From LWVWA 3/6/22 Newsletter

This is the final week of the 2022 session

This second session of the biennium, called the “short” session because it is only 60 days, ends next week on March 10. Whatever one thinks about the decisions made by this legislature, one thing is for sure.  Our legislators have worked very, very hard, with long hours and no breaks for the last few weeks.  Washington State can be proud of its legislature and the efforts they make. Today is the deadline for bills that originated in the opposite chamber to pass the full body.  House bills must pass the Senate and Senate bills must pass the House by late today or they are dead.

Next week, the session is dedicated to reconciling differences between bills that passed both houses with different text because of amendments made in the second chamber; and for the final budgets to be reconciled and passed.  In all of those cases, the final bills must be passed by both chambers in identical form, with a yes/no vote by the end of the day on March 10. Because of that negotiation process all week, there is little remaining that we can do to influence outcomes at this point. We will let you know if that changes.

Bill Updates

SHB 1630 No open carry at government or public meetings.

This bill extends “open carry” restrictions against firearms and other dangerous weapons granted in legislation passed last year that applied to Washington State Capitol buildings and grounds to now include government meetings (including school board meetings, and ballot counting centers) and public hearings in a city, town, county or other municipality. It does not apply to military, law enforcement or security personnel at government/public meetings. (H. Civil Rights & Judiciary: Executive Session 1/21, 11 – 6 do pass; 1/25 Incorporated SHB 1618 by Exec. Action, in H. Rules for 2nd review, 2/3 on H. Floor Calendar, remains on H. Floor Calendar, 2nd Reading, PASSED House 2/14: 57-41-00,Public Hearing 2/21 in S. Law & Justice Committee, Executive Session 2/24 passed, In S. Rules Committee 2nd reading,3/1 PASSED Senate: 28-20-0- 1, Returns to House for approval of Senate amendments before final passage.

HB 1876 Fiscal impact of Ballot Measures on Public Investments/Services.

This bill would show voters which services would have an increase or decrease in funding if passed. Voters use the initiative and referendum processes to voice their opinion to the legislature, and they are entitled to know the fiscal impact their vote will have on public investment/services when they cast their votes. This bill creates neutral, nonprejudicial disclosure of fiscal impacts and provides greater transparency and more information for voters (Public hearing 1/19 in H. State Govern- ment & Tribal Relations, Exec. Session passed 1/26, In H. Rules Review 1/28, On Floor Calendar 2/7, PASSED House 54-44-0-0 2/12, Public Hearing 2/18 S. State Government & Elections Committee, 2/23 Executive Session, passed, 2/24 in S. Rules Committee 2nd reading, 3/2 PASSED Senate: 26-20-0-1, Returns to House for approval of Senate amendments before final passage.

HB 1953 Exempting Sensitive Voter Information.

This bill exempts sensitive voter information on ballot return envelopes, ballot declarations and signature correction forms from public disclosure. (In H. Rules Committee 2/4, PASSED House: 69-36-0-3, Public Hearing 2/18 S. State Gov. & Elections Committee, 2/23 Exec. Session, passed, 2/24 S. Rules Committee 2nd reading. 3/2 PASSED Senate: 38-10-0-1. No Senate amendments to approve in House.

SSB 5793 Stipends for low-income or underrepresented community members of state boards, commissions, councils, committees.

In order to make public policy discussions more equitable, and to remove barriers to participation, this bill allows for compensation (daily stipend, child- care expenses, etc.) so lower income people to participate on state boards, commissions, etc.. By removing financial barriers for the people who would be impacted by policy decisions, there would be increased access to policy discussions and decisions, ultimately leading to more equitable and sustainable policy outcomes. (Passed S. State Government & Elections Committee, referred to S. Ways & Means, Public Hearing 2/4, PASSED Senate: 31-18-0-0 2/10, Public Hearing 2/17 in H. State Government & Tribal Relations Committee, Executive Session 2/21, passed, 2/23 referred to H. Appropriations, Public Hearing 2/24, Exec. Session 2/28, passed , and referred to Rules 2 Review 2/28, 3/3 PASSED House: 67-3-0-0, One amendment from Appropriations to ap- prove before final passage.

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