How they voted in Olympia 2/4

Higher education

Senate Bill 6523 would add students who receive federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status to the eligibility for the State Needs Grant (SNG) tuition assistance program. DACA status applies to children who were brought to the United States by their parents illegally. The bill, called the “Real Hope Act,” would make DACA status students eligible for the SNG if they completed the full senior year of high school and obtained a diploma or its equivalent at a Washington public or private high school; lived in Washington for at least three years immediately prior to receiving the diploma or its equivalent; and continuously lived in the state after receiving the diploma or its equivalent and until being admitted to a public institution of higher education. This bill seeks to accomplish the same overall goals as HB 1817, the “Washington State Dream Act,” which was passed by the House on the first day of this year’s legislative session. It passed the Senate on Jan. 31 by a vote of 35-10.

Sens. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, and Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, voted for the bill.

Sick leave

House Bill 1313 would require employers in Washington State with more than four full-time equivalent employees to provide paid leave to employees for: (1) specified medical reasons relating to the employee’s or a family member’s health; (2) reasons permitted under existing law requiring unpaid leave for purposes related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking; or (3) closure of the employee’s place of business. An employer must compensate an employee who uses sick and safe leave at the same hourly rate and with the same benefits as the employee would have earned during the time leave is taken. No compensation would be required for lost tips or commissions and compensation is only required for hours that the employee was scheduled to work. It passed the House on Jan. 29 by a vote of 52-45.

Reps. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, Dean Takko, D-Longview, Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, and Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, all voted for the bill.

Voter registration

House Bill 1279 would authorize the Department of Licensing (DOL) to pre-register a person to vote who is at least 16 years of age at the time he or she applies for a driver’s license or identicard. The information contained in the voter pre-registration application would be exempt from public inspection and copying. Current law requires the DOL to provide voter registration services to persons applying for or renewing a driver’s license or identicard if they are United States citizens and are at least 18 years old on or before the next election. Eight states currently allow pre-registration of individuals younger than 18, including Oregon and California. It passed the House on Jan. 27 by a vote of 54-42.

Blake, Takko, Tharinger and Van De Wege all voted for the bill.

Registration deadlines

House Bill 1267 would change the time period for online voter registration from 29 to 11 days before a primary or general election; the time period for in-person registration from 8 to 11 days before an election; and the time period for mail-in registrations from 29 to 28 days before an election. An earlier version of the bill would have allowed on-line registration up to eight days before an election, and in-person registration at a county auditor’s office until 5:00 p.m. on the day of an election. County auditors, however, testified in Committee hearings that same-day registration would place too great a burden on their offices. The bill was amended on the floor to its current content when it previously passed the House during the 2013 legislative session. It passed the House on Jan. 27 by a vote of 59-37.

Blake, Takko, Tharinger and Van De Wege all voted for the bill.

Voting Rights Act

House Bill 1413 would prohibit elections in Washington’s political subdivisions that are applied in a way that denies a protected class an equal opportunity to elect candidates of its choice or to influence the outcome of an election, Protected class means a class of voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group. To avoid any potential violations of voting rights, the bill would authorize political subdivisions of the state to change from at-large to district-based election systems, or to redraw districts in existing district-based systems. A violation of voting rights would be shown by demonstrating that the elections in the political subdivision have polarized voting and members of a protected class lack an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice or to influence election outcomes. Polarized voting means voting in which there is a difference in the choice of candidates or other electoral choices that are preferred by voters in a protected class, and the choices that are preferred by voters in the rest of the electorate. Remedies include court-imposed and supervised redistricting. It passed the House on Jan. 27 by a vote of 53-43.

Blake, Takko, Tharinger and Van De Wege all voted for the bill.



Rules for posting comments