Senate Bill 5107 provides that a distinct and separate prevailing wage must be calculated and paid to workers employed in residential construction for public works. It also changes the definition of residential construction to include incidental items such as site work, parking areas, utilities, and streets and sidewalks. The intent of the bill is to clarify how wages are to be paid when both commercial and residential construction is involved in a project, such as low income housing which might also have commercial building space. It passed the Senate on March 13 by a vote of 26-23.
Sens. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, and Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, voted against the bill.
Firearms offender registry
House Bill 1612 requires the Washington State Patrol to establish and maintain a central registry for firearm offenders. It is up to the court to decide whether a person convicted of a firearms offense must register, and the registry is for law enforcement use only, i.e. it is not public. It is a misdemeanor to fail to register when required. It passed the House on March 12 by a vote of 85-10.
Reps. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, Dean Takko, D-Longview, Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, and Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, voted for the bill.
House Bill 1840 prohibits possession of a firearm by a person subject to certain protection, no-contact, and restraining orders, and requires the person to surrender firearms, dangerous weapons, and the person’s concealed pistol license while the order is in place. The restrictions only apply when the order was issued after notice and an opportunity by the person to participate. The order must also include a finding that the restrained person is a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner or an intimate partner’s child. The bill also includes sexual assault protection orders on the list of orders qualifying for weapons surrender. It passed the House on March 12 by a vote of 61-37.
Tharinger voted for the bill. Blake, Takko and Van De Wege voted against it.
Health Care Exchange
The Washington Health Care Exchange was established as a consequence of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA to be a clearinghouse for the purchase of health insurance by individuals or employers. House Bill 1947 provides that, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the Exchange may impose an assessment on health and dental plans sold through the Exchange to fund its operations in the following calendar year. The Exchange may only impose the assessment if the expected insurance premium taxes and other funds, such as federal grants, deposited in the Health Care Exchange Account are insufficient to fund operations in the following calendar year at the level appropriated by the Legislature. The bill passed the House on March 11 by a vote of 69-29.
Blake, Takko, Tharinger and Van De Wege voted for the bill.
Greenhouse gas emissions
The bill creates the Legislative and Executive Work Group that will commission consultants to prepare a report evaluating different approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The evaluation must include a review of comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction programs implemented in other states, regions and countries. It must analyze Washington’s policies to stabilize or reduce GHG emissions that will contribute to meeting the GHG emission reduction targets, including: renewable fuels standard; energy codes adopted by the state building code council; emission performance standards; appliance standards; energy efficiency programs for public buildings conversion of public vehicles to clean fuels; and public purchasing requirements of vehicles that use clean fuels. It passed the Senate on March 13 by a vote of 37-12.
Hargrove voted for the bill. Hatfield voted against it.