Week Five of the Legislative Session

E-Alert posted February 9, 2018

This was a week of transitions and cutoffs. Of the total 1,344 bills introduced this session, those that have not been voted out of committee in their house of origin are dead for now. Bills that are still alive have until Tuesday, Feb 14 to be voted out of the whole house of origin (either the House or the Senate). This means that since Wednesday,  legislators and lobbyists have been hard at work rounding up support for floor votes. FAN is tracking about 100 bills, and is actively working to pass about half of those.

Monday and Tuesday: About 70 bills were heard and voted on in the four fiscal committees: House Appropriations and Transportation, and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation.

On Tuesday, House Appropriations passed the Ombuds bill (HB 1889) in a 25-8-1 vote. The bill will create a semi-independent Ombuds office that will help improve the welfare of those in our prison system and thereby improve their chance of success upon release. This bill now moves to House Rules and needs to be voted out of the House by end of day on Feb. 14, or is dead.

Wednesday: The Legal Financial Obligations bill (HB 1783) had a hearing in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice. It has already passed out of the House, and now has the best chance in years to make it to the Governor’s desk. The bill deals with the debt accrued due to legal fines and court fees when someone is in prison. It eliminates the 12% interest rate on non-restitution LFOs, prioritizes restitution payments, and prevents the courts from imposing these costs on folks who are too poor to pay.

Also on Wednesday, the House passed the Washington Housing Opportunities Act (HB 1570 Macri) with a vote of 51-47. That bill is now off to the Senate. This bill is a key piece to funding affordable housing and preventing homelessness throughout our state. The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance urges you to contact your Senators here.

All week, FAN lobbyists have been counting votes for SB 6406, which will repeal I-200, an anti-affirmative action initiative that was passed several years ago. The bill is awaiting action on the Senate floor and must be voted on by February 14 to stay alive this session.

Looking Ahead to Week Six

There are only two and a half weeks remaining in the 2018 Legislative Session! Next week, there are three more days to “run” bills by moving them to the Senate or the House. After the February 14 cutoff, Thursday and Friday will consist of hearing many bills a second time in policy committees of the houses in which they did not originate.

Friday: There will be a partial capital gains tax bill (HB 2967) heard in the House Committee on Finance, and FAN’s Economic Justice Working Group Co-Chair, Jane Sisk, will testify in support. Scroll down to learn more about capital gains.

Take Action Now

  1. Repeal the Death Penalty (SB 6052 Walsh) is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor tomorrow. Click here to contact your Senator and let them know you want them to support this bill. Click here for more information about the bill, and here to learn more about the broad support for this effort in Washington State.
  2. Pass Housing Bills HB 1797 and HB 1987. Both are awaiting action on the House floor. HB 1797 allows certain counties to pass additional revenue for affordable housing, and HB 1987 encourages local cities to work with faith communities that want to build affordable housing on their property. Please click here to urge your Representatives to support both bills.

To contact your legislators, use the email formula [email protected], or use the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 between 8 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Friday. To find out who your legislators are, click here.