Today marks the first legislative “cut-off” of this year’s session of the State Legislature. This means that bills must pass out of their committee of origin to have any real likelihood of being approved this year. For bills having a budget impact, an additional week is allowed for hearings in the fiscal committees. Every bill must pass out of their full house of origin by March 13 to remain alive. The WSCC is staying vigilant and will keep you informed on the issues that matter to you.
Several bills that received strong support from the WSCC have already cleared at least one of the initial hurdles. These bills include efforts to improve school safety, expand adolescent behavioral health care, and repeal the death penalty. See an up-to-date list of the bills we are tracking.
This Act (S. 311) would require that any health care practitioner (present during a live birth resulting from a failed abortion) provide the same degree of care that would be afforded to any newborn and, after provision of care, to ensure that the child is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital. The United States Senate has scheduled a vote for Monday, February 25. Please send a message to your U.S. Senators – via the WSCC Action Center!
The federal Immigration and Nationality Act provides various classifications of non-immigrant visas. These include the H-2A classification for seasonal agricultural workers, allowing employers to temporarily hire foreign workers when there is a lack of qualified U.S. workers. Washington state estimates that more than 30,000 H-2A workers will be requested in 2019. A major flaw in the H2A program is that it leaves many workers vulnerable to abuse, which is why the WSCC supports SB 5438. This bill establishes the Office of Agricultural and Seasonal Workforce Services, whose role is to process applications, adjudicate complaints, and evaluate working conditions on-site.
Lawmakers came to a bipartisan budget deal just under the wire to avoid another government shutdown. The deal provides full-year funding for critical housing, food and nutrition programs including $12 billion in major disaster funding, $102.7 billion for domestic food programs such as SNAP, and $6.1 billion for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
On February 15, President Trump issued an emergency declaration to use funds previously appropriated for other purposes to fund the construction of a border wall along the U.S./Mexico border. The USCCB stated that, “We oppose the use of these funds to further the construction of the wall. … We remain steadfast and resolute … that at this time we need to be building bridges and not walls.” Read More.