For years, House Democrats passed progressive policies only to see them stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. With new leadership in the Senate this year, Democrats led the way on advancing major progressive policies to the governor’s desk. There is more to do, but this list is an impressive summary of the work Democrats do to put people first.
Below is a summary of some of the major bills Democrats passed in the 2018 legislative session.
Access to Democracy
- Implemented same-day voter registration and automatic voter registration.
- Passed voter pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds making it easier for them to vote when they turn 18.
- Passed the Washington Voting Rights Act.
- Created the DISCLOSE Act bringing transparency to hidden money in elections.
Education opportunities for all
- Fully funded our education obligations on time and putting the McCleary lawsuit to rest once and for all.
- Increased funding for special education in operating the budget.
- Expanded the Breakfast After the Bell program, which provides nutritious meals to school kids so they can start the day ready to learn.
- Put the state on the right path to fully fund the State need Grant within the next four years.
- Expanded financial aid for Dreamers so DACA recipients have more access to higher education.
- Preserved net neutrality protections.
- Prohibited credit freeze fees so you can freeze and unfreeze your credit accounts without charge when there’s a privacy breach like the notorious Equifax debacle.
- Created the Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect student loan borrowers from fraudulent and predatory practices.
- Banned conversion therapy.
- Required all state health plans to cover, without copay, the same preventive services required by federal law in the Affordable Care Act, such as disease screening and contraception.
- Covered hearing aids in health plans offered to Medicaid enrollees and PEBB covered employees.
- Created a drug take-back program requiring drug manufacturers to offer programs and services to take back unused prescription drugs.
Equality for women
- Passed the Equal Pay Act to eliminate pay secrecy, prohibit retaliation for asking for equal pay, and protect employees from receiving lesser career advancement opportunities based on gender.
- Created the Reproductive Parity Act ensuring women have the option of choosing the healthcare choices that are best for them and their families.
- Required Health care providers cover the cost of 3-D mammograms to better detect early signs of breast cancer.
- Addressed homelessness by funding homeless services and investments across the state.
- Prohibited housing discrimination by stopping landlords from turning away potential tenants who rely on Section 8 vouchers, Social Security, foster care vouchers or veterans benefits.
- Passed the Fair Chance Act or ‘ban the box’ legislation ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity for employment.
- Pushed juvenile justice reforms reducing recidivism and racial disproportionality, and expanding juvenile court jurisdiction to age 25.
- Protected religious freedom by restricting state agencies from sharing personal religious affiliation information with federal authorities.