Democrats in the state legislature this week gave final passage to several measures that figure prominently in Governor Inslee’s legislative agenda and presidential campaign. The clock for consideration of non-budget bills during this regular session ran out at 5 p.m. Wednesday, but bills that have to be reconciled between the two chambers can still be voted on for final passage.

On Monday, the Senate passed HB 1257, which would impose new restrictions on commercial buildings by November 1, 2020, by a narrow 25-23 vote. The House approved the Senate amendments to the bill on Thursday and voted 55-39 for final passage to send the bill to the governor for his signature

Also on Monday, the Senate voted 26-22 to pass HB 1444, which would impose more restrictions on household appliances that use electricity or water, including washing machines, toilets, and dishwashers. The restrictions are like those imposed by California and would apply to appliances sold in Washington that are manufactured after January 1, 2021. The House approved Senate amendments to the bill and sent it to the governor on Thursday, with a 55-39 vote on final passage.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 26-22 to impose a new payroll tax to pay for a long-term care program to provide patients with assistance in daily living. Under HB 1087, which passed the House earlier this session, the state would take just over a half-percent from employee paychecks starting in 2022, but no one would receive benefits until 2025.

The Senate late last Friday passed an amended version of HB 1575, a measure backed by public employee unions to get around the landmark U.S. Supreme Court “Janus” ruling that recognizes the right of public workers to leave a union and not be fired. The House approved the Senate amendments and sent the bill to the governor for signature with a 56-38 vote on final passage.

The governor, back from a campaign trip out-of-state, on Wednesday signed HB 1870, a measure to make provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” state law. Under the new law, Washington insurance customers now will have to pay for coverage of pre-existing conditions, a wide range of costly benefits, and limits on the out-of-pocket expenses a covered person must pay. It also requires payment for unlimited lifetime health care benefits by insurers.

Bills that failed to meet this week’s deadline and are likely dead for this session include SB 3339, to abolish Washington’s death penalty, and SB 5323, to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

HB 1638, to end the ability of parents to exempt their children from vaccination against measles for personal reasons passed the Senate late on Wednesday by a 25-22 vote. The House had passed a different version of the bill earlier this session. The latest version would keep medical and religious exemptions but would end the ability for parents to refuse to vaccinate their children for personal or philosophical reasons. The bill must now go back to the House for a final vote.

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With this week’s cut-off deadline for consideration of non-budget bills, state lawmakers worked long hours to pass measures that previously passed the opposite chamber. Members also took votes to approve amendments by the opposite house and send those bills to the governor after final passage. Among the measures that made it past the deadline, are key bills on Governor Inslee’s legislative agenda for this year, along with bills that would provide long-term health care services paid for by a new payroll tax on employees and remove the personal exemption for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children against measles.

House Bill 1575, Strengthening the rights of workers through collective bargaining by addressing authorizations and revocations. Passed the Senate on April 12, 2019 by a vote of 25-21, three members excused.

This bill would bar public employees from seeking refunds of fees they were wrongly forced to pay to government unions. In the ”Janus” case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to require public employees who are not members to pay fees to the union. The court ruled an employee's clear consent is required before dues may be deducted from the employee's pay. Since that ruling in 2018, public employees across the country have instituted class action lawsuits to recover the past fees they have paid. This bill says workers cannot get their money back by providing that public employers and public employee unions are not required to return union fees that were deducted prior to the Court’s ruling.

19 Sen. Dean Takko (Longview) (D) Y

House Bill 1575, Vote to agree to a Senate amendment on the bill. Final passage in the House on April 18, 2019 by a vote of 56-38, four members excused.

This is the vote to approve the Senate amendment, which provides that an employer must end payroll deduction of dues no later than the second payroll, rather than the first payroll, upon receiving confirmation that the employee has revoked authorization to deduct dues. The bill is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.

19 Rep. Brian Blake (Aberdeen) (D) Y

19 Rep. Jim Walsh (Aberdeen) (R) N

House Bill 1257, Concerning energy efficiency. Passed the Senate on April 15, 2019 by a vote of 25-13, one member excused.

Proposed by Governor Inslee, this bill would impose new energy limits and restrictions on commercial buildings by November 1, 2020. As passed by the Senate, the bill requires the state Commerce Department to develop new energy efficiency standards to maximize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Building owners would also have to comply with state-mandated energy management plans, operations and maintenance programs, energy audits, and other energy limitation measures imposed by department rules. The bill also mandates other steps, such as requiring the State Building Code Council to come up with rules for electric-vehicle charging in new buildings.

19 Sen. Dean Takko (Longview) (D) Y

House Bill 1257, Vote to agree to Senate amendments on the bill. Final passage in the House on April 18, 2019 by a vote of 55-39, four members excused.

This is the vote to approve amendments by the Senate that clarified a number of provisions like the size of electrical rooms, and the number of parking spaces allotted for electric vehicle charging. It also moves the effective date of certain building code changes to July 1, 2021. The bill is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.

19 Rep. Brian Blake (Aberdeen) (D) Y

19 Rep. Jim Walsh (Aberdeen) (R) N

House Bill 1444, Concerning appliance efficiency standards. Passed the Senate on April 15, 2019 by a vote of 26-22 one member excused.

This bill, which passed the House along partisan lines by a 57-41 vote last month, would impose restrictive efficiency standards for most appliances that use electricity or water, including washing machines, toilets, and dishwashers. The restrictions follow those imposed by California and Vermont and would apply to appliances sold in Washington that are manufactured after January 1, 2021.

19 Sen. Dean Takko (Longview) (D) Y

House Bill 1444, Vote to agree to Senate amendments on the bill. Final passage in the House on April 18, 2019 by a vote of 55-39, four members excused.

As passed by the Senate, the bill would remove federally preempted efficiency and testing standards and establish new minimum efficiency and testing standards for covered products. It would also authorize the state Department of Commerce to adopt rules that incorporate federal efficiency standards for federally covered products and to adopt by rule a more recent version of any standard or test method in order to maintain consistency with other comparable standards in other states. The bill is now in its way to the Governor for his signature.

19 Rep. Brian Blake (Aberdeen) (D) Y

19 Rep. Jim Walsh (Aberdeen) (R) N

House Bill 1638, Promoting immunity against vaccine preventable diseases. Passed the Senate on April 17, 2019 by a vote of 25-22, two member excused.

This bill, which passed the House last month on a 50-40 vote, would end the personal exemption for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). The bill would keep medical and religious exemptions but removes philosophical or personal exemptions for the MMR vaccine. It would allow proof of disease immunity through laboratory evidence or history of disease to substitute for immunizations. During debate, opponents of the measure questioned the safety and urgency of the vaccine. They pointed out that, if enacted, the bill would not take effect for 90 days after the session ends on April 28th. The Senate amendment to the bill removes the provision allowing a child to be exempt from vaccine requirements if the child has a parent or sibling with a history of immune system problems or an adverse reaction to a particular vaccine. It also removes the grandfather clause for high school students who currently hold a personal exemption, meaning that previously exempt children would have to be vaccinated. The bill goes back to the House to consider the Senate amendments before final passage.

19 Sen. Dean Takko (Longview) (D) Y

House Bill 1087, Concerning long-term services and supports. Passed the Senate on April 16, 2019 by a vote of 26-22, one member excused.

This bill was passed by the House in February by a vote of 63-33. It would impose a new payroll tax to pay for a long-term care program to provide patients with assistance in daily living. Under the bill, the state would collect just over a half-percent from employee paychecks starting in 2022, but benefits would not take effect until 2025. Employers would not have to pay into the program. The Senate amendment requires premium rates to be set by the pension funding council to maintain actuarial solvency using insurance principles to reduce rate fluctuations. It also sets the maximum premium rate at 0.58 percent. The bill now goes back to the House for reconciliation of the different versions before final passage.

19 Sen. Dean Takko (Longview) (D) Y

SOURCE: WashingtonVotes.org is a project of the Washington Policy Center. Please visit www.WashingtonVotes.org and check out their new Olympia news service, Washingtonvotes.org News, which is featured on the home page. Also on Facebook and Twitter, at washingtonvotes.org.

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

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