How our lawmakers voted — Jan. 31, 2018

  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018 1:30am
  • Opinion

Three weeks into this 60-day session, lawmakers have passed 86 bills in at least one chamber, including legislation held over from last year’s record-long 193 day session.

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed three bills into law — the 2017-19 Capital Budget (SB 6090), the bond authorization bill needed to implement it (HB 1080) and the Hirst-fix water access bill (SB 6090).

Bills passed this week include measures to ban so-called conversion therapy, to address transgender bullying in schools, to allow same-day voter registration, to ease the cost of car tabs, and to make undocumented students eligible for financial aid.

The Senate also passed a bill banning bump stocks on Jan. 25.

Senate Bill 6021, Extending the period for voter registration

Passed the Senate on Jan. 17 by a vote of 29-20

In addition to authorizing voter registration by mail or electronically up to eight days before an election, this bill would allow in-person voter registration and voter registration updates up to 8 p.m. the day of the election, i.e. same-day voter registration. The bill was referred to the House Committee on State Government, Elections and Information Technology.

Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) Yes

Senate Bill 5766, Preventing harassment, intimidation and bullying in public schools

Passed the Senate on Jan. 19 by a vote of 30-18 (one member excused)

Under this bill school districts must, by Aug. 1, 2018, adopt or amend, if necessary, a transgender student policy and procedure. The policy must include provisions addressing discriminatory harassment of transgender students and must incorporate: the transgender student policy and procedure created by Washington State School Directors Association; and the rules and guidelines developed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction to eliminate discrimination in public schools on the basis of gender identity and expression. The bill is now before the House Education Committee for consideration.

Sen. Van De Wege Yes

Senate Bill 5722, Restricting the practice of conversion therapy

Passed the Senate on Jan. 19 by a vote of 32-16 (one member excused)

This bill would make it “unprofessional conduct” for a licensed health-care provider to perform conversion therapy on patients younger than 18. Conversion therapy means a regime that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex. Under the bill, clergy members, volunteer counselors, or parents would not be restricted from attempting the practice, but child-abuse statutes might come into play. The bill is now before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee for consideration.

Sen. Van De Wege Yes

Senate Bill 5074, Aligning eligibility for the college bound scholarship program with the state need grant program

Passed the Senate on Jan. 24 by a vote of 38-11

This bill would make students in this state who came to this country illegally as children eligible for state financial aid to pay for college. Currently, students without legal immigration status are not eligible for federal financial aid. Under the bill, students who have been here for at least three years before earning a high school diploma would qualify for the College Bound scholarship program available to low-income Washington students. The bill is now before the House Education Committee for consideration.

Sen. Van De Wege Yes

House Bill 2201, Concerning the collection of a motor vehicle excise tax approved by voters of a regional transit authority in 2016

Passed the House on Jan. 24 by a vote of 60-37 (one member excused)

This bill was passed by the House last year, but did not receive further action in the Senate before the legislature adjourned. It seeks to ease the impact of car tab fees imposed by Sound Transit, under the authority that was adopted by Sound Transit voters in King, Piere, and Snohomish Counties in 2016. The bill provides that Sound Transit must establish a market value adjustment program that reflects more realistic vehicle values, such as Kelly Blue Book, and provide a credit against tax due equal to the tax under current law, less the tax otherwise due, were the tax to be calculated using the 2006 valuation schedule, but only if the resulting difference is positive. The bill was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) Yes

Rep. Steve Tharinger (D- Sequim) Yes

Senate Bill 6002, Enacting the Washington voting rights act of 2018

Passed the Senate on Jan. 19 by a vote of 29-19 (one member excused)

The bill would create a voting rights act to protect the equal opportunity for minority groups to participate in local elections. It would create a cause of action and authorize courts to order appropriate remedies for a violation of the act, including redistricting within a political subdivision. It would also authorize local governments to change their election system to remedy violations of the act. The bill was referred to the House Committee on State Government, Elections and Information Technology.

Sen. Van De Wege Yes

Senate Bill 5992, Concerning bump-fire stocks

Passed the Senate on Jan. 25 by a vote of 29-20

The Senate passed this bill to ban trigger modification devices that allow legal semi-automatic firearms to simulate automatic weapons fire. Automatic weapons, or machine guns, are tightly restricted or outlawed under current federal and state laws. The ban would make it illegal for anyone in Washington to manufacture or sell bump stocks beginning July 1, 2018. In July 2019, it would become illegal to own or possess a bump stock in Washington, which means current owners of such devices would have to turn them in to law enforcement or destroy them.

Sen. Van De Wege Yes

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