Week six begins with House Policy Committee Cutoff, the first major deadline for legislation seeking to pass out of the Washington State House of Representatives.
In the Consumer Protection & Business Committee, Rep. Mia Gregerson’s (D-SeaTac) “Fair Repair Act” (HB 1212) is scheduled for executive session. The Fair Repair Act enacts the “right to repair” and requires tech companies to make their tools, parts, and repair information available to smaller, independent repair shops. Also scheduled for executive session is a bipartisan bill to simplify and ease occupational licensing regulations (HB 1399).
Also occurring Monday morning is an executive session on an expansion of the Workforce Education Investment Act (HB 1504) from Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle). The WEI passed in 2019 and dramatically expanded the Washington College Grant (formerly the State Need Grant) to provide 100 percent free tuition to families making $55,000 annually or less and partial scholarships for families making up to $88,000 annually. HB 1504 expands the WEI to include a behavioral health workforce pilot program with grants to community mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers.
The Department of Health will be presenting at a work session of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee with an update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
In the Education Committee, HB 1365 from Rep. Gregerson is also scheduled for executive session. HB 1365 provides for digital equity in our school districts by assisting in the procuring and support of appropriate computers and devices for students and staff.
The Environment & Energy Committee is scheduled to take action on a constitutional amendment from Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow) that states that the people of Washington have the right to a clean and healthy environment and would require the state to be the trustee of natural resources in the state (HJR 4205).
Tuesday morning, the Finance Committee is holding executive session on two bills, HB 1477 from Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) and HB 1460 from Rep. Gregerson. HB 1477 implements the national 988 system for the state to enhance and expand behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services. HB 1460 creates a series of programs to enhance quality of life for seniors, provide low-income customers reduced costs for broadband, discounted rates for schools, community colleges, libraries, hospitals, and community organizations, and establish digital equity programs.
The Appropriations Committee meets in the afternoon to hold a public hearing on the Fair Start for Kids Act (HB 1213) from Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island). Fair Start for Kids aims to make child care more affordable for families, stabilize and expand the diverse child care workforce, support the expansion of child care, and strengthen prevention and intervention services. Also available for public hearing is HB 1372 from Rep. Lekanoff, which replaces the Marcus Whitman statue in the national statuary hall collection with a statue of Billy Frank Jr. The committee will also hold executive session with scheduled action on HB 1044 from Rep. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place), which addresses postsecondary education pathways for incarcerated individuals.
The Transportation Committee has scheduled a public hearing on HB 1091, the low carbon fuel standard from Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-West Seattle).
Wednesday has a strong focus on climate change, with the Capital Budget Committee having scheduled a public hearing on HB 1280, legislation from Rep. Alex Ramel (D-Bellingham) to advance electrification of public buildings, as well as executive session for HB 1103, the Buy Clean and Buy Fair Act from Rep. Davina Duerr.
The Transportation Committee is holding a public hearing on HB 1287 from Rep. Ramel, which builds a complete plan to ensure that Washington’s electric grid and buildings will have charging stations and the power supply necessary to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.
In the Finance Committee, there is a public hearing on HB 1033 from Rep. Leavitt, which extends a tax credit program for small businesses and Washington manufacturers working with students in customized training programs. Also up for public hearing is HB 1503 from Rep. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver), a sales tax exemption on alternative fuels vehicles for low-income households.
Thursday features a lighter day in committees, with public hearings, executive sessions, and work sessions scheduled for Finance, Appropriations, and Transportation, with bills to be announced.
The end of the week features more hearings and executive sessions in Capital Budget, Finance, Appropriations, and Transportation, with bills to be announced