How they voted in Olympia 3/31

Greenhouse gas emissions

Senate Bill 5802 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 House on March 25 by a vote of 61-32 and was delivered to the governor March 27.

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

Vietnam veterans

House Bill 1319 recognizes March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. Public entities must fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag on that date, but it is not recognized as a legal holiday for any other purpose. It passed the Senate on March 25 by a vote of 48-0 and was signed by the governor on March 29.

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

State benefits

Senate Bill 5811 provides that beginning January 1, 2014, all state employee health care benefit plans provided by the state’s health care authority (HCA) must be offered with an employee wellness program. For employees covered by collective bargaining agreements for 2011-2013, the program must be offered after the current bargaining agreement provisions are no longer in effect. The Governor must appoint a committee to consult with and advise the HCA director regarding the wellness program. The bill also clarifies HCA’s role and includes coordination with the Public Employees’ Benefits Board in designing a benefit package. It passed the Senate on March 13 by a vote of 28-21.

Hatfield voted against the bill. Hargrove voted for it.

Mercury fees

Senate Bill 5658 repeals the law passed in 2010, which required producers of mercury-containing lights to create a stewardship program responsible for the collection, recycling, and disposal of these lights, including compact fluorescent lights. Instead, it now requires each producer of mercury-containing lights sold in Washington to pay the Department of Ecology (DOE) a registration fee of up to $10,000 to reimburse unspecified parties for costs of recycling and transporting unwanted mercury-containing lights households. In addition to the $10,000 registration fee, every producer must also pay an administration fee of up $5,000 for DOE’s administration and enforcement costs. The DOE may adopt rules to equitably scale both the registration and administration fees among producers, taking estimated sales volumes into account. It passed the Senate on March 13 by a vote of 26-23.

Hatfield voted for the bill. Hargrove voted against it.

Spay/neuter assistance

Senate Bill 5202 creates an assistance program within the state Department of Health to pay for spaying and neutering of dogs and cats owned by low income individuals, as well as feral and free-roaming cats. It authorizes animal care and control agencies to add up to $1 to pet licenses to fund the program. It passed the Senate on March 13 by a vote of 29-20.

Hatfield and Hargrove voted for the bill.