WA State NOW Legislative Alert for April 23, 2017

Today, April 23rd officially marks the last day of this year’s 105-day session. During a press conference on Friday, April 21st, Governor Inslee announced he will convene a special session, calling members back to the Legislature on Monday, April 24th for another 30 days of budget negotiations.

While it is unfortunate that members from both chambers have not reached agreement on a budget that increases revenue and meets the obligations of the McCleary Decision, this outcome is not surprising as many members and people familiar with the legislature have long predicted a special session (or two) would be needed to reach an agreement.

With more time the clock, it is essential that we keep the pressure up, letting the representatives in Olympia know that increasing revenue, restructuring our regressive tax system, and investing in vital support services are critical to supporting the health of our communities, families, women and girls.

Legislative alerts may not be weekly during this special session. As soon as there are serious budget proposals out of Olympia you will hear from us. The legislature must come up with an operating budget before the end of the biennium (June 30) and come up with a plan to fully fund education as required by the McCleary decision. There are indications that there have been some preliminary discussions about education funding, although no specifics are available because the negotiations go on behind closed doors.

Last Minute Passage of HB 1543- Termination of Parental Rights in Cases of Sexual Assault.

In a surprising last-minute twist on Thursday, the Senate passed an amended version of HB 1543, which creates a court process under the Uniform Parentage Act to restrict parental rights and establish child support obligations in cases where the child was conceived as the result of a sexual assault. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and was approved by the House on Friday. It is now on its way to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The amendments made by the Senate this week:
• Limit the definition of “sexual assault” to nonconsensual sexual penetration that results in pregnancy (rather than the previous language, “is capable of causing” pregnancy)
• Provides that a pleading alleging that a child was born as the result of a sexual assault must be filed no later than 4 years after the birth of a child, though exceptions are provided
• Removes a requirement that a fact-finding hearing be held within 60 days of the filing
• Removes provisions governing the admissibility of evidence in the fact-finding hearing relating to the prior sexual activity of the victim
• Removes the intent language within the legislation

This bill was a top priority for NOW this session, and its success belongs to everyone who called in, testified, and wrote to their elected officials about the importance of this legislation.

Special Session Surprises?

Family and Medical Leave Insurance Policy

Athough HB 1116 and its companion SB 5032 did not advance early on this session, a small group of dedicated stakeholders have been working to develop a final proposal that could be included in the final budget. This is great news and means that family and medical leave insurance may still be passed in Washington State and will continue to be a part of ongoing negotiations during special session.

Use of Deadly Force

It appears that lawmakers have also not ruled out changing Washington’s unique law that protects police who kill in the line of duty from criminal prosecution. Some members are still working to strike a balance between the two policy approaches that were brought forward this year.

Top ACTION for the Week:

If you can only do one thing this week contact your Representatives and Senator and request that they support a healthy revenue package by supporting HB 2186!
Revenue generating proposals in House Bill 2186 include:
Restructure of the current real estate excise tax (REET) so families that buy homes costing less than $250,000 pay less tax and those that pay more than a million dollars for a home pay more tax (generates $420 million)
Create a capital gains tax on corporate stocks, bonds, investment property and other high-end financial assets. The tax rate proposal is 7% on capital gains worth more than 25K for a single person and 50K for two people (generates $715 million)
Collect a sales tax on items bought through the Internet from out of state retailers (generates $341 million)
Restructure our Business and Occupation tax rates so that small business pay less and big profitable businesses pay more. In fact, HB 2186 eliminates the Business & Occupation (B&O) tax on the smallest 72% of Washington businesses, and offsetting this tax relief with increases to the highest-income companies and individuals (generates $1.2 billion).
Close tax loopholes and remove out of date tax breaks (generates $137 million)
It’s important that we let our law makers know that we support this package in HB 2186 and urge them to “vote yes” on the floor. Now is the time.
Without the revenue generated in HB 2186, it is not possible to make the needed investments for our women and families in Washington.
You can learn more about the House budget proposal here.

Surprising Updates to Celebrate:

While some of our top priorities did not pass out of the Senate this week, and are therefore “dead” for session, we have some exciting highlights about bills that did pass- and with overwhelming (and surprising) majority of support. These bills are now headed to the Governor’s office for signature.

Contact Governor Inslee at http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message and ask him to sign the following bills into law:

HB 1234- Addressing private health plan coverage of contraceptives
Requires a health benefit plan that includes coverage for contraceptive drugs to provide reimbursement for a twelve-month refill of contraceptive drugs obtained at one time by the enrollee.
Passed the Senate floor on April 12th- Vote: 48-1

HB 1109- Supporting Victims of Sexual Assault (the SAFE task force bill)
Creates the Washington sexual assault initiative pilot project within the office of the attorney general to provide funding to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in seeking a just resolution to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously un-submitted sexual assault kits. Creates the joint legislative task force on sexual assault forensic examination best practices to: (1) Review best practice models for managing all aspects of sexual assault examinations; and (2) Reduce the number of untested sexual assault examination kits that were collected. Requires the criminal justice training commission to provide training for persons responsible for investigating sexual assault cases involving adult victims.
Passed the Senate floor on April 11- Vote: 49-0

SB 5835- Providing reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant women. (This bill is the same policy as put forward in HB 1796, which was a NOW priority from day one.)
Addresses reasonable accommodations for Pregnant workers. This bill is the strongest bill for protecting pregnant workers and includes: A flexible definition of “reasonable accommodation” to meet the needs of every pregnant worker; will provide several new protections for tens of thousands of pregnant women in Washington workplaces, including more frequent restroom breaks, readily accessible drinking water, food and seating, and scheduling flexibility for prenatal doctors’ visits. The legislation also imposes evidence-based lifting limits and manual labor accommodations, applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and establishes the Healthy Pregnancy Advisory Committee tasked with developing strategies for improving maternal and infant health outcomes.
Passed the Senate floor on March 8th- Vote: 48-0 and Passed the House floor on April 10- Vote: 98-0

SB 5030- Concerning Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor.
Addresses the statute of limitations for trafficking, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, and promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor.
Passed the House floor on April 6th- Vote: 97-0

SB 5256- Concerning sexual assault protection orders.
Addresses the duration and renewal of an ex parte order regarding sexual assault protection and allows a process for victim to extend, renew, or make permanent a sexual assault protection order.
Passed the House floor on April 6th- Vote: 75-22

Bills That Did Not Advance This Year:

HB 1265 and SB 5093 Providing tax relief to females by exempting feminine hygiene products from retail sales and use tax.
Provide a sales and use tax exemption on feminine hygiene products. With this bill he legislature finds that feminine hygiene products are a necessity for most females in the state. Taxing a necessary feminine hygiene product unjustly adds an additional tax burden on females that creates a tax gap between genders, requiring females to potentially pay more of their income to state taxes. The legislature further finds that taxing feminine hygiene products adds to the regressive tax burden on low-income families. The legislature further finds that feminine hygiene products are not a discretionary purchase; they are a necessity for which there is no alternative for females to maintain proper health and hygiene.

HB 1482 – Establishing the legislative-executive WorkFirst poverty reduction oversight task force.
Creates the legislative-executive WorkFirst poverty reduction oversight task force to, among other responsibilities: (1) Reduce the overall percentage of people living below two hundred percent of the federal poverty level; (2) Prevent and address adverse childhood experiences and the trauma of children who are living in poverty; and (3) Direct the department of social and health services to develop a five-year plan and a ten-year plan to address intergenerational poverty. Creates the intergenerational poverty advisory committee to assist the task force. Authorizes the department of social and health services to establish and maintain a system to track intergenerational poverty.

HB 1523 Requiring health plans to cover, with no cost sharing, all preventive services required to be covered under federal law as of December 31, 2016.
Requires a health plan to provide health care coverage for the same preventive services required to be covered under: (1) 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300gg-13 (2016); and (2) Federal rules or guidance in effect on December 31, 2016, implementing 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300gg-13 (ie the Affordable Care Act).

HB 1566- Concerning the definition of work activity for the purposes of the WorkFirst program.
Revises the definition of “work activity” for purposes of the WorkFirst temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program to change the amount of vocational training time, from twelve months to twenty-four months, to qualify as work activity.

HB 1671- Concerning assistance with activities of daily living.
Expands the definition of “activities of daily living,” for purposes of assisted living facilities requirements, to include self-care activities related to personal care.

HB 1758 concerning the business of child care.
Requires the department of early learning to contract with a nonprofit entity that provides quality improvement services to participants in the early achiever’s program to develop a community-based training module for licensed child care providers. Requires the module to include a pilot program for shared services in at least one community to support high-quality program implementation. Creates the child care workforce and business development work group to address improving the stability of the early learning workforce and sustaining and expanding access to high-quality care. Requires the workforce training and education coordinating board, at the next update of the state comprehensive plan for workforce training and education, to specifically assess the need for early learning providers

HB 1789- Sentencing Laws and Practices
Creates the community review board within the office of the governor to review incarcerated offenders for possible early release after twenty years of confinement. Authorizes an offender, convicted of and incarcerated for one or more crimes, to petition the community review board for early release after serving at least twenty years of total confinement. Requires the governor to review each decision of the community review board to approve or deny a petition for release. Requires the sentencing guidelines commission to contract for the services of an external consultant to evaluate the state’s sentencing laws and practices.

HB 1715 Addressing meal and rest breaks and mandatory overtime for certain health care employees.
Addresses meals and rest periods for licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, surgical technologists, diagnostic radiologic technologists, cardiovascular invasive specialists, respiratory care practitioners, and certified nursing assistants. Prohibits an employer from:
(1) Using prescheduled on-call time to fill chronic or foreseeable staff shortages; and
(2) Scheduling nonemergency procedures that would require overtime.

HB 1800 Enacting the Washington voting rights act of 2017
Establishes in law that no method of election may be imposed or applied in a manner that impairs the ability of members of a protected class to have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice or an equal opportunity to influence the outcome of an election as a result of the dilution or abridgment of the rights of voters who are members of a protected class. The Voting Rights Act promotes equal voting opportunities by authorizing district-based elections, requiring redistricting and new elections in certain circumstances and establishes a cause of action to redress lack of voter activity. This is very similar to the Voting Rights Act that WA State NOW has supported for the last four years.

HB 1956 & SB 5308 Limiting disclosure of information about the religious affiliation of individuals.
Prohibits a state agency from providing or disclosing to federal authorities personal information regarding the religious affiliation of any individual that is requested for the purpose of compiling a database of individuals based solely on religious affiliation.

HB 2007- Making provisions to commemorate the centennial of national women’s suffrage.
Requires the Washington women’s history consortium to: (1) Provide leadership for a 2020 statewide commemoration of the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (women’s right to vote); (2) Begin preparations for the statewide commemoration; (3) Create and distribute a portfolio of public humanities programs to engage the citizens with important aspects of the women’s right to vote movement; (4) Encourage pri-vate organizations and local governments to organize and participate in activities; and (5) Ad-minister a grant program for certain public agencies, educational institutions, and organizations to assist with the activities.

SB 5479 – Establishing a shared parental leave program.
Creates the Washington state parental leave sharing program to permit state employees to provide annual leave, sick leave, or personal holidays to their spouse or domestic partner who both work for the state to share leave for the purposes of childcare.

SJM 8001 Calling on Congress to exercise its authority under Article V of the United States Constitution to regulate money spent on elections.
SJM 8001 is a petition from the state legislature to the US Congress and the US President to pass a US Constitutional Amendment to return to the US Congress and the state legislatures
• The ability to regulate the size and timing of contributions to election campaigns, and
• The authority to distinguish between natural persons and artificial entities created by law and prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence campaigns, and
• To require timely public disclosure of source and amount of all contributions.

You can contact your legislators by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1 800-562-6000. You can also contact them by e-mail using this format: firstname.lastname@leg.wa.gov. If you need to look up your legislators, use the following link to find them: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Note: Committee members for House and Senate Committees are listed below.

Appropriations Committee:
Timm Ormsby (Chair), June Robinson (Vice Chair), Bruce Chandler, Drew MacEen, Drew Stokesbary, Steve Berquist, Vincent Buys, Michelle Caldier, Eileen Cody, Cary Condatta, Joe Fitzgibbon, Larry Haler, Drew Hansen, Paul Harris, Zack Hudgins, Laurie Jinkins, Ruth Kagi, Kristine Lytton, Matt, Manweller, Terry Nealey, Eric Pettigrew, Gerry Pollet, David Sawyer, Joe Schmick, Tana Senn, Larry Springer, Derek Stanford, Pat Sullivan, David Taylor, Stever Tharinger, Brandon Vick, Mike Volz, and J.T. Wilcox

Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee:
Cindy Ryu (Chair), Nicole Macri (Vice Chair), Gina McCabe, Andrew Barkis, Bill Jenkin, Kristine Reeves, and David Sawyer

Early Learning and Human Services Committee:
Ruth Kagi (Chair), Tana Senn (Vice Chair), Tom Dent, Joyce McDonald, Noel Frame, Roger Goodman, Dan Griffey, Christine Kilduff, Brad Klippert, John Lovick, Bob McCaslin, Dick Muri, and Lillian Ortiz-Self

Environment Committee:
Joe Fitzgibbon (Chair), Storm Peterson (Vice Chair), David Taylor, Jacquelin Maycumber, Vincent Buys, Mary Dye, Jake Fey, Ruth Kagi, and Joan McBride

Finance Committee:
Kristine Lytton (Chair), Noel Frame (Vice Chair), Terry Nealey, Ed Orcutt, Cary Condotta, Laurie Dolan, Gerry Pollet, Larry Springer, Drew Stokesbary, J.T. Wilcox, and Sharon Wylie

Health Care and Wellness Committee:
Eileen Cody (Chair), Nicole Macri (Vice Chair), Joe Schmick, Paul Graves, Michelle Caldier, Judy Clibborn, Richard Debolt, Paul Harris, Laurie Jinkins, Marcus Riccelli, June Robinson, Jay Rodne, Shelly Short, Monica Juarado Stonier, and Steve Tharinger

Higher Education Committee:
Drew Hansen (Chair), Gerry Pollet (Vice Chair), Jeff Holy, Louanne Van Werven, Larry Haler, Tina Orwall, Mike Sells, Melanie Stambaugh, and Gael Tarleton

Judiciary Committee
Laurie Jinkins (Chair), Christine Kilduff (Vice Chair), Jay Rodne, Dick Muri, Roger Goodman, Paul Graves, Larry Haler, Drew Hansen, Steve Kirby, Brad Klippert, Tina Orwall and Matt Shea

Labor and Workplace Standards Committee:
Mike Sells (Chair), Mia Gregorson (Vice-Chair), Matt Manweller, Graham Hunt, Gina McCabe, Jim Moeller, and Timm Ormsby

Public Safety Committee:
Roger Goodman (Chair), Tina Orwall (Vice Chair), Matt Manweller, Gina McCabe, Beth Doglio, Noel Frame, and Liz Pike

Rules Committee:
Frank Chopp (Chair), Dan Kristiansen, Joel Kretz, Steve Berquist, Jessyn Farrell, Mark Hargrove, Mark Harmsworth, Jeff Holy, Norm Johnson, John Koster, Vicki Kraft, John Lovick, Joan McBride, Joyce McDonald, Tina Orwall, Eric Pettigrew, Marcus Riccelli, Shelly Short, Larry Springer, Derek Stanford, Monica Juado Stonier, Pat Sullivan, Gael Taleton, J.T. Wilcox, and Sharon Wylie

State Government Committee:
Zach Hudgins (Chair), John Koster, Mike Volz, Sherry Appleton, Laurie Dolan, Morgan Irwin, Vicki Kraft, and Mike Pelliciotti

Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee:
Michael Baumgartner (Chair), John Braun (Vice Chair), Steve Conway, Bob Hasegawa, Karen Keiser, Curtis King, Dino Rossi, Rebecca Saldaña, and Lynda Wilson

Early Learning and K-12 Committee:
Ann Rivers (Chair), Joe Fain (Vice Chair), Andy Billig, Mark Mullet, Christine Rolfes, Judy Warnick, and Hans Zeiger

Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee:
Doug Ericksen (Chair), Tim Sheldon (Vice Chair), Reuven Carlyle, Sharon Brown, Steve Hobbs, Jim Honeyford, Kevin Ranker, Shelly Short, and Lisa Wellman

Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee:
Jan Angel (Chair), Joe Fain (Vice Chair), Doug Ericsen, Phil Fortunato, Steve Hobbs, Patty Kuderer, and Mark Mullet

Health Care Committee:
Ann Rivers (Chair), Randi Becker (Vice Chair), Barbara Bailey, Michael Baumgartner, Annette Cleveland, Steve Conway, Joe Fain, Karen Keiser, Patty Kuderer, Mark Miloscia, Mark Mullet, Steve O’Ban, and Maureen Walsh

Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee:
Steve O’Ban (Chair), Mark Miloscia (Vice Chair), Reuven Carlyle, Jeannie Darneille, Sam Hunt, Mike Pad-den, and Maureen Walsh

Law & Justice Committee:
Mike Padden (Chair), Steve O’Ban (Vice Chair), Jeannie Darneille, David Frockt, Jamie Pedersen, and Lynda Wilson

Rules Committee:
Cyrus Habib (Chair), Barbara Bailey, Randi Becker, Andy Billig, John Braun, Maralyn Chase, Annette Cleveland, Doug Ericksen, Joe Fain, Bob Hasegawa, Jim Honeyford, Curtis King, Marko Liias, John McCoy, Mark Miloscia, Sharon Nelson, Steve O’Ban, Kirk Pearson, Ann Rivers, Mark Schoesler, and Tim Sheldon

State Government Committee:
Mark Miloscia (Chair), Sam Hunt, Patty Kuderer, Kirk Pearson, and Hans Zeiger

Ways & Means Committee:
John Braun (Chair), Sharon Brown (Vice Chair), Jim Honeyford (Vice Chair), Barbara Bailey, Randi Becker, Andy Billig, Reuven Carlyle, Steve Conway, Jeannie Darneille, Joe Fain, David Frockt, Bob Hasegawa, Jim Honeford, Karen Keiser, Mark Miloscia, Mike Padden, Jamie Pedersen, Kevin Ranker, Ann Rivers, Christine Rolfes, Dino Rossi, Mark Schoesler, Judy Warnick & Hans Zeiger

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: