March 16, 2015
Fortunately, most of the issues WSCC has been tracking survived the March 11th cut-off for bills to be out of their House of origin. Some bills were amended in the legislative process. For the next two weeks, the legislature's focus shifts back to the committee hearing rooms where the bills passed by the originating chamber will now be heard by committees in the opposite chamber. The next cut-off is April 1st when bills will need to be voted out of the committees.
WSCC Action Alert Opposing Payday Loan Legislation - SB 5899
: WSCC supports consumer protections that promote the common good by encouraging responsible lending practices in our state. SB 5899
would abolish payday loans by replacing them with consumer installment loans. The WSCC opposes SB 5899
because it would not adequately protect consumers and families living in or near poverty. The Senate passed SB 5899
and the bill is now before the House Business & Financial Services Committee. Click here to learn more about payday loans and to participate in the Action Alert.
Weatherization of Low-Income Housing (HB 1720)
- Low-income residents often have high utility bills because their homes are inadequately weatherized. HB 1720
would expand services to allow for healthy housing improvements to homes undergoing weatherization, as many of these homes have serious indoor environmental problems. Healthy home services include lead hazard control, remediation of asthma triggers (such as moisture, mold, pests) reduction to toxic chemicals, and prevention of injuries caused by dilapidated housing. HB 1720
passed the House last week by a 74 to 23 vote. On March 19th, the Senate Human Services and Mental Health & Housing Committee is scheduled to hear HB 1720
. ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline, 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Senator to support HB 1720
UPDATES OF BILLS SURVIVING THE MARCH 11TH CUT-OFF:
Farm Worker Training (HB 1127)
- This bill would fund training for agricultural workers to improve their skills and safety. The WSCC supports efforts to enable farm workers to do their important work more safely. The Senate Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development Committee will hear HB 1127
on March 17th. ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline, 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Senator to support HB 1127.
Human Trafficking (HB 1139, SB 5883 & SB 5884)
- The WSCC supports bills that would fight human trafficking. HB 1139
would establish a working group to study the trafficking of youth. The bill is now before the Senate Law & Justice Committee. SB 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. SB 5883
was incorporated into SB 5884
, which was passed unanimously by the Senate last week. SB 5884
was referred to the House Public Safety Committee.
Flame Retardants (HB 1174)
- Supported by WSCC, the House passed HB 1174 that would decrease children's exposure to toxic chemicals. The Senate Energy and Environment & Telecommunications Committee will hear HB 1174
on March 17th. ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline, 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Senator to support HB 1174.
Breakfast After the Bell (HB 1295 / SB 5437)
- 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. A nearly identical bill, SB 5437
, died on the floor of the Senate. WSCC supports improving access to meals in school settings. ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline, 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Senator to support HB 1295.
Minimum Wage (HB 1355)
- Supported by WSCC, HB 1355
would raise the minimum wage to $12 over four years. HB 1355
has been assigned to the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee but no hearing has been scheduled on the bill.
Legal Financial Obligations (HB 1390)
- Thank you to all who responded to last week's Action Alert. This bill, supported by WSCC, 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. HB 1390
passed the House by a vote of 94-4 and has been assigned to the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
Homeless Youth (HB 1436 / SB 5404)
- Supported by WSCC, HB 1436
would create an Office of Homeless Youth Programs to coordinate a spectrum of funding, policy, and practice efforts related to homeless youth. HB 1436
is now before the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee. By a 48 to 1 vote, the Senate passed the nearly identical bill, SB 5404
, last week. The House Early Learning & Human Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on SB 5404
for March 18th. ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Representatives to support SB 5404.
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 will hear HB 1449
on Wednesday, March 18th. ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Senator to support HB 1449.
Cesar Chavez Day (HB 1560 / SB 5565)
- These bills would designate March 31st as Cesar Chavez Day in our state, though it would not be considered a legal holiday. HB 1560
passed the House and the Senate Government Operations & Security Committee had a hearing on HB 1560
on March 16th. SB 5565
did not receive a floor vote in the Senate before the March 11th cut-off, and is considered "dead." ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Senator to support HB 1560.
Abortion Insurance Mandate (HB 1647):
Opposed by WSCC, HB 1647
would require all private health insurers in Washington State to cover abortion services, if they offer maternity care. The House passed HB 1647
last week by a vote of 51 to 46. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health Care Committee, but no hearing is scheduled.
State Voting Rights Act (HB 1745 / SB 5668)
- These bills would require redistricting and new elections in certain circumstances as well as allow citizens to sue to redress lack of voter opportunity. Having passed the House, HB 1745
is now in the Senate Government Operations and Security Committee. SB 5668
, died in the Senate Rules Committee.
Informed Consent and Assisted Suicide (SB 5919)
- While opposing assisted suicide, WSCC supports SB 5919
, which would make a small change to the state's physician-assisted suicide law. 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 will hear SB 5919
on March 20th. ACTION: Please call the Legislative Hotline 1-800-562-6000, to ask your Representatives to support SB 5919.
BILLS THAT DID NOT SURVIVE THE MARCH 11TH CUT-OFF:
Task Force on Poverty (HB 2113)
- HB 2113
would have created a legislative task force on poverty to develop a comprehensive plan for more effective and efficient poverty relief solutions through identification of pathways out of poverty. WSCC believes that the state's poverty assistance programs could be improved to provide greater respect for each person's human dignity. HB 2113
died in the House Rules Committee.
Parental Notification (SB 5289)
- Thank you to all who responded to last's week's Action Alert. This bill would have required parental notification for a minor seeking to have an abortion and is supported by WSCC. Thanks to your efforts, the Senate Rules Committee did pass SB 5289
, but the bill was not brought up for a vote before the entire Senate.
Remember to participate in Catholic Advocacy Day
, Thursday, March 26th. - We begin at St. Michael Church, Olympia, at 9:30 am.
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.