wellness Committee heard SB 5919 on March 20th.  No committee vote is scheduled. 

BILLS WSCC OPPOSES 

Payday Loan (SB 5899) - SB 5899 would abolish payday loans by replacing them with consumer installment loans. SB 5899 would not adequately protect consumers and low income families. The House Business & Financial Services Committee passed SB 5899 on March 25th.  

Click here to view previous WSCC advocacy bulletins.  Click here to view this bulletin on the WSCC website.

The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Bishops of Washington State.