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Legislators pass plethora of bills

How your legislators from 7th and 12th districts voted this week

 


Lawmakers in Olympia passed more than 200 bills this week, working late into the night on Monday and right up to the deadline for action on non-budget bills at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18th. Following is a selection of interesting bills that were acted upon.

Senate Bill 6523, Expanding higher education opportunities for certain students. Passed the House on February 18, 2014 by a vote of 75-22.

This bill is commonly referred to as the Washington State Dream Act but has also been cited as the Real Hope Act, because it provides up to $5 million in funding for this program. The bill makes students who were brought to the United States illegally as children eligible for financial aid if they completed the full senior year of high school and obtained a diploma or its equivalent at a Washington public or private high school; lived in Washington for at least three years immediately prior to receiving the diploma or its equivalent; and continuously lived in the state after receiving the diploma or its equivalent. The bill passed the Senate on January 31st and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.

7 Rep. Joel Kretz, (Wauconda) (R) Y

7 Rep. Shelly Short, (Addy) (R) Y

12 Rep. Cary Condotta (East Wenatchee) (R) Y

12 Rep. Brad Hawkins, (Wenatchee) (R) Y

House Bill 2244, Restoring resources to the capital budget. Passed the House on February 18, 2014 by a vote of 87-11.

This bill would reinstate the deposit of specific tax revenues into the Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA) beginning July 1, 2015 rather than July 1, 2019. It would also authorize appropriations from the Education Construction Fund (ECF) for school construction and directs the transfer of $ 102 million annually from the General Fund to the ECF beginning July 1, 2015. The bill specifies that the redirected revenues would count as resources for purposes of complying with the state’s four-year balanced budget requirement. This means that some capital funds would be counted as operating resources for the 2015-17 budget cycle. Senate Majority Coalition Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) and State Treasurer Jim McIntire characterized these money shifts as a “budget gimmick” that undermines the four-year balanced budget requirement. The bill is now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

7 Rep. Joel Kretz, (Wauconda) (R) N

7 Rep. Shelly Short, (Addy) (R) Y

12 Rep. Cary Condotta (East Wenatchee) (R) Y

12 Rep. Brad Hawkins, (Wenatchee) (R) Y

House Bill 2451, Restricting the practice of sexual orientation change efforts. Passed the House on February 13, 2014 by a vote of 94-4.

This bill would establish the performance of sexual orientation change efforts, also called “conversion therapy,” by a healthcare provider on a patient under 18 years old as an act of unprofessional conduct. The term "sexual orientation change efforts" is defined as a regime that seeks to change one's sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward individuals of the same sex. The term does not include psychotherapies that provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or facilitate a client's coping, social support, and identity exploration. If enacted, the law would not apply to non-licensed counselors acting under the auspices of a religious denomination or church.

7 Rep. Joel Kretz, (Wauconda) (R) Y

7 Rep. Shelly Short, (Addy) (R) Y

12 Rep. Cary Condotta (East Wenatchee) (R) Y

12 Rep. Brad Hawkins, (Wenatchee) (R) Y

Senate Bill 5246, Clarifying and strengthening the teacher and principal evaluation process. Failed in the Senate on February 18, 2014 by a vote of 19-28.

This bill would have required that statewide student tests be used as part of teacher and principal evaluations—an action that is necessary to maintain local school districts’ ability to spend some $ 40 million in federal funding under the No Child Left Behind law. This bill was a priority for the Senate Majority Coalition, comprised of 24 Republicans and two Democrats, and this is the first time one of the Coalition’s bills has been defeated.

7 Sen. Brian Dansel (R) N

12 Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (Wenatchee) (R) Y

House Bill 2149, Concerning Medical Marijuana. Passed the House on February 17, 2014 by a vote of 67-29.

The bill seeks to regulate and align the medical marijuana system with the recreational marijuana system and to address the differences. It would reduce the amount of useable marijuana that a qualifying patient or designated provider may possess from 24 ounces to three ounces or, if authorized by the qualifying patient's health care professional, a specified amount over three ounces. It would reduce the number of marijuana plants that a qualifying patient or designated provider may possess from up to 15 plants to a maximum of three flowering and three non-flowering plants or, if authorized by the qualifying patient's health care professional, a specified number over six plants. The bill would eliminate the authority to establish collective gardens to produce marijuana for medical use. Patients and designated providers would be required to obtain a patient or provider recognition card from the Department of Health. The bill would also establish a medical marijuana endorsement for licensed marijuana retailer to sell marijuana to qualifying patients and designated providers in amounts greater than those available to non-medical customers.

7 Rep. Joel Kretz, (Wauconda) (R) N

7 Rep. Shelly Short, (Addy) (R) N

12 Rep. Cary Condotta (East Wenatchee) (R) N

12 Rep. Brad Hawkins, (Wenatchee) (R) N

Senate Bill 6464, Extending health insurance coverage options for Washington state residents. Passed the Senate on February 18, 2014 by a vote of 25-22.

The bill provides that a health insurance carrier may continue to offer an individual or small-group health plan in the market outside the Health Care Exchange, regardless of whether the plan meets any state or federal requirements applicable to the individual or small-group markets after October 1, 2013, if: the health plan was offered in the individual or small-group market in Washington on October 1, 2013; and the purchaser of the health plan was actually enrolled in the plan on October 1, 2013. Health plans made available through the extension would be exempt from the market insurance rules and the essential health benefit requirements, and the Insurance Commissioner may not adopt any rules or policies that prohibit or inhibit continuing coverage.

7 Sen. Brian Dansel (R) Y

12 Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (Wenatchee) (R) Y

SOURCE: WashingtonVotes.org is a project of the Washington Policy Center. Please visit http://www.WashingtonVotes.org and check out our new Olympia news service, Washingtonvotes.org News, which is featured on the home page. We're also on Facebook and Twitter, at washingtonvotes.org.

 

Y = Yes, N = No, E = Excused, X = Not Voting

 

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