WSCC Catholic Advocacy Bulletin - 2015, No. 11
March 23, 2015
This last full week of March is dominated again by committee hearings and votes on bills. Another major cut-off is approaching - by April 1st bills must be voted out of the committees in the chamber opposite the one in which they originated. During this process, a bill is sometimes amended on another bill, if the subject matter of the two bills is the same.
This Thursday, March 26th, more than 600 Catholics will take part in Catholic Advocacy Day. It is an inspiring opportunity to put your faith into action and meet your legislators in person. See you in Olympia!
Please take action on the bills that you are following by calling the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000.
BILLS WSCC SUPPORTS
WorkFirst Program (HB 1875) - The federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program provides assistance to needy families for a limited time. In Washington State, the TANF program is called WorkFirst, which provides eligible adults various forms of assistance to find work. HB 1875 would increase the amount of vocational training from 12 to 24 months, subject to the amount appropriated. Extending the time limit to 24 months would afford many students, for example nursing students, to complete their programs. Last week, the Senate Human Services and Mental Health & Housing Committee had a hearing on HB 1875. ACTION: Please call your Senator to request a committee vote on HB 1875.
Farm Worker Training (HB 1127) - This bill would fund training for agricultural workers to improve their skills and safety. The Senate Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development Committee heard HB 1127 last week. ACTION: Please call your Senator to request a committee vote on HB 1127.
Human Trafficking (HB 1139 & SB 5884) - HB 1139 would establish a working group to study the trafficking of youth. The Senate Law & Justice Committee still has yet to schedule a hearing on HB 1139. SB 5884 would create the Washington State Clearinghouse on Human Trafficking to share and coordinate statewide efforts to combat the trafficking of persons. The bill would also direct the state to develop an anti-trafficking notice and require all establishments with public restrooms to prominently display the notice. The House Public Safety Committee will hear SB 5884 on March 25th and is scheduled to vote on the bill on March 26th. ACTION: Please call and ask your Senator to request a committee hearing on HB 1139 and your Representatives to support SB 5884.
Flame Retardants (HB 1174) - The House passed HB 1174 that would decrease children's exposure to toxic chemicals. The Senate Energy and Environment & Telecommunications Committee heard HB 1174 last week. ACTION: Please call your Senator to request a committee vote on HB 1174.
Breakfast After the Bell (HB 1295) - This legislation would require high-needs schools to offer breakfast after the beginning of the school day. The Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee held a hearing on HB 1295 last week. ACTION: Please call your Senator to request a committee vote on HB 1295.
Minimum Wage (HB 1355) - HB 1355 would raise the minimum wage to $12 over four years. HB 1355 has been assigned to the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee but no hearing has been scheduled on the bill. ACTION: Please call your Senator to request a committee hearing on HB 1355.
Legal Financial Obligations (HB 1390) - This bill would enact several reforms concerning Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) to make it easier for people who have served a prison sentence to reenter the community. HB 1390 is in the Senate Law & Justice Committee but no hearing has yet been scheduled. ACTION: Please call and ask your Senator to request a committee hearing on HB 1390.
Homeless Youth (HB 1436 / SB 5404) - HB 1436 would create an Office of Homeless Youth Programs to coordinate a spectrum of funding, policy, and practice efforts related to homeless youth. The Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee will hold a hearing on HB 1436 on March 24th. The House Early Learning & Human Services Committee heard a nearly identical bill, SB 5404, last week and has scheduled a vote on SB 5404 on March 26th. ACTION: Please call and ask your Senator to request a vote on HB 1436 and your Representatives to support SB 5404.
Oil Transportation Safety (HB 1449) - HB 1449 would create additional protections to prevent oil spills and require improvements in preparation for rapid response to spills. The Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee heard HB 1449 last week. ACTION: Please ask your Senator to request a committee vote on HB 1449.
Cesar Chavez Day (HB 1560) - This bills would designate March 31st as Cesar Chavez Day in our state, though it would not be considered a legal holiday. The Senate Government Operations & Security Committee has already passed HB 1560 and the bill is now in the Senate Rules Committee. ACTION: Please ask your Senator to support HB 1560.
Weatherization of Low-Income Housing (HB 1720) - HB 1720 would expand services for low income residents allowing for healthy housing improvements to homes undergoing weatherization, as many of these homes have serious indoor environmental problems. Last week, the Senate Human Services and Mental Health & Housing Committee had a hearing on HB 1720. ACTION: Please ask your Senator to request a committee vote on HB 1720.
State Voting Rights Act (HB 1745) - This bill would protect the equal opportunity to participate in elections for minority groups. ACTION: Please ask your Senator to request a committee vote on HB 1745.
Informed Consent and Assisted Suicide (SB 5919) - Currently, the law requires physicians to inform patients requesting a lethal dose of medication about feasible alternatives including comfort care, hospice and pain control. SB 5919 would add "treatment for the purpose of cure, and treatment for the purpose of extending the patient's life" to the list of information patients should receive. The House Health Care & Wellness Committee heard SB 5919 last week. ACTION: Please ask your Representatives to request a committee vote on SB 5919.
BILLS WSCC OPPOSES
Abortion Insurance Mandate (HB 1647): HB 1647 would require all private health insurers in Washington State to cover abortion services, if they offer maternity care. The House passed HB 1647 last week by a vote of 51 to 46. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health Care Committee, but no hearing is scheduled, and it is highly unlikely one will be scheduled.
Payday Loan (SB 5899) - SB 5899 would abolish payday loans by replacing them with consumer installment loans. SB 5899 would not adequately protect consumers and low income families. The House Business & Financial Services Committee will hear SB 5899 on March 24th and will vote on the bill on March 25th. ACTION: Please ask your Representatives to oppose SB 5899.
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The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Bishops of Washington State.