In marathon floor sessions lasting late into the evening, including a rare Sunday session in the House, lawmakers approved more than 500 bills this week to meet the Feb. 19 cut-off deadline for passing legislation out of its originating chamber.
In all, more than 600 bills have now passed and been sent to the opposite house for further consideration as this year’s 60-day legislative session heads into the home stretch.
Bills that did not survive the cut-off are likely dead for the 2019-20 legislative cycle, barring a special session or extraordinary parliamentary maneuvers to revive them.
House and Senate committees now have until Friday, Feb. 28 to consider policy bills that have been sent to them by the opposite house, and until Monday, March 2nd to act on budget and transportation measures.
The deadline for action by the full House and Senate on all but budget-related matters is Friday, March 6. The session is scheduled to adjourn on March 12.
Among important bills passed this week are:
House Bill 2311, Amending state greenhouse gas emission limits for consistency with the most recent assessment of climate change science
Passed the House on Feb. 16 by a vote of 55-41 (two members excused)
This bill would, among other provisions, require state agencies to set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. Current law sets greenhouse gas emission limits for state agencies by 2050 at 57.5 percent below 2005 levels, or 70 percent below emissions expected for that year. Greenhouse gas emissions from state agencies represent about one percent of total carbon emissions statewide.
The bill is currently before the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee for further consideration.
Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) Yes
Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend) Yes
Senate Bill 6113, Creating a central insulin purchasing program
Passed the Senate on Feb. 18 by a vote of 28-20 (one member excused)
Current law provides that state-purchased health care programs must purchase prescription drugs through the Northwest Prescription Drug Consortium established by the state Health Care Authority. Under this bill, a work group would be established to design a purchasing strategy that would allow the state to act as the single purchaser of insulin. The work group must submit a detailed plan to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2020. The consortium would then be authorized to implement the plan without further legislative direction.
SB 6113 is now before the House Health and Wellness Committee for further consideration.
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) Yes
House Bill 1694, Allowing tenants to pay certain sums in installments
Passed the House on Feb. 17 by a vote of 54-44
This bill would restrict landlord-tenant arrangements by requiring landlords to allow tenants to pay customary first- and last-month rental deposits and other fees in installments.
The bill is now before the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development and Trade Committee for further consideration.
Rep. Chapman No
Rep. Tharinger Yes
Senate Bill 6288, Creating the Washington office of firearm violence prevention
Passed the Senate on Feb. 18 by a vote of 25-23 (one member excused)
This bill would create an Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention within the state Department of Commerce. The bill would authorize the new office to contract for and fund a variety of programs, including a statewide helpline and referral service for gun violence victims and their professional services providers, and for a best practices guide for therapy to gun violence victims.
The bill was sent to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee for further consideration.
Sen. Van De Wege No
House Bill 1590, Allowing the local sales and use tax for affordable housing to be imposed by a councilmanic authority
Passed the House on Feb. 19 by a vote of 52-46
This bill would authorize county or city legislative authorities to impose the local sales and use tax for housing and related services and eliminates the requirement that the imposition of the tax be subject to the approval of a majority of county or city voters at a general or special election.
The bill was sent to the Senate Local Government Committee of further consideration.
Rep. Chapman Yes
Rep. Steve Tharinger Yes
Senate Bill 6212, Concerning the authority of counties, cities, and towns to exceed statutory property tax limitations (to fund affordable housing programs)
Passed the Senate on Feb. 19 by a vote of 35-13 (one member excused)
This bill would expand the use of the affordable housing property tax levy to include affordable homeownership, owner-occupied home repair, and foreclosure prevention programs for low-income households with income at or below 80 percent of median income.
The bill is now before the House Finance Committee for further consideration.
Sen. Van De Wege Yes
House Bill 2567, Concerning open courts (banning civil arrests in and around court houses)
Passed the House on Feb. 17 by a vote of 55-43
This bill would essentially prohibit arrests by immigration enforcement authorities, which are defined as “civil” or warrantless arrests, inside or near state court facilities. It would also prohibit judges, court staff, court security personnel and prosecutor’s office staff from inquiring into or collecting immigration or citizenship status information.
The bill was sent to the Senate Law and Justice Committee for further consideration.
Rep. Chapman No
Rep. Tharinger Yes