March 19, 2021
On Monday, March 15th, the House Finance Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 5096, also known as the ‘capital gains tax bill’. The bill aims to impose a 7% tax on sales and extraordinary profits (also known as capital gains) of high-valued assets, such as stocks and bonds–if the profits are greater than $250,000.
After that, we also covered a public hearing by the Senate Health & Long Term Care committee on Senate Bill 1225, which aims to establish a school-based Health Center Program office within the Department of Health.
Our final coverage of the March 15th session focused on a hearing by the House Health Care & Wellness committee–particularly, on Senate Bill 5052. An act which aims to establish health equity zones across the state.
Health equity zones are geographic areas that have measurable poor health outcomes and disparities. they typically contain a small population of communities of color, urban Indian or immigrant communities.
The bill allows the Department of Health and the CDC to document these zones and for regions to also self-identify as a health equity zone.
On Tuesday, March 16th, the House Public Safety committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 5036, concerning the release of incarcerated individuals from total confinement before their sentence expires.
Depending on the crimes charged, Senate Bill 5036 allows them to petition for conditional commutation if they have served 15, 20, or 25 years of their total sentence.
On the same day, the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee convened on March 16th for a public hearing that included Senate Bill 5038–an act that aims to prohibit the open carry of weapons at public demonstrations and state capitol grounds.
The Senate Human Services, Reentry and Rehabilitation committee also held a public hearing on several bills on March 16th–among them, was House Bill 1297. The bill aims to provide a tax exemption for low-income working families in the form of a ‘remittance’ or ‘tax credit’ after January of next year. If passed, the remittance amount may include $500 for qualifying families with no children, $650 for families with 1 qualifying child, $800 for those with 2 qualifying children, and $950 for those with 3 or more.
On Wednesday, March 17th, the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee held a public hearing on House Bill 1141–an act relating to the Washington ‘Death with Dignity’ law. The ‘Death with Dignity’ law or Initiative-1000, is a state law passed over a decade ago that allows a physician to provide a terminally-ill adult with less than 6 months to live, the lethal amount of medical doses they need to end their life if they choose to do so.
Also on Wednesday, the House College & Workforce Development committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 5321–an act that aims to expand access to the College Bound Scholarship Program, which provides a 4-year tuition to students from low-income families. students who are awarded the scholarship must use it within a 5-year period.
Our final coverage of Wednesday’s session focused on a public hearing by the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, where House Bill 1113 was discussed. The bill was requested by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and aims to extend the truancy petition requirements for school districts.
On Thursday, March 18th, the House Finance Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 1362–an act that proposes changing the annual property tax growth limit from a 1% increase, to a formula that ties increases to population changes and inflation, capping annual increases at 3%.
On the same day, the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee held a public hearing. On the agenda, was House Bill 1280. The bill makes it a state policy for major public facilities to incorporate practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their design, and to consider the use of all-electric energy systems, and at least one renewable energy or combined heat and power system in these structures.
We wrapped up our legislative coverage that day with a public hearing by the Senate Business, Financial Services & Trade committee’s discussion on House Bill 1139–an act that aims to help those with previous criminal convictions obtain a professional license for their trade. The bill does this by allowing them to request a determination of whether their criminal history disqualifies them from obtaining a license from the Department of Licensing.
On Friday, March 19th, the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee convened to discuss House Bill 1272.
The Bill aims to improve transparency in the state’s health system by requiring hospitals to include additional details in their financial reports plus other information to the Department of Health.
On the same day, the House Civil Rights & Judiciary committee convened for an executive session on Senate Bill 5038, which aims to prohibit the open carry of weapons at public demonstrations and state capitol grounds.
Senate bill 5038 passed on a strictly party line vote, and will likely be a highly-contentious bill if it makes it to the house floor.
To keep up with daily highlights in the state legislature, keep watching Legislative Review daily at 8 and 11PM.
Likewise, you can watch all the full coverage of all the aired hearings and sessions on www.tvw.org