Top Action of the Week:
This month will see the start of the budget discussion, contact your Senator and Representatives now and tell them to protect funding for the Take Charge family planning program. Without it, low-income women will face more unwanted pregnancies and the state will see an increase in Medicaid births, which could dramatically undercut our savings from health reform.
You can contact your legislators or committee chairs by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1 800-562-6000.
NOTE: Friday, March 1st was the deadline for passing bills out of the fiscal (or policy) committee. Next, bills go to Rules committees. Bills have to get out of Rules Committee and be passed by the house of origin before 5:00pm on Wednesday, March 13th. Bills that pass then begin the process again in the opposite house. The last day to consider bills in the opposite house is April 17th. The March revenue forecast is due on March 20th, which will have a big impact on legislation in terms of what can be funded.
Note: Committee members for House and Senate Committees are listed at the end of this alert.
Reproductive Parity Act
HB 1044 – the Reproductive Parity Act
This bill would ensure that women in WA State continue to have access to abortion coverage in the health insurance plans, as our state implements the Affordable Care Act.
Status: HB 1044 has passed out of the House and is now in the Senate Health Care Committee.
Action: Contact your Senator and tell them to keep the pressure on for a hearing and Senate passage of HB 1044, the Reproductive Parity Act.
Economic Supports for Low Income Individuals and Families
SB 5157 – Relating to Child Care
SSB 5157 This bill reinstates the requirement to cooperate with child support enforcement prior to receiving help with child care, a requirement the legislature removed just last session due to the havoc it played with childcare enrollment. It now imposes draconian rules that would remove a provider’s license if they received a second overpayment “they should have knowingly known they should not”.
Status: SB 5157 is currently on the Senate floor calendar.
Action: Contact your Senator and ask them to oppose SB 5157.
HB 1671 and SB 5595 – Relating to Child Care Reform
HB 1671 and SB 5595 increase the reimbursement rates paid to providers who serve low-income children from the Working Connections Child Care Program. Currently our state pays 85% of the rate that centers charge privately paying families. It would also reduce the copays to the 2010 levels and provide quality incentives to child care providers. A work group would be established to review and provide suggestions for improving the payment system, co-pays and licensing of childcare.
Status: Both bills passed out of their fiscal committees, with most of their funding pieces removed (as is typical) and are now in House and Senate Rules Committees.
Action: Contact your Senator and House members and ask them to vote YES on HB 1671 (House) and SB 5595 (Senate).
TANF – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
SB 5279 – Public Assistance Benefits
SSB 5279 seeks to reform aspects about how the TANF cash grant can be used. Specifically it would not allow it to be used for the purchase of marijuana, it was supposed to exclude medical marijuana, but does not yet do so. It would not allow the use of the benefits card to purchase alcohol etc.
Status: SSB 5279 is currently in the Rules Committee and is eligible to be placed on the Senate Floor Calendar.
Action: Contact your senator and ask them to vote NO on SB 5279 if it comes to the Senate floor.
HB 1342 – Work First “Work Activity”
HB 1342 would allow TANF recipients to attend a second year of college or Vocational/Technical School, thus making it much likely they can earn degrees that lead to employment. Currently, they are only allowed to participate for one year and have it count as an allowable activity and receive childcare assistance, thus few ever are able to earn their degrees.
Status: HB 1342 was not heard in the House Appropriations Committee. So it is DEAD.
HB 1734 – TANF 5 year limit exemptions.
HB 1734 would add exemptions to the five year life time TANF limits for residents of counties with an unemployment rate of over 10% or more, a parent who has a temporary mental or physical incapacity, a parent who is working 20 hours or more per week in unsubsidized employment, or parent who is functionally illiterate.
Status: HB 1734 was not heard in the House Appropriations Committee. So it is DEAD.
SB 5159 – Repealing the family and medical leave insurance act
SB 5159 would repeal our state’s paid family leave law, which would provide a modest weekly amount to families starting in October 2014 at the birth or adoption of a child, allowing lower income working families time to bond with their new child.
Status: SB 5159 is currently in the Rules Committee where it is eligible to be placed on calendar for a floor vote by the Senate
Action: Contact your senator and ask them to find a funding source for paid leave, and to vote NO on SB 5159.
HB 1457 – Implementing family and medical leave insurance
SB 5292 and HB 1457 would create a paid family leave system that covers all the aspects of our state and federal UNPAID family leave law and would fund the system by a modest monthly payment, split between the employer and employee.
Status: HB 1457 failed to pass out of the House Finance Committee. So it is DEAD.
HB 1313– Establishing minimum standards for sick and safe leave from employment
HB 1313 requires employers with more than four full-time equivalent employees to provide paid leave to employees for: (1) specified medical reasons relating to the employee’s or a family member’s health; (2) reasons permitted under existing law requiring unpaid leave for purposes related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking; or (3) closure of the employee’s place of business or child’s school or place of care due to specified public health emergencies.
Status: HB 1313 is in the House Rules Committee where it can be scheduled for a vote by the full House.
Action: Contact your members of the House and ask them to vote YES on HB 1313.
HB 1027 – Implementing changes to the child support schedule
Every 4 years the state is required to convene a workgroup to review the state’s child support laws. HB 1027 adopts a new child support economic table that does not differentiate amounts based on a child’s age, requires the standard calculation include consideration of “children not before the court”, amends the post secondary support statute require the court to consider grants/scholarships awarded to the child and clarifies low income limitations.
Status: HB 1027 is in the House Rules Committee where it can be scheduled for a vote by the full House.
Action: Contact your members of the House and ask them to vote YES on HB 1027.
HB 1922 – Concerning highway construction workforce development
HB 1922 would require the Washington State Department of Transportation of spend up 1.9 million dollars of Federal Highway funds on the recruitment and apprenticeship training of women and people of color.
Status: HB 1922 is in the House Rules Committee where it can be scheduled for a vote by the full House.
Action: Contact your members of the House and ask them to vote YES on HB 1922.
Violence Against Women
HB 1108 – Marital Rape
HB 1108 would add marital rape in the third degree to our current marital rape statutes. Currently, this crime cannot be charged and victims may have no other criminal recourse.
Status: HB 1108 Rules Committee where it can be scheduled for a vote by the full House.
Action: Contact your Representatives and ask them to support HB 1108, because all victims of rape deserve access to the criminal justice system.
SB 5175 and HB 1307– Clarifying sexual assault protection orders
SB 5175 and HB 1307 modify procedures governing sexual assault protection orders including permissible methods of service, the issuance and renewal of ex parte orders, and the modification or termination of orders.
Status: SB 5175 is the Senate Rules Committee where it is eligible to be placed on the calendar for a vote by the full Senate.
HB 1307 has passed out of the House and has been referred to the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee.
Action: contact your Senator and ask that they vote YES on SB 5175.
HB 1383 – Stalking Protection Orders
HB 1383 creates a stalking protection order as a remedy for victims who do not qualify for a domestic violence order of protection.
Status: HB 1383 is now in House Rules where it can be scheduled for a vote by the entire House.
Action: Contact your Representatives and ask them to support and vote YES on HB 1383.
HB 1413 –The Voting Rights Act
HB 1413 would allow a judicial remedy in local elections (city, county and school boards for example) where a pattern of racially polarized voting can be proven. There are several possible remedies the court could order, the most common of which is district based, rather than district wide, voting.
Status: HB 1413 is currently in the Rules Committee where it can be scheduled for a vote by the full House.
Action: Contact your Representatives and ask them to support HB 1413 with a YES vote this week.
SB 5077 – Gender based terms
Gender-specific terms and references are made gender-neutral in several RCW Titles. For example, references to his are changed to his or her and clergyman is changed to member of the clergy. Titles relating to public service are included and made gender-neutral throughout. Other code sections are included, such as sections that contain public health and safety regulations, to modify specific references to man or men.
Status: SB 5077 has passed the Senate on Friday February 8 and is in the House Judiciary Committee where it can be scheduled for a public hearing.
Ross Hunter (Chair), Timm Ormsby (Vice-Chair), Gary Alexander, Bruce Chandler, J.T. Wilcox, Vincent Buys, Reuven Carlyle, Eileen Cody, Cathy Dahlquist, Hans Dunshee, Susan Fagan, Tami Green, Kathy Haigh, Larry Haler, Paul Harris, Zach Hudgins, Sam Hunt, Laurie Jinkins, Ruth Kagi, Marcie Maxwell, Dawn Morrell, Kevin Parker, Jamie Pedersen, Eric Pettigrew, Liz Pike, Charles Ross, Joe Schmick, Larry Seaquist, Larry Springer, Pat Sullivan, and David Taylor
Early Learning and Human Services Committee:
Ruth Kagi (Chair), Roger Freeman (Vice Chair), Maureen Walsh, Elizabeth Scott, Jessyn Farrell, Roger Goodman, Drew MacEwen, Jason Overstreet, Mary Helen Roberts, David Sawyer, and Hans Zeiger
Government Operations and Elections Committee:
Sam Hunt (Chair), Sharon Wylie (Vice-Chair), Vincent Buys, David Taylor, Gary Alexander, Reuven Carlyle, Joe Fitzgibbon, Dan Christiansen, Matt Manweller, Tina Orwall, and Kevin Van De Wege
Reuven Carlyle (Chair), Steve Tharinger (Vice Chair), Terry Nealey, Ed Orcutt, Cary Condotta, Joe Fitzgibbon, Drew Hansen, Kristine Lytton, Gerry Pollet, Chris Reykdal, Larry Springer, Brandon Vick, and J.T. Wilcox
Health and Wellness Committee:
Eileen Cody (Chair), Laurie Jinkins (Vice Chair), Joe Schmick, Mike Hope, Jan Angel, Judy Clibborn, Tami Green, Paul Harris, Matt Manweller, Jim Moeller, Dawn Morrell, Marcus Riccelli, Jay Rodne, Charles Ross, Shelly Short, Steve Tharanger, and Kevin Van De Wege
Jamie Pedersen (Chair), Drew Hansen (Vice-Chair), Jay Rodne, Steve O’ban, Roger Goodman, Mike Hope, Laurie Jinkins, Steve Kirby, Brad Klippert, Terry Nealey, Tina Orwall, Mary Helen Roberts, and Matt Shea
Labor and Workforce Committee:
Mike Sells (Chair), Chris Reykdal (Vice-Chair), Matt Manweller, Cary Condatta, Tami Green, Jeff Holy, Jim Moeller, Timm Ormsby, & Shelly Short
Public Safety Committee:
Roger Goodman (Chair), Mary Helen Roberts (Vice Chair), Brad Klippert, Dave Hayes, Sherry Appleton, Jeff Holy, Mike Hope, Luis Moscoso, Eric Pettigrew, Charles Ross, and Dean Takko
Commerce & Labor Committee:
Janéa Holmquist Newbry (Chair), John Braun (Vice-Chair), Steve Conway, Bob Hasegawa, Mike Hewitt, Karen Keiser, and Curtis King
Health Care Committee:
Randi Becker (Chair), Bruce Dammeier (Vice Chair), Karen Keiser, Barbara Bailey, Annette Cleveland, Doug Ericksen, David Frockt, and Linda Evans Parlette
Human Services and Corrections Committee:
Mike Carrell (Chair), Kirk Pearson (Vice Chair), Jeanne Darneille, Michael Baumgartner, James Hargrove, Nick Harper, and Mike Padden
Law & Justice Committee:
Mike Padden (Chair), Mike Carrell (Vice Chair), Adam Kline, Jeannie Darneille, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Kirk Pearson, and Pam Roach
Hint: You can view bills by going to the following website and plug in the bill number for which you want to view the history and status: http://dlr.leg.wa.gov/billsummary/. Also, there is a pilot bill comment project: “Pilot Project for Commenting on Bills Online”. E-Comments is a feature the Legislature is testing during the 2013 Session. Once you search for a bill number you can click the button at the top of the bill history page, which allows you to send comments on that bill to the legislators who represent your district. The first time you comment you will be asked to set up an account with your e-mail address and a password of your choice.