WA Democracy Legislation Weekly Newsletter February 21, 2022
Washington State Democracy Legislation & Action Needed
SESSION UPDATE: Last Tuesday, February 15th, was the cutoff date to for bills to pass their respective chamber. Several bills are no longer moving forward and will no longer be considered for this session. Any bill not passed this year, will have to be reintroduced next session in 2023 and will have new bill numbers. Please note a b ill status can quickly change, so click on the link to the bill page to find the latest information. Updated actions and comment requests are linked below. Thank you!
Other Ways to Follow WA State Legislation: • Visit WA State Legislature website @ leg.wa.gov • View WA Legislative Hearings @ TVW.org
BILLS STILL ALIVE:
Voting Rights Act Enhancements:
SB 5597 – WA Voting Rights Act Enhancements
Status & Hearings: PASSED the Senate on Feb 10th. It had a public hearing in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations on Feb 17th, and scheduled for executive session on Feb 23rd @ 8 am.
- Codifies factors which establish a presumptive case of vote dilution in violation of the Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA).
- Establishes a mechanism for claimants who send successful notices of potential WVRA violations to recover costs of up to $50,000 from jurisdictions for research needed to send the notice.
- Requires certain jurisdictions to obtain pre-clearance for changes to covered voting practices.
- Establishes a data repository at the University of Washington to assist jurisdictions and researches in election best practices.
*Register your support for SB 5597* Submit Your Comments to Support HERE
SB 5583 – Local redistricting to reflect last known residence for incarcerated persons
Status & Hearings: PASSED the Senate on Feb 8th. Scheduled for a public hearing in the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee on Feb 21st @ 1:30 pm, and executive session on Feb 23rd @ 8 am.
Bill Summary: It is the responsibility of each county, municipal corporation, and special purpose district with a governing to periodically adjust census data for local redistricting to reflect the last known place of residence for incarcerated persons.
*ACTION NEEDED* Sign in PRO by Feb 21st @ 1:30 pm for SB 5583 HERE *Also register your SUPPORT for SB 5583* Submit Your Comments to Support HERE
SB 5560 – Procedures for approval and submission of the redistricting plan
Status & Hearings: PASSED the Senate on Feb 2nd. It had a public hearing in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations on Feb 17th and scheduled for executive session on Feb 21st @ 1:30 pm.
- Redistricting plan must include at least:(a) Maps showing the division of the state into congressional and legislative districts; and(b) complete descriptions of each district using official census units, such as tracts and blocks, sufficient to codify the plan.
- The redistricting plan must be prepared and published and be made available to the public at the time the plan is submitted to the legislature.
- The commission must make a redistricting plan publicly available at least 72 hours before voting to approve the plan. Once the plan has been made publicly available, any amendments to the plan must be debated and voted on in open session, and at least 24 hours must pass after any amendments are adopted before the commission may vote on final approval of the plan.
*Register your support for SB 5560 Submit Your Comments to Support HERE
HB 1769 – Sunsetting Community Councils
Status & Hearings: PASSED the House on Feb 12th. Scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Housing & Local Government Committee on Feb 22nd @ 8 am, and executive session on Feb 23rd @ 10:30 am.
Bill Summary: Sunsets the last two community councils in Washington state in Houghton Community Council in Kirkland and East Bellevue Community Council in Bellevue.
*ACTION NEEDED* Sign in PRO by Feb 22nd @ 8 am for HB 1769 HERE *Also register your SUPPORT for HB 1769* Submit Your Comments to Support HERE
Ballot Impact Statements:
HB 1876 – Adds a fiscal impact statement to ballot measures
Status & Hearings: PASSED the House on Feb 12th. It had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on State Government and Elections on Feb 18th, and awaiting executive action.
Bill Summary: This bill would add public investment impact disclosures for certain ballot measures that repeal, levy, or modify any tax or fee and have a fiscal impact showing how adoption of the measure would cause a net change in state revenue.
*Register your SUPPORT for HB 1876 *Submit Your Comments to Support HERE
Election Officials Protection:
SB 5148 – Concerning the harassment of election officials.
Status & Hearings: PASSED the Senate on Jan 12th.Referred to the House Public Safety Committee and still awaiting a hearing.
Bill Summary: Elevates the crime of harassment to a Class C felony when the harassment is directed at an election official with the Secretary of State or county auditor’s office.
*Register your SUPPORT for SB 5148* Submit Your Comments to Support HERE
BILLS NOT MOVING FORWARD THIS SESSION:
Secure Automatic Voter Registration:
SB 5636 – Expanding and Enhancing Automatic Voter Registration
Bill Summary: Modifies voter registration at the Department of Licensing (DOL) and Health Benefit Exchange to make registration of eligible applicants automatic with the agency transaction unless subsequently declined in writing.
Ranked Choice Voting:
Local Options for Ranked Choice Voting
HB 1156 & SB 5584 – Bill Summary: Permits the use of ranked choice voting (RCV) in elections for offices in counties, cities, towns, school districts, fire districts, and port districts, and establishes certain requirements for RCV ballot design and vote tabulation.
Ranked Choice Voting for Presidential Primaries – 2 bills
HB 1926 & SB 5851 – Bill Summary: The presidential primary shall be conducted using ranked choice voting, unless a party has fielded two or fewer candidates, in which case the presidential primary for that party shall be conducted in substantially the same manner as a state primary under this title.
SB 5182 – Eliminating Advisory Votes
- Repeals the requirement that advisory votes for tax increase legislation appear on the ballot and voters’ pamphlet.
- Requires that a fiscal impact statement appear in the voters’ pamphlet for legislation passed affecting state revenues.
- Requires that a pie chart showing operating budget expenditures for the most recent biennium appear in the voters’ pamphlet.
Election Officials Protection:
HB 1618 – Prohibiting weapons at election-related offices
- Restricts the carrying and possession of firearms and other specified weapons in certain election offices and facilities.
- Requires posted notice of such restrictions at election offices and facilities.
HB 1727 – Eliminating Odd-Year Elections
Bill Summary: Eliminates odd-year elections in Washington State, including special elections. Includes all state, county, city, town, and district general elections for the election of federal, state, legislative, judicial, county, city, town, and district officers, and for any measure (referendums and ballot initiatives) for adoption and approval or rejection. The benefit and goal is to increase voter participation, as currently odd-year elections have the lowest turnout and decisions are often made by a minority of the voters.
HB 1919 – Public Disclosure Commission Recommendations
- Updates campaign reporting deadlines to ensure voters have weekly access to campaign financing information to match the longer period ballots are available for voting.
- Clarifying for the voter when political ads are endorsing a candidate who is running in a different election or a race other than the current one, and ads that encourage votes for a person who is not a candidate as of the date the ad is run.
HB 1910 – Conservation District Elections
Bill Summary: This bill would put all conservation district elections on the regular ballot, all positions will be elected, landownership requirement will be removed, and public disclosure will be required.
Close Lobbying Revolving Door:
SB 5170 – Employment After Public Service in State Government
- Prohibits various state officers and employees from receiving compensation for certain lobbying activities for one year after leaving state service.
- Requires state officers and employees subject to that prohibition to file post-employment disclosure statements.
- Requires display of post-employment disclosure statements on the Executive Ethics Board’s website.
Women’s Suffrage Day:
HB 1485 – Women’s Suffrage Day a Legal Holiday
Bill Summary: Designates March 22 to be a state legal holiday, recognized as Women’s Suffrage Day.
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