How they voted in Olympia 3/11


Supplemental Operating Budget

Senate Bill 6002 is the bi-partisan Senate Majority Coalition’s version of different supplemental budget proposals by the Governor and House and Senate Democrats. The bill would add about $96 million in spending, including $38 million for technology programs and supplies for schools, to the $33.6 billion two-year operating budget approved last year. The additional expenditures would be paid for by increased revenue projections of $60 million and savings resulting from reduced needs for state services. It passed the Senate on Feb. 27 by a vote of 41-8.

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

The House version of the 2014 supplemental operating budget seeks to spend $236 million over the $33.6 billion 2013-15 budget approved last year and includes $55 million for school employee cost-of-living pay increases. Tax increases to fund the additional spending, including imposing a sales tax on bottled water, are proposed in a separate bill, HB 2796, which was passed out of committee, but has not passed the House as yet. SB 6002 passed the House on March 4 by a vote of 53-44.

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.

Supplemental Capital Budget

The supplemental capital budget is contained in three bills, SB 6020, the main supplemental capital budget, SB 6081, which provides for new grant programs for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) labs and all-day kindergarten, and SB 6516, which creates and funds a task force on financing water supply and flood and storm water control projects. The Senate passed SB 6081 and SB 6516 earlier this month. Combined, these three bills increase net spending by $121 million over the $3.6 billion 2013-15 capital budget approved last year. Major sources of revenue to support the increase include $71 million in the water pollution control revolving fund and $57 million in the model toxics control act accounts. Among the programs for which SB 6020 provides additional funding are $ 46 million for clean up of toxic waste sites, $46 million for clean water projects, and $14 million for repairs and improvements at state facilities and institutions. SB 6020 passed the Senate on Feb. 28 by a vote of 31-18.

Hatfield and Hargrove voted for the bill.

The House version of the 2014 supplemental capital budget adds a net $166.5 million in construction projects to the 2013-15 budget approved last year. It passed the House on March 4 by a vote of 92-4.

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

Supplemental Transportation Budget

The House version of the 2014 supplemental transportation budget, House Bill 2762, adds $339 million to the existing $8.7 billion budget. A full transportation package for 2013-15 has yet to be enacted and has been the subject of negotiations between House and Senate leaders during the session. It passed the House on March 4 by a vote of 73-24.

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

Senate Bill 6001 is the Senate version of the 2014 supplemental transportation budget, adding $379.5 million to the current $8.7 billion budget. It passed the Senate on March 4 by a vote of 44-5.

Hatfield and Hargrove voted for the bill.

Honeybee products

The supplemental budget, as passed by the Senate, continues to extend certain tax exemptions, like the sales tax exemption for bottled water. Honeybee products and services are also currently exempt from certain business and sales taxes. This exemption is set to expire July 1, 2017. Under Senate Bill 6402, honeybee products would be considered agricultural products. Eligible beekeepers who grow, raise, or produce honeybee products for sale, or provide bee pollination services would be considered farmers with the same tax exemptions farmers have under current law. These tax exemptions are permanent and not subject to an expiration date. It passed the Senate on Feb. 28 by a vote of 48-1.

Hatfield and Hargrove voted for the bill.

Computer data centers

Senate Bill 6550 provides for a sales and use tax exemption for eligible server equipment and eligible power infrastructure located in data centers in which construction starts between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2025. Eligible server equipment affected by this act is equipment installed in a data center built after July 1, 2014, and includes original server equipment and replacement server equipment installed prior to April 1, 2025. Substations do not qualify as eligible power infrastructure. According to testimony in committee, this bill is needed to keep Washington competitive with neighboring states in locating and building computer data centers. It passed the Senate on Feb. 28 by a vote of 35-13.

Hatfield and Hargrove voted for the bill.

Classroom construction

House lawmakers approved House Bill 2797 as part of its capital budget package, proposing to issue $707 million in bonds for classroom construction, to be paid for by future state lottery profits. It passed the House on March 4 by a vote of 90-7.

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

Online agendas

This government transparency measure, House Bill 2105, adds a new section to the Open Public Meetings Act requiring public agencies with governing bodies to post meeting agendas online at least 24 hours in advance of each regular meeting. An agency is not required to post an agenda online if the agency does not have a website or if it employs fewer than 10 full-time equivalent employees. The bill passed the House earlier this session and is now headed to the governor’s desk. It passed the Senate on March 5 by a vote of 41-6.

Hatfield and Hargrove voted for the bill.

Faith-based absenses

Under Senate Bill 5173, employees of the state and its political subdivisions are entitled to two unpaid holidays per year for reasons of faith or conscience or organized religious activities. Employers must allow an employee to take the unpaid holidays on specific days, unless the absence would create an undue hardship or the employee is necessary to maintain public safety. The bill also allows public school students to be absent for up to two days per school year without penalty for reasons of faith or conscience or organized religious activities. The bill passed the Senate earlier this session by a vote of 47-0, but was amended in the House. If the Senate agrees to the House changes, the bill will go to the governor’s desk. It passed the House on March 6 by a vote of 64-32.

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

SOURCE: WashingtonVotes.org

 

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