Washington state House, Senate pass major bills

State requires sex ed, takes gun safety measures, bans free plastic bags

By Cameron Sheppard

WNPA News Service

OLYMPIA — At the end of the state legislative session this month, lawmakers had passed nearly 400 bills — averaging at least five new laws per day — focused on a variety of policies including comprehensive sex education, letting 17-year-olds vote in primary elections and limiting the cost of insulin.

Gov. Jay Inslee has until April 1 — 20 days from the end of the session — to sign bills into law.

Here are some of the most impactful bills passed by the state House of Representatives and state Senate during the 60 days they were in session.

EDUCATION

• HB 2589 — Requires school districts to put suicide prevention information and resources on the back of student and staff ID cards.

• HB 2551— Allows Native American students to wear traditional tribal regalia and objects of cultural significance at graduation ceremonies and related events.

• SB 5395 — Requires public schools to adopt an age-appropriate and inclusive comprehensive sexual education curriculum for grades K-12.

• SB 6561 — Provides student loan program for undocumented students who may be ineligible for federal student loans because of their citizenship status.

RIGHT & EQUITY

• HB 2602 — Prohibits employers and schools from discriminating against hair textures and hair styles worn by members of various ethnic groups.

• HB 2527 — Protects participation in the U.S. census free of threat and guarantees confidentiality of information and identity of a census worker.

• HB 2567 — Prohibits the arrest of undocumented immigrants and others on courthouse property for civil matters.

• SB 5900 — Creates the position of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Coordinator within the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs to be an advocate for LGBTQ+ veterans.

• SB 5165 — Expands the Washington Law Against Discrimination to include a prohibition on discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status, unless differential treatment on the basis of citizenship or immigration status is authorized by federal or state law, regulation, or government contract.

• HB 5511 — Establishes the Governor’s Statewide Broadband Office with the goal of expanding broadband access across the state.

• SB 5600 — Extends the three-day notice to pay and vacate for default in rent payment to 14 days notice for tenancies under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act and changes rules of eviction process while giving more information and resources to tenants given eviction notice.

• HB 2870 — Establishes a Marijuana Social Equity Program that authorizes the Liquor and Cannabis Board to issue previously forfeited, cancelled, revoked and unissued marijuana retailer licenses to eligible applicants adversely impacted by the enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws.

• SB 6313 — Allows people to vote in a primary election if they are 17 years old, but will be 18 by the general election. Requires that the Department of Licensing provide an automated process for 16- and 17-year-olds to sign up to register to vote. Requires that public universities, if requested by the student government, and certain public university branch campuses open student engagement hubs to provide ballots.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

• HB 2785 — Adds an additional public member and a representative of federally-recognized tribes to the Criminal Justice Training Commission for a total of 16 members. Requires one CJTC public member from east and one from west of the Cascade mountains and at least one of the two public members must be from an historically underrepresented community or communities.

• SB 6063 — Requires the Department of Corrections to develop and implement uniform standards for determining when a patient’s current health status requires a referral for consultation or treatment outside the department.

• HB 2632 — Modifies the crime of false reporting, and elevates the crime to a felony if it involves certain conduct and results in death or bodily harm. Creates a civil cause of action for a victim to recover damages associated with false reporting.

• HB 2640 — Exempts the ICE detention facility in Tacoma from the Growth Management Act based on the premise that it is “not an essential public facility,” and therefore, prohibits it from expansion.

• SB 5720 — Increases involuntary mental hold from 72 to 120 hours, not counting weekends.

HEALTH CARE

• SB 5386 — Directs the Collaborative for the Advancement of Telemedicine to develop training that may be taken by health care professionals who use telemedicine technology.

• SB 6259 — Directs the Health Care Authority to negotiate to include reimbursement for services by behavioral health aides certified by tribes or the Indian Health Service in the state Medicaid program. Declares the intent of the Legislature to address the ongoing suicide and addiction crisis among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

• SB 6087 — Limits out-of-pocket expenses for a 30-day supply of insulin to $100 and requires the Health Care Authority to monitor the price of insulin.

• SB 6088 — Establishes the prescription drug affordability board. Requires the board to identify prescription drugs priced above a certain threshold and authorizes the board to conduct cost reviews of drugs and set upper payment limits for state purchasers.

TAXES

• HB 2803 — Lets tribes keep some state sales tax, business and occupation tax and use tax via a compact with the governor regarding goods sold and business transacted on tribal land.

• SB 5147 — Exempts feminine hygiene products permanently from sales and use tax.

• SB 6212 — Expands use of the existing affordable housing property tax levy to include affordable homeownership, owner-occupied home repair, and foreclosure prevention programs for low-income households with income at or below 80 percent of county median income.

• SB 6068 — Exempts work done on large private airplanes from the sales and use tax to incentivize aerospace maintenance and alteration work in communities like Moses Lake.

ENVIRONMENT

• HB 2311 — Changes greenhouse emissions standards and goals based on the newest available climate science.

• HB 2528 — Recognizes timber and forestry industry as one that absorbs atmospheric carbon and produces net-negative atmospheric carbon.

• HB 1114 — Establishes a goal of reducing food waste in the state by 50 percent of 2015 levels by 2030.

• SB 5947 — Requires the Department of Agriculture to develop a sustainable farms and fields grant program to award grants to certain activities, including on-farm fossil fuel input efficiency measures, agroforestry, and carbon farming.

• SB 5323 — Bans retail stores from distributing single-use plastic bags and allows them to charge 8 cents each for a reusable plastic or paper bag.

• HB 2722 — Establishes minimum recycled content requirements for plastic containers of certain beverages sold, offered for sale, or distributed in Washington. The required post-consumer recycled content would rise to 50 percent by 2030. Establishes fees as high as 30 cents per pound for beverage manufacturers who fail to meet minimum post-consumer recycled content requirements.

FIREARMS

• HB 2555 — Requires gun dealers to conduct background checks on persons buying certain parts; specifically frames or receivers which are the pistol or rifle parts that provide housing for the hammer, bolt and other mechanics of a firearm.

• HB 2467 — Establishes a centralized state background check system for firearms transfers.

• SB 6288 — Creates the Washington Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention within the Department of Commerce Office for data collection to prevent instances of gun violence and suicide

• HB 2622 — Expands enforcement on persons ordered to surrender firearms over no contact and extreme risk protection orders.

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This story is part of a series of news reports from the Washington State Legislature provided through a reporting internship sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.

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