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How lawmakers voted in Olympia

Both chambers of the Washington Legislature have lengthy calendars of more than 100 bills, and floor action is scheduled to continue in advance of next Wednesday’s deadline for voting on bills in their house of origin. Following are this week’s picks for WashingtonVotes.org’s roll call report on notable bills.

Senate Joint Resolution 8211: Amending the Constitution to require a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise taxes. Failed to pass in the Senate on Feb. 12, 2016 by a vote of 26-23. (Needed 33 votes to pass).

Despite Washington voters sending a clear message six separate times that they want a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature to raise taxes, Senate lawmakers failed to approve Senate Joint Resolution 8211, although a majority of Senators voted for it. Proposed constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote of both chambers. The measure was intended to restore the two-thirds vote requirement in Initiative 1366, adopted by voters in 2015 but declared unconstitutional by a lower state court. Last December, Washington Policy Center commissioned a statewide poll asking voters what they want the legislature to do if the court tosses I-1366. Sixty-five percent said they want lawmakers to send voters a constitutional amendment if this occurred.

40th Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island: No

42nd Sen. Doug Ericksen, F-Ferndale: Yes

Senate Bill 6443: Repealing human rights commission rules on gender segregated facilities. Failed to pass in the Senate on Feb. 10, 2016 by a vote of 24-25.

The bill would have repealed a new Washington Human Rights Commission rule that allows transgender persons to choose whether to use men’s or women’s public restroom and locker facilities. The rule was imposed by the commission in December and stirred public discussion about the wishes of transgender persons to access facilities according to the gender with which they identify and concerns that eliminating biological gender separation could create uncomfortable, or even dangerous situations for individuals and families using non-segregated facilities.

40th Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island: No

42nd Sen. Doug Ericksen, F-Ferndale: Yes

House Bill 2086: Concerning the hosting of the homeless by religious organizations. Passed the House on Feb. 11, 2016 by a vote of 53-43, one member excused, one seat currently vacant.

This bill would provide more leeway for churches and other religious organizations that operate temporary encampments for the homeless, or allow people who live out of their cars to use their parking lots at night along with church facilities like bathrooms. It prohibits counties, cities or towns, and code cities from enacting an ordinance or regulation or taking other action that limits a religious organization’s ability to host a rotating, established tent encampment to less than eight months during any calendar year; limits hosting term to less than four months unless agreed to by that religious organization for a specific instance; or limits availability to host safe parking efforts at its own on-site parking lot. The House also passed HB 2929 by a unanimous vote on Thursday to allow churches to house homeless families temporarily, even if they don’t have sprinklers or other fire suppression systems. The bill was sponsored by Spokane area legislators Rep. Kevin Parker (R) and Rep. Timm Ormsby (D) to resolve problems confronting local religious groups and cities for a program that allows homeless families to stay overnight in older churches that don’t have fire suppression systems required by building codes.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: No

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: No

House Bill 2681: Authorizing pharmacist to prescribe and dispense oral contraceptives. Passed the House on Feb. 11, 2016 by a vote of 67-30, one seat currently vacant.

Washington law currently allows pharmacists to prescribe medication under the supervision of a physician. However, patients may not be eligible if they have not seen a provider within the past three years or are under 18 years of age. Under this bill, the state health officer or a county health officer may enter into an agreement with a pharmacist in order for the pharmacist to initiate or modify drug therapy related to oral contraceptives in accordance with written guidelines and protocols previously established and approved for the pharmacist’s practice. The bill would also require a sign or sticker for pharmacies to raise awareness of the availability of contraceptives in pharmacies.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: No

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: No

House Bill 2465: Requiring health insurers and Medicaid to cover a 12-month supply of contraceptives. Passed the House on Feb. 11, 2016 by a vote of 91-6, one seat currently vacant.

The bill provides that a health benefit plan, issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2017, that includes coverage for contraceptive drugs must reimburse for a 12-month refill of contraceptive drugs obtained at once unless the enrollee requests or the provider instructs that the enrollee must receive a smaller supply. The health plan must allow the enrollee to receive the drugs on-site, if available. The same provisions would apply to Medicaid coverage.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: Yes

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: Yes

House Bill 2743: Requiring the issuance of a high school equivalency certificate as a Washington State high school diploma. Passed the House on Feb. 10, 2016 by a vote of 643-32, one member excused, one seat currently vacant.

This bill requires high school equivalency certificates issued by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and the Superintendent of Public Instruction (Superintendent) to be issued as a Washington State high school diploma, provided that the recipient is at least 18 years of age or has completed 18 or more credits in a 24-credit graduation system adopted in accordance with a resolution of the State Board of Education. According to supporters of the bill, students who earn an equivalency certificate (GED) versus graduating from high school are at a significant disadvantage, both in terms of access to higher education and earning ability.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: No

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: No

WashingtonVotes.org is a project of the Washington Policy Center.

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