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Legislative Votes | How our legislators voted on key bills in Olympia | Jan. 31

The Washington state House recently passed a number of non-controversial bills with few or no dissenting votes. Votes on the higher education measures and a flame retardant bill described below, however, were split more significantly. No votes were taken in the Senate.

House Bill 1251: Increasing membership on the Opportunity Scholarship Board. Passed the House on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 by a vote of 61-36.

The bill would add two business and industry representatives to the Opportunity Scholarship Board, raising membership from seven to nine. The board oversees programs enacted by the 2011 Legislature to mitigate tuition increases, increase the number of undergraduate degrees, and invest in students to meet labor market demands by raising scholarship funds through a combination of private and state dollars. Proponents said in committee testimony that the proposal would allow the Opportunity Scholarship Board to better reflect the businesses and industries in the state with a growing need for employees in STEM and health care degrees, and would help the Board meet its quorum requirements. No opposing testimony was offered.

41st Legislative District

Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island – Y

Rep. Tana Senn (East King County) – Y

48th Legislative District

Rep. Cyrus Habib – Y

Rep. Ross Hunter, (Medina) – Y

House Bill 1348: Changing collective bargaining to provide additional compensation for academic employees at community and technical colleges. Passed the House on Friday, Jan. 24 by a vote of 63-34.

The bill would require community and technical college boards of trustees to award step increases to academic employees based on collective bargaining agreements and would permit the step increases to exceed compensation provided by the Legislature. In committee testimony, proponents said employees of community and technical colleges are the only group of public employees with no remedy to pay for the step increases they negotiate with management. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges expressed concern that this bill shifts responsibility for paying step increases from the Legislature to local colleges.

41st Legislative District

Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island) – Y

Rep. Tana Senn (East King County) – Y

48th Legislative District

Rep. Cyrus Habib – Y

Rep. Ross Hunter, (Medina) – Y

House Bill 1669: Concerning self-supporting, fee-based programs at four-year institutions of higher education. Passed the House on Friday, Jan. 24 by a vote of 86-11.

This bill would require that when a four-year state college considers changing a degree program that is state funded to a self-supporting, fee-based program it must:

  • • publicly notify prospective students, including notification in admission offers with an estimate of tuition and fees;
  • • provide at least six months notification to enrolled students and undergraduate or graduate student government associations; and
  • • allow students currently enrolled in the program to continue in the state-supported program structure for up to four years.

41Legislative District

Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island) – Y

Rep. Tana Senn (East King County) – Y

48th Legislative District

Rep. Cyrus Habib – Y

Rep. Ross Hunter, (Medina) – Y

House Bill 1536: Changing requirements for membership on community and technical college boards of trustees. Passed the House on Wednesday, Jan. 22 by a vote of 58-39.

This bill would require that boards of trustees of community college districts include at least one member from business and one from organized labor. According to proponents in committee testimony, this would help to ensure community and technical colleges are getting the training that is needed in the workforce with the input from business and labor. No opposing testimony was offered.

41st Legislative District

Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island) – Y

Rep. Tana Senn (East King County) – Y

48th Legislative District

Rep. Cyrus Habib – Y

Rep. Ross Hunter, (Medina) – N

House Bill 1294: Prohibiting certain flame retardants in upholstered furniture or children’s products. Passed the House on Wednesday, Jan. 22 by a vote of 72-25.

This bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of residential upholstered furniture or children's products containing flame retardant chemicals collectively known as “Tris” in amounts greater than 100 parts per million, beginning July 1, 2015. It also prohibits other high concern chemicals for children’s products, unless a manufacturer can demonstrate that there is no technically feasible safer alternative to the flame retardant. Proponents expressed concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals in homes and the particular risks to children. Opponents of the bill pointed out that a national standard would be better than a state standard, since it is hard for manufacturers to deal with state-by-state regulations. The bill had passed both the House and the Senate during the 2013 session, but the chambers could not agree on the amendments that had been made.

41st Legislative District

Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island) – Y

Rep. Tana Senn (East King County) – Y

48th Legislative District

Rep. Cyrus Habib – Y

Rep. Ross Hunter, (Medina) – Y

SOURCE: WashingtonVotes.org is a project of the Washington Policy Center. Visit www.WashingtonVotes.org.

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