Hearings, Cutoffs, Executive Sessions, Budgets!
From LWVWA 3/19/23 Legislative Newsletter.
This is the point in the legislative session when action picks up because there is overlap between committee hearings on policy bills and release of budget proposals, with public hearings in very short order thereafter. Hence, the week ahead promises to be very exciting.
In addition to the standard schedule of committee meetings that include both public hearings and executive sessions on bills passed in the opposite chamber, the Senate is expected to release its capital budget on Monday and will have a public hearing that afternoon. Additionally, the Senate proposed operating budget will be announced toward the end of next week and we believe will have a public hearing in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on the afternoon of Friday, March 24.
Support Voting Rights
ESHB 1048 Enhanced Washington Voting Rights Act
This bill amends sections of the Washington Voting Rights Act to clarify what constitutes a violation of the act. It seeks to protect members of classes who do not have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice through methods that have created vote dilution or polarized voting. (3/4 passed House 57 – 38- 0 -3. SENATE, public hearing 3/14 and session scheduled, but no action was taken in the Senate Committee on State Government & Elections on 3/24)
Click this link ESHB 1048 to comment in support of this bill.
HB 1241 Addressing Harassment
This bill modifies crimes of harassment and cyber harassment to cover conduct that is lewd or threatens bodily injury, property damage, confinement, or other malicious threats. Increases penalty for harassment of an election official to a class C felony. Allows election officials who are harassed to apply for the address confidentiality program. (3/8 House: passed 90-7-0-1. Senate: 3/10 first reading, referred to Law & Justice.)
Click here to comment in support of HB 1241
Support Automatic Voter Registration
SSB 5112 Secure Automatic Voter Registration.
Using identifying documents as a prompt, Automatic Voter Registration registers voters and updates existing voter registrations at Dept. of Licensing. Transaction time is shorter, less costly, and registers more voters. Accurate and updated registration reduces undeliverable election mail, provisional ballots, and same-day registration. Confirmation of the registration is mailed to the voter by the appropriate election agency, and the recipient then has the option to decline the registration. This automatic registration process is used successfully in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Delaware, and Massachusetts, and is deemed safe, secure, and efficient from beginning to end. (Senate: 2/15 E2SSB passed Senate 38-10-0-1, House: State Gov’t & Tribal Relations public hearing 3/10, Exec. session scheduled for 3/15) (Executive action taken in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations, Majority; do pass with amendment(s), Minority; without recommendation, 3/15.) (Referred to Transportation, 3/17.)
Click here to comment in support of SSB5112.
Support Lived Experience
HB 1541 Establishing the Nothing About Us Without Us Act
This bill provides the means for including underrepresented populations in policy making discussions where their lived experience can impact decisions made that would affect their group. A bill last year provided stipends enabling certain populations ability to participate; this bill gives them access. (House: passed, 3/7 83-12-0-3. Senate: in State Gov’t & Elections: Public Hearing 3/21, Exec. Session 3/24).
Click here to comment in support of HB1541.
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