Updated February 13, 2011

The Legislative Action Committee is chaired by Les Treall. You can reach Les via e-mail here or at 206.948.5423.

ATTENTION!

Archive Material from the 2010 Legislative Session

This page contains only archive (older) material from the 2010 legislative session. It is out of date! The current year's material is on the legislative action page here.


2010 Legislative Session Wrap-Up
Updated April 29, 2010
•   Winners and Losers in the 2010 Session - Seattle Times ~ April 14th
•   Scorecard from the Seattle Times ~ April 14th


King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee Update
as of February 14, 2010

To get more information about any bill, go here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

Senate Passes ESSB 6130 to supsend Initiative 960
The State Senate on Wednesday passed and sent to the House a bill to suspend Initiative 960 for 2 years. Initiative 960 is Tim Eyman's initiative that gives 1/3 of the members of either house the ability to prevent passage of any measure to raise revenue or repeal under - performing tax exemptions. see also Seattle Times "Senate OKs suspension of tax-limiting initiative" ESSB 6130 had a Hearing before the House Finance Committee on Saturday at 9:00 AM The hearing was well attended by advocates to suspend I-960. "The House Finance Committee voted 6-3 along party lines to approve Senate Bill 6130, clearing the way for a vote in the full House within the next few days" read more in the Seattle Times "Lawmakers praised, scolded, as House panel approves suspension of I-960" Contact your House members urging they support ESSB 6130.

State Budget Deficit Grows Another $96 million to $2.7 Billion
As reported in the Seattle Times "Washington's budget shortfall grew by about $96 million Wednesday morning as lawmakers received the latest forecast of caseloads and enrollment costs for schools, health care and services for the poor and disabled. The new figure was reported to the Washington State Caseload Forecast Council, a group that tries to objectively measure future state expenses that lawmakers can use in writing the budget. It means state lawmakers now face roughly a $2.7 billion budget shortfall, instead of $2.6 billion. The additional $96 million expense is mostly due to higher-than-expected costs at K-12 schools"

State Budget grows to $2.8 billion
More bad news - The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council While revenue forcasts came in $61.3 million higher; a legal decision in "Dot Foods, Inc. vs. Washington Department of Revenue" will result in an estimated USD 56.8 million in refunds to Dot Foods and similar businesses and USD 94.8 in foregone taxes during the current biennium, totaling USD 154 million." The net result is "the forecast of collections for the remainder of the biennium is reduced by USD 117.6 million.

Working for Clean Water (HB 3181/SB 6851)
HB 3181 -Concerning the clean water act of 2010 funding cleanup of water pollution and other programs necessary for the health and well-being of Washington citizens through an increase in the tax on hazardous substances. Sponsors: Representatives Ormsby, Hunter, Clibborn, Dunshee, Upthegrove, Rolfes, Wood, Williams, Springer, Dickerson, Liias, Sells, Roberts, Kagi, Cody, Green, Eddy, Nelson, White, Hunt, Orwall, Hudgins, Pettigrew, Darneille, Appleton, Chase, Pedersen, Kenney, Maxwell, Flannigan, Kirby, Carlyle, Goodman, McCoy, Simpson This bill addresses cleaning up stormwater runoff. The Department of Ecology has estimated some 14 million pounds of toxic chemicals are in the runoff that en=ters Puget Sound each year. This is also a jobs bill - funds will result in new jobs in Washington State. This bill is scheduled to have a hearing Feb 17, 2010 in the House Committee on Capital Budget at 3:30 PM. Please contact House and Senate members urging support for this bill.

Contact Senators Now to Vote for SB 5912 -public financing Supreme Court races
e-mail from Craig Salins - Executive Director WA Public Campaigns THANK YOU! SB 5912 in the "Leadership Package Pull". We will SUPPORT a Senate vote!! Majority Leader Senator Brown, Senators Eide, Marr, and Murray: cc: SB 5912 sponsors / co-sponsors, Sens. Eric Oemig, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Craig Pridemore, Mary Margaret Haugen THANK YOU ! - for pulling SB 5912 to the Senate floor. We will be working every grassroots angle to shore up public awareness and support for this, and to let state senators that this bill should be enacted into law. This bill will send a powerful message. The Washington State Supreme Court is not for sale! And at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court ruling now allows corporations to spend lavishly from their treasuries to influence the outcome of elections - we in Washington State say, No! Elections must be decided by VOTERS - not by special interest campaign financiers! SB 5912 is a modest, practical proposal. It requires no general fund appropriation. The program is paid for entirely through an affordable and modest $3 surcharge on court filing fees (less than the cost of photocopying most court paperwork!) And the $3 surcharge would apply only to court fees that are $20 or more (under the proposed striker bill to SB 5912). The bill creates a reasonable system by which candidates must first qualify for public financing - so that they first demonstrate community support - raising at least $41,000 privately, from at least 500 in-state donors (in amounts no larger than $400).

Contact your Senator now to support this bill!
This evening the Senate Rules Committee moved the Judicial Finance Bill to the Senate Floor Calendar! Let's keep working to have the Senate pass it by Tuesday's deadline! One last push is needed to get the bill passed by Tuesday February 16. Otherwise the bill is dead for the year. . We especially need Jean Berkey (38th), Margarita Prentice (11th), Steve Hobbs (44th), Claudia Kaufman (47th) and Tracey Eide (30th) to vote yes. Then it's on to the house.

Secure Medicine Return 2SSB 5279
The week the Senate Ways & Means squeaked out 2SSB 5279 (Providing for the safe collection and disposal of unwanted drugs from residential sources through a producer provided and funded product stewardship program) by just 12 votes & just before the fiscal deadline!
1. Please get a word of thanks to those 12 who stepped up for Washington's youth and prescription drug abuse prevention: Senators Fairley, Fraser, Keiser, Kline, Kohl-Welles, McDermott, Murray, Oemig, Pflug, Prentice, Pridemore, and Rockefeller.
2. Please ask all your Senators, starting with those on Senate Rules to please help pass this measure to the House. Your help is needed to keep this bill rolling. There is considerable opposition from some drug companies, opposition we need to counter! 2SSB 5279 is now in Senate Rules. Contact your Senators to urge they pass this bill before the Tuesday Feb 16th cutoff date. The House bill HB 1165 is in Rules. Contact House members to act on it.

HB 3177 Housing Trust Fund from Sarajane Siegfriedt
We need emails to members of the House Capital Budget Committee to move HB 3177 which includes the State Housing Trust Fund, co-sponsored by Reps. Nelson, White, Chase, Ormsby and Orwall. Reps. Ormsby, Chase, Orwall and White are on the House Capital Budget Committee and can be thanked. It's the other members, Democrats in particular, who need to vote yes. See below. That's Reps. Blake and Maxwell in particular, but also Reps. Dunshee, Jacks and Morell if you live in their districts. This bill closes a loophole that would charge a $62 property transfer fee when banks resell mortgages. It uses this revenue stream to fund a bond sale. The bonds would replace the $100 bill annually for the Housing Trust Fund that has 2,000 units of low and moderate income housing vetted and in the pipeline, literally shovel-ready. Since State Housing Trust Fund dollars are leveraged 4:1 this is a $500,000 infusion of funds. It doesn't get any more efficient than that. This will create over 2,400 construction jobs in the hardest-hit industry in the state. Here are the members of the House Capital Budget Committee who will vote Feb. 18th on this: Dunshee, Ormsby, Warnick, Pearson, Anderson, Blake, Chase, Hope,Jacks ,Maxwell,McCune, Morrell, Orwall, Smith, White

Energy Efficiency - SSB 6656
SSB 6656 is a pilot financing proposal for communities around Puget Sound. The pilot program will help Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue and other smaller municipalities offer bonds to provide energy efficiency loans to their residents and businesses. This is a very important first step for the state to help local communities address the financial barrier to energy efficiency investments. This bill will also help communities access additional efficiency funding from the federal government. Washington needs this program to show the federal Department of Energy the infrastructure is in place to ramp of energy efficiency projects. Please contact your Senator by calling the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 with this message: Please support Substitute Senate Bill 6656 and Senator Rockefeller's floor amendments. Background: Access to financing for energy efficiency projects is a critical barrier facing business owners and families who want to improve their buildings' efficiency and reduce energy use. SSB 6656 will remove these barriers by allowing municipalities and counties to issue bonds to finance loans for commercial and residential energy efficiency upgrades. The loans would be repaid through utility bills, with the savings realized through the upgrades. For more information on the bill, visit: http://www.nwenergy.org/eefa Please contact your Senator by calling the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 with this message: Please support Substitute Senate Bill 6656 and Senator Rockefeller's floor amendments. from e-mail by NW Energy Coalition

Labor Report - from Brad Larssen
HB 1992 - Regarding Prevailing Wage on Projects that involve Tax Incentives, Public Loans, Public Land, or Public Property that is Sold or Leased. Prevailing Wage Laws have governed Public Works projects for generations. In recent years, however, an increasing amount of taxpayer dollars are going toward projects that evade these policies. Public/Private Partnerships; Sales, Leases, and Swaps of Public Lands, often at far below market value; Tax Incentives and Public Loans of all sorts... have been used in ways that evade Prevailing Wage Laws and allow substandard and often exploitive wages to be paid on projects largely or substantially financed by Public Funds. HB 1992 is designed to stop these abuses. This bill applies to projects over $ 1,000,000. This bill is long overdue, and is one of our LAC Legislative Priorities for this session. Please contact your legislators, Speaker Frank Chopp, and House Rules Committee members and urge that they support HB 1992 and pass this bill by Feb. 16. That is the cut-off date for bills to pass in the house of origin.

HB 2789 - Authorizing Issuance of Subpoenas for Agency Investigations of Underground Economy activity. Two of our priorities from last year were passed and became law: The Underground Economy Bill, and The Issuance of Stop Work Orders to help in enforcement of this law and existing laws. HB 2789 would further assist enforcement and investigation of contractors who fail to pay their required state payroll taxes. It would expedite investigation of contractors who refuse to cooperate with state agency investigations. This bill, HB 2789, also needs to be passed by the House by the Feb. 16 cut-off date.

SB 6035 - Retro Reform Retro Programs involve insurance pools to reduce risks involving injured workers. These funds should be used for their stated purpose to insure against worker injuries and to reduce risks to the employers in these pools. Some Retro funds have diverted large amounts from such funds for other purposes, including political campaigns. SB 6035 would provide greater regulation and transparency concerning these Retro Programs. It was a priority of ours last year, and has been reintroduced this session. This bill nearly made it last year, passing in the Senate, but stalled in the House Rules Committee. It was reintroduced on Jan. 11, 2010, but it has been placed in the Senate " X File," and action appears unlikely. Collective Bargaining Bills Several bills have been introduced concerning extending Collective Bargaining Rights to several groups of workers not now covered, including early childhood educators, musicians, adult family home providers, 2-year college faculty, and other higher education faculty. Some of these bills are still alive. Others are not moving. The easiest way to track these bills is to enter Collective Bargaining in the Keyword Search box on the State Legislature website, bill information screen. This will give you a list of all these bills in one place.


King County Democrats 2010 Legislative Agenda
as of January 30, 2010

In December the King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee met to finalize our Legislative Action Agenda for 2010. The 2010 Washington State Legislature convened on January 11, 2010. The session only lasts 60 days.

The main focus will be on dealing with a projected additional $2.6 billion shortfall for the remainder of this 2 year budget cycle. The King County Democrats Legislative Action Agenda includes both short and long term priority goals, realizing that it will be difficult to enact new legislation in this short session under difficult budget constraints. The 2009 Legislative session raised no new revenue.

The King County Democrats support trying to bridge this new gap of an additional $2.6 billion shortfall by trying to raise 2/3 of it through new revenue and 1/3 by additional cuts. This will require suspending or repealing the constraints of Initiative 960 which require a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to raise any revenue or eliminate any special interest tax exemptions. I-960, having been in place 2 years, can now be amended or repealed by a simple majority of the Washington State Legislature. I-960 is actually in contradiction to the Washington State Constitution which says the Legislature shall act by majority vote. I-960 allows a minority of Legislators to block any revenue increase and Legislators have been reluctant to question the constitutionality of I-960. A suit by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown was not acted on by the State Supreme Court saying it was an internal issue for the Legislature, not the Courts, to address.

Below is the Adopted 2010 Legislative Agenda for the King County Democrats: King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee 2010 Legislative Agenda

1. Revenue
  •    Repeal I-960 and raise revenue to provide adequate funding for vital state services - repeal provisions requiring supermajority votes to approve tax and revenue issues, raise at least 2/3 of shortfall via new revenue and repealing tax exemptions

2. Tax Reform
  •    Repeal non-performing corporate tax breaks, sunset tax exemptions every 5 to10 years
  •    Require Tax Expenditure Reports as part of state budget process, prioritize exemptions, require approval as part of budget process
  •    Implement a state income tax on high income earners over $250,000
  •    Tax reduction for low income households and small businesses - Homestead Exemption or circuit breaker legislation

3. Banking, Foreclosure and Predatory Lending Reform
  •    Require lenders to use mediation, require proper maintenance of foreclosed homes, give homeowners right to rent former homes, increase state enforcement powers, extend initial timeline to respond to foreclosure to 90 days from 30 days, and give whistle-blower protections to employees at lending institutions.
  •    Establish a public Washington State Bank similar to North Dakota's for infrastructure

4. Human Services
  •    "Disability Lifeline"--Protect poverty programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Apple Health for kids, Basic Health, Emergency Food Assistance, Medicaid, mental health, substance abuse treatment and General Assistance for people with disabilities
  •    Prohibit source of income (e.g., Sec. 8) as a means to discriminate
  •    Pass Fair Tenant Screening Act to regulate screeners and make reports valid for 60 days

5. Housing
  •    Promote State Housing Trust Fund at 50% of previous level of effort (or $50 million) as a shovel-ready jobs bill
  •    Workforce Housing Fund Construct or purchase 25,000 rental units through housing authorities for working families at or below 80% of median income
  •    Homebuilding Revitalization Act -give homeowners recourse to remedy defects in new homes that need repair

6. Environmental Priorities:
  •    Invest in Clean Water Bill (HB 1640) raise funds for clean water infrastructure and storm water control by imposing a per-barrel fee on petroleum products.
  •    Safe Baby Bottle Act will phase out harmful bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles, etc.
  •    Oppose budget cuts to environmental programs
  •    Create recycling program for fluorescent lights - require lighting producers to provide a convenient statewide recycling program for fluorescent lights to prevent exposure to and release of toxic mercury

7. Public Health and Safety
  •    Secure Medicine Return - require drug producers to provide secure collection and environmentally sound disposal of unwanted, unused, or expired medicines, as they do in other countries.

8. Election and Initiative Reform
  •    Public Financing of campaigns for Washington State Supreme Court - optional public financing for campaigns, providing adequate sums to run competitive campaigns
  •    Universal Voter Registration - opt out, not opt in, legislation for motor voter registration
  •    Same-day voter registration
  •    Increase initiative filing fee to $100; $25 when file with Secretary of State, $75 when re-file for ballot title and summary; alt - $100 or 500 signatures
  •    Require signature gatherers to be Washington State residents
  •    Set up Citizen's Initiative Review Process like recent Oregon legislation.
  •    Support initiative signatures being public

9. L&I "Retro Reform"
  •    Greater regulation and transparency of L&I insurance pool refunds(S 6035)

10. Labor
  •    Collective bargaining for musicians, early childhood educators, 2-year college faculty, lecturers and interpreters
  •    Require prevailing wages to be paid on all public private partnerships and projects involving public or private land

11. Education
  •    Redefining funding formula for basic education
  •    More options for helping underperforming schools
  •    Levy Equalization
  •    Include early learning education for at risk children in definition of basic education

12. Criminal Justice
  •    Revise three strikes and sentencing guidelines
  •    Change how juveniles are sentenced as adults King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee

- Sarajane Siegfriedt & Steve Zemke Co-Chairs


First LAC Meeting is January 26th!
The first meeting of the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) is next Tuesday, January 26th at the Uptown Espresso on California & Edmunds (one block south of the California Junction) at 7:00 PM. This is an exciting time to get involved in State & local legislative issues. We hope you will join us.
We also hope you'll join us for the King County Legislative Action Day in Olympia on February 15th (President's Day). Please contact LAC Chair Greg Doss to RSVP for this event (details below).
This page will show more information about the Committee, the KCDCC Legislative Action Day and the latest news about what's going on in Olympia. This site will be regularly updated after the first LAC meeting.

What does the 34th's Legislative Action Committee do?
The LAC plays a critical role in motivating and mobilizing members into action with our State Legislature. It's imperative that our delegation and other legislative leaders hear about the issues that matter to members of the 34th. The current $2.5 Billion budget gap and many unresolved policy issues from last Session make it more important than ever that our voices are heard in Olympia.
That's where you come in. At the upcoming meeting, we'll learn about your interests and connect you with resources that can help you to track and stay involved with key issues. We'll also help you pass on to other members the information they need to get involved. We hope that you will join us and make our district one of the loudest in Olympia!

What is the King County Democrats (KCDCC) Legislative Action Day in Olympia?
Each Legislative Session, the KCDCC organizes a one-day meeting between legislators, the Governor and Legislative District members. Any 2010 member of the 34th District Democrats is welcome to attend.
This year's group will in the morning be addressed by Governor Gregoire, given an overview of priority bills and receive brief presentations by King County Legislators. In the afternoon, attendees will be given the opportunity to meet one-on-one with legislators or attend presentations given by our delegation - Senator Joe McDermott, Representatives Sharon Nelson and Eileen Cody.
The KCDCC requests a $20 donation for a box lunch that will be served during the presentations. Attendees should bring a check made out to King County Democrats.
To RSVP for Legislative Action Day please contact by February 8th, LAC Chair Greg Doss via e-mail or at 206-755-6385.


News as of May, 2009

King County Dems (KCDCC) Legislative Wrap- Up:

This link is the final update for the 2009 Legislative Session. It contains the final status of bills that were actively worked by the KCDCC. It highlights the Party's successes and failures and serves as a good reference for the upcoming 2010 Legislative Session.

Representative Nelson's Payday Lending Bill signed into law

KCDCC sent an e-mail warning that the Governor might veto important sections of the bill. Thanks to all of you who made calls to her office. The Governor signed the final bill and it implements the following changes:
•       Limits borrowers to eight payday loans per year
•       Limits the total value of loans an individual can have out at any given time to $700 or 30% of their monthly income, whichever is less
•       Sets a minimum loan term of either the borrower's next pay date, or if the pay period is less than a week, the following pay date
•       Requires lenders to offer borrowers a payment/installment plan to repay their payday loan if the borrower is unable to repay it all at once
•       Prohibits lenders from giving a payday loan to a borrower who is in default on another payday loan
•       Sets up a database, maintained by the Department of Financial Institutions, to enforce the above provisions


Older News

Single-payer health reform bill introduced in Senate

Would save $400 billion on bureaucracy, enough to cover all 46 million uninsured Americans

Challenging head-on the powerful private insurance and pharmaceutical industries, Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a single-payer health reform bill, the American Health Security Act of 2009, in the U.S. Senate Wednesday. The bill is the first to directly take on the powerful lobbies blocking universal health reform in the Senate since Sen. Paul Wellstone's tragic death. The single-payer approach embodied in Sanders' new bill stands in sharp contrast to the reform models being offered by the White House and by key lawmakers like Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Their plans would preserve a central role for the private insurance industry, sacrificing both universal coverage and cost containment during the worst economic crisis since the Depression. In contrast, Sanders' new legislation would cover all of the 46 million Americans who currently lack coverage and improve benefits for all Americans by eliminating co-pays and deductibles and restoring free choice of physician. The most fiscally conservative option for reform, single payer slashes private insurance overhead and bureaucracy in medical settings, saving over $400 billion annually that can be redirected into clinical care.

"This is excellent news for the nation's health," said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program and a past president of the American Public Health Association. "There is now an affordable cure for our dysfunctional health care system. In the face of our present economic calamity, this is an urgent necessity." Highlights of the bill include the following:
  •    Patients go to any doctor or hospital of their choice.
  •    The program is paid for by combining current sources of government health spending into a single fund with modest new taxes amounting to less than what people now pay for insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
  •    Comprehensive benefits, including coverage for dental, mental health, and prescription drugs.
  •    While federally funded, the program is to be administered by the states.
  •    By eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private, investor-owned insurance industry, along with the burdensome paperwork imposed on physicians, hospitals and other providers, the plan saves at least $400 billion annually - enough money to provide comprehensive, quality care to all.
  •    Community health centers are fully funded, giving the 60 million Americans now living in rural and underserved areas access to care.
  •    To address the critical shortage of primary care physicians and dentists, the bill provides resources for the National Health Service Corps to train an additional 24,000 health professionals.

"We are confident that Sen. Sanders' bill will accelerate the national drive for the only reform that we know will work," Young said. "A majority of physicians endorse such an approach. Fifty-nine percent of U.S. physicians support national health insurance. Two-thirds of the public also supports such a remedy. We remember well that President Obama once acknowledged that single-payer national health insurance was the best way to go. It still is." Sanders, who serves on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, is a longtime advocate of fundamental health care reform. His new bill draws heavily upon the single-payer legislation introduced by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) in 1993, S. 491, and closely parallels similar legislation pending before the House, H.R. 1200, introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). A single-payer bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), H.R. 676, obtained 93 co-sponsors in the House during the last session. It has been reintroduced in the new Congress as the U.S. National Health Care Act with the same bill number. A copy of the bill is available here. (PDF)


March 30th Legislative Deadline
On March 30th, the State Legislature will reach a major turning point. A bill that passed one chamber (House or Senate) must have a hearing in the opposite chamber, or it will be dead until next year. Click here to see a copy of the King County Legislative Action (LAC) newsletter. The newsletter contains a list of important bills that must get a hearing before March 30th.

Summary Document of Current Issues and Points of Contact

•       Rep. Sharon Nelson's payday lending bill has passed the house. Here's the link
•       Homeowners' Bill of Rights, which has passed the Senate
•       Budget Savings from Reducing Incarceration
•       Physicians for a National Health Program alerts regarding Single-Payer-system
•       Healthcare issues bill - SB 5945
•       Washington Wildlife Grant Program. See document from Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition
•       State Drug "Pre-emption" - States have won the right to bring suit against drug makers even if the FDA approved the drug - read the details here
•       Worker Privacy Act has died in the legislature. No more action this session.

•       Here is a PDF document from about March 1st which describes housing and payday lending legislation.

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Elected Officers
Marcee Stone-Vekich - 206.465.1963
Chair
Ted Barker - 206.954.7755
First Vice Chair
Tamsen Spengler - 206.932.2772
Second Vice-Chair
Karen Chilcutt - 206.935.3216
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Kathryn Sprigg - 206-933-6754
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Committee Chairs
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Aileen Sison - 206.747.0802
Kari Feeney
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Diversity Co-Chairs
Walter Sive - 206.933.7577
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Carol Frillman - 425.785.7502
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Mike Heavey - 206.755.1576
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Joy Pakulak - 206.937.4750
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