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Tuesday May 22, 2018
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April 13, 2015
By April 15th, all bills unrelated to the budget must have passed both chambers or be considered "dead."  After the 15th attention focuses in earnest on budget negotiations.  The budget must be finalized by April 26th, or a special session will be necessary. During these last few days, the legislature also seeks to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of bills.  This is necessary before a bill can be sent to the Governor.
The Senate released its capital budget last week. Like the operating budget, the total amounts of the House and Senate versions are not that far apart, but the funds are allocated differently.  For example, the Senate capital budget allots $65 million for the Housing Trust Fund (HTF), while the House budget includes $80 million for the HTF. Both fall short of the $100 million sought by WSCC and housing advocates.

BILLS WSCC SUPPORTS

Farm Worker TrainingHB 1127 would fund training for agricultural workers to improve their skills and safety. The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved HB 1127 last week. The bill is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. Please call your Senator (1-800-562-6000) to support HB 1127.
Oil Transportation SafetyHB 1449 would create additional protections to prevent oil spills and improve rapid response to spills. The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved the bill last week. HB 1449 awaits a vote on the Senate floor.  Please call your Senator (1-800-562-6000) to support HB 1449.
Cesar Chavez DayHB 1560 would designate March 31st as Cesar Chavez Day in our state. The bill remains on the Senate floor calendar awaiting a vote by the entire Senate.  Please call your Senator (1-800-562-6000) to support HB 1560.
State Voting Rights ActHB 1745 would protect for minority groups the equal opportunity to participate in elections. HB 1745 remains in the Senate Rules Committee.  It must be voted out of the Rules Committee to the Senate floor before it can be voted on by the entire Senate.  Please call your Senator (1-800-562-6000) to support HB 1745.
Legal Financial Obligations - HB 1390 would enact reforms concerning Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) to make it easier for people who have served a prison sentence to reenter the community. HB 1390 is on the Senate floor calendar awaiting a vote.  The bill has been significantly modified from its original form, and many of the reforms have been removed.
Weatherization of Low-Income HousingHB 1720 aims to improve indoor air quality in homes undergoing weatherization owned by people with low incomes.  HB 1720 passed the Senate by a vote of 48 to 1.  
Homeless YouthSB 5404 would create an office to coordinate a spectrum of funding, policy, and practice efforts related to homeless youth. The House Appropriations Committee approved the bill on April 7th. The House passed SB 5404 by a vote of 71 to 26.
Human TraffickingSB 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 develop an anti-trafficking notice and require all establishments with public restrooms to prominently display the notice. The House passed SB 5884 by a nearly unanimous vote.

BILLS SUPPORTED BY WSCC
BUT CONSIDERED "DEAD" FOR THIS SESSION

WorkFirst ProgramHB 1875 would increase the amount of vocational training from 12 to 24 months for recipients of WorkFirst/TANF, subject to the amount appropriated. HB 1875 "died" in the Senate Ways and Means Committee without receiving a hearing.

BILLS WSCC OPPOSED

Payday LoansSB 5899 would have abolished payday loans by replacing them with consumer installment loans but the bill would not adequately protect consumers and low income families. The House General Government & Information Technology Committee did not vote on SB 5899 and so the bill is most likely "dead" for this session.
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.