After cancellation of hearings due to extreme weather and road conditions earlier in the week, state lawmakers returned to a full schedule of committee hearings as well as floor votes by the full House and Senate.
They passed nearly two dozen bills, most by near-unanimous votes. Bills passed by split votes include an anti-fracking measure passed by the Senate on Feb. 13 and elimination of the death penalty passed by the Senate on Feb. 15.
WashingtonVotes is a project of the Washington Policy Center. See www.WashingtonVotes.org.
Senate Bill 5339, Eliminating the death penalty and instead requiring life imprisonment without possibility of release or parole for aggravated first degree murder
Passed the Senate on Feb. 15 by a vote of 28-19 (two members excused)
This bill provides that the death penalty would be eliminated, and all statutory procedures for imposing and carrying out a sentence of death would be repealed. It would impose a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of release or parole on a person convicted of aggravated first degree murder. The bill is now headed to the House for further consideration.
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) No
Senate Bill 5145, Concerning the use of hydraulic fracturing in the exploration for and production of oil and natural gas
Passed the Senate on Feb.13 by a vote of 29-18 (two members excused)
This bill would prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing, a process that injects water into the ground under pressure to explore for oil and natural gas, commonly known as “fracking.” The proposed ban is meaningless since there is currently no oil and gas exploration in Washington state; still, Senate Republicans noted that fracking is effective and safe, and could be an energy-producing option in Eastern Washington areas. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.
Sen. Van De Wege Yes
House Bill 1175, Concerning authorization of health care decisions by an individual or designated person
Passed the House on Feb. 14 by a vote of 71-25 (two members excused)
This bill would expand the list of individuals who can give informed consent for treatment to include an unrelated adult who has exhibited care and concern for the patient; is familiar with the wishes and values of the patient; and is reasonably available to make health care decisions. The bill also includes procedural safeguards such as a requirement for a non-relative to sign a declaration that there is a connection to the person. The bill is headed for the Senate for further consideration.
Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) Yes
Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend) Yes
House Bill 1066, Requiring debt collection complaints to be filed prior to service of summons and complaint
Passed the House on Feb. 14 by a vote of 59-37 (two members excused)
This bill would prohibit a collection agency from serving a debtor with a summons and complaint unless the summons and complaint have been filed with a Washington Superior Court and bear the case number assigned by the court. The bill is now headed to the Senate for further consideration.
Rep. Chapman Yes
Rep. Tharinger Yes