Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

House Democrats halfway through session

The state House Democratic caucus is marking the session's legislative halfway cut off point with record-setting activity. As of yesterday evening, 166 bills had been sent to the state Senate – more than three times the number approved by the same time time two years ago during the 2005 legislative session.

Here's an overview of bills, grouped by category, that advanced through the chamber prior to this week's deadline:

  • HB 1663 establishes a 5-star voluntary rating system for child care centers *
  • HB 1465 provides child care consultation services to caregivers and parents to equip them with effective strategies in addressing problem behavior in children. *
  • HB 1051 allows high school completion at local community colleges for students above a certain age. (sent to Senate)
  • HB 1573 establishes a state-wide, comprehensive dropout prevention plan. *
  • HB 1096 expands the successful Opportunity Grants program **
  • HB 1779 provides scholarship money for college students aspiring to be math and science teachers. *
  • HB 1222 enhances the State Need Grants, providing increased financial aid for low income college students. *
  • HB 1131 provides college scholarships for foster kids. (on floor calendar)
  • HB 1880 creates the Skills-Based Economic Growth Planning Program. *
  • HB 1882 implements the Washington Learns tuition and financial aid recommendations. *
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on education sent its recommendations for $1.3 billion new dollars in education spending to the full committee.
  • HB 1071/SB 5093 extends the provision of health care coverage to all Washington children. *
  • HB 1095 implements the Medicare Part D co-payment program for low income seniors. (Signed by the Governor)
  • HB 1569 creates a Health Insurance Connector to simply and improve the purchase of health insurance. *
  • HB 1201 continues health insurance coverage for former foster children through age 21. (on floor calendar)
  • HB 1460 bars small group health insurance plans from discriminating against mental health treatment. (Sent to Senate)
  • SJM 4016 encouraging Congress to continue the vital State Children’s Health Insurance Program. **
Jobs & Economic Prosperity
  • HB 1277 expands the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool.(in Finance)
  • HB 1091 creates innovation partnership zones. **
  • HB 1276 provides funds to market Washington as a tourism destination. **
  • HB 1178 provides more money and resources to strengthen local economic development councils **
  • HB 1278 reduces unemployment insurance rates for start-up businesses **
  • HB 1695 creates a tax credit for high tech research and development. **
  • HB 1715 creates programs to assist small manufacturers in reducing costs and encourages careers in manufacturing. **
  • HB 1525 identifies and eliminates business regulations creating an undue burden on small businesses. **
  • HB 1311 continues the state program that helps small farms market their products. **
Family Security
  • HB 1359 establishes the Affordable Housing for All plan. *
  • HB 1001 combats auto theft. *
  • HB 1008 protects vulnerable adults from those who are supposed to be helping them **
  • HB 1458 requires that property owners be given written notice before their property can be condemned (on floor calendar)
  • HB 2016 protects private property from being forcibly condemned for economic development (eminent domain – in Rules)
  • HB 2054 establishes a one-stop reporting system for identity theft crimes *
  • HB 1347 requires long-term care facilities to develop emergency preparedness plans. (on Floor calendar)
Our Environment
  • HB 1024 phases out use of a toxic flame retardant known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers used in a wide range of household products such as mattresses and laptops. (in Senate)
  • HB 1303 encourages the replacement of older school buses with fuel efficient vehicles. *
  • HB 1374 creates a new state agency called the Puget Sound Partnership tasked with restoring the health of the Puget Sound by 2020. *
* means bill is in Appropriations, ** means bill is in Rules

The state Senate, meanwhile, has passed a landmark domestic partnerships bill (which I wrote about earlier today). However, the simple majority constitutional amendment for public schools has not yet passed the chamber. Please contact your representatives and let them know you favor this critical legislation.

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