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Transportation, minimum wage, mental health bills make cutoff

by caprecord

capitol_domeSome of the bills that got a lot of attention this session made it through the chamber of origin cutoff deadline, which was 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Here’s a list of some of the notable legislation that made it through, and their statuses in the House and Senate.

Transportation package passes the Senate – A $15 billion transportation package, with an incremental 11.5 cent rise in gas tax, passed the Senate. The package comes with a variety of projects from all over the state, and with a number of policy changes requested by Republicans. Senate Democrats used the debate on the legislation to overturn a Majority Coalition Caucus-established rule to require a two-thirds vote for new taxes.

$12 minimum wage, sick and safe leave – The House passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2019. The House also passed a bill that would require employers to give employees mandatory personal leave for illness or dealing with a domestic violence situation. The bills now head to the state Senate, where the Republicans hold a majority. The Majority Coalition Caucus leadership has said the reception in the Senate may be “chilly.”

Medical marijuana regulations  – SB 5052, the medical marijuana proposal by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, passed the Senate. It would create a system to license medical marijuana growers and sellers, and creates a database for patients. The bill now heads to the House.

PTSD qualifies for medical marijuana – SB 5379 would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for PTSD. A number of veterans testified on behalf of the bill, when it was heard in committee.

New Washington State University medical school – The state would get a new public medical school at Washington State University under bills passed in the Senate and the House. Currently, the University of Washington is the only public higher education institution in the state that has a medical school. Both bills will head to the opposite chambers for further consideration.

Alternatives to clean energy requirements – The Senate passed a bill that would allow power companies alternatives to a voter-approved requirements to get electricity from renewable resources. However, the bill passed after some tussling over an amendment that added language referring to climate change being caused by humans.

Sheena and Chris Henderson Law passes House – One of the bills sparked by the shooting death of Sheena Henderson by her husband Chris Henderson passed the House, along with five other mental health bills. This bill would allow officers responding to a threat of suicide to refer the person to a designated mental health professional. One of the other bills, SB 5889 which would establish a 14-day maximum stay in jail while a defendant awaits the determination of competency to stand trial, has passed in both chambers and is scheduled to be signed by the governor Thursday. Earlier this session, versions of Joel’s Law, which would make it easier for families to ask courts to reconsider involuntary commitment rulings, passed out of both the House and Senate.

The Fair Tenant Screening Act – The House passed a bill that would prevent a landlord from charging a tenant for a screening report if the landlord can get one from a consumer reporting agency.

Teacher and principal evaluations – The last bill the Senate passed would tie teacher and principal performance evaluations to results on state standardized tests. Bill supporters say that the change would allow the state to regain a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Law.

Equal pay and opportunity – The last bill passed out of the House would change the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits employers from discrimination on the basis of gender. The bill would prohibit directing employees into a less favorable career track or opportunities on the basis of gender and bars retaliation against employees who share salary information with each other.

Other bills that will continue (and the chamber that passed them):