State lawmakers work into the night to pass more than 200 bills before first major deadline

February 19, 2014

When the state House of Representatives adjourned Monday night—actually at 12:32 a.m. Tuesday, February 18th, lawmakers had passed over a hundred bills that day. The Senate, which adjourned at 11:38 p.m. Monday evening, passed thirty-nine measures. The fast pace continued until Tuesday’s 5:00 p.m. deadline for acting on non-budget related bills in the house of origin.

The final tally for the two-day marathon session is 125 bills passed in the House and 79 bills in the Senate. This brings the total number of bills passed so far in this year’s session to 335 bills in the House and 190 bills in the Senate. For the 2013-14 legislative cycle to date, the numbers are 730 bills passed in the House and 589 bills passed in the Senate.

The last bill to pass the House on Tuesday was Senate Bill 6523, the Senate version of the Washington State Dream Act, to provide financial aid for students who were brought to the United States illegally as children.  The bill passed 75 to 22 and will now go to the Governor’s desk.  It is the first bill to pass both houses of the legislature this session. 

In the Senate, the last bill to be considered before the cut-off date was SB 5246, to require that statewide student test scores be used as part of teacher evaluations. The bill was considered a priority for the Majority Coalition Caucus, but it failed, when seven Republican senators joined with minority Democrats to defeat it 19-28. According to Coalition leaders the defeat marked the first time the Majority Coalition Caucus had failed to pass one of its bills.

Other bills that made news include:

• HB 2451, to prohibit health professionals from providing sexual orientation change efforts to clients under18 years old. It passed the House by a vote of 94-4.

• HB 1888, to permit the development of an industrial hemp industry and ensure that production of industrial hemp is in compliance with state law. It passed the House by a vote of 97-0.

• SB 6194, to give counties with fewer than 50,000 residents the ability to opt out of the planning requirements of the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA). It passed the Senate by a vote of 47-0. 

• HB 2347, to study the state's capacity to respond to oil train accidents, and to require the Department of Ecology (DOE) to compile quarterly oil transportation reports. The bill would also authorize the DOE to require tug escorts for oil tankers in Grays Harbor and on the Columbia River, and require additional tug escorts for oil tankers in Puget Sound. It passed the House by a vote of 57-37.

For more details and to see who voted “yes” and who voted “no” on these and other important bills please go to www.washingtonvotes.org and type in the bill number in the “Look Up Bills” feature on the home page.