It's a busy day in Olympia, the second day of the fourth week of session. Today and the next two days are full of hearings--both for public testimony and for members to vote on whether to recommend for or against bills as they move toward possible votes on the House or Senate floor. Tomorrow you can look for Freedom Foundation expert testimony on same-day voter registration, but here's what's happening today.
Show us the science
Up for a public hearing this morning is HB 1112, which would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify the scientific source of information being relied on for any significant agency actions. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Shelly Short, who also sponored HB 1113 to place the same requirements of the Department of Ecology. That bill was voted out of committee last week with a unanimous "do pass" recommendation.
HB 1476--one of a number of bills aimed at increasing accountability in K-12 education--would give letter grades to schools and school districts. It has a hearing at 1:30 p.m. before the House Committee on Education. For the college students out there, HB 1459 would legalize wine tasting for underage students in classes on winemaking. That bill has a hearing at the same time before the House Committee on Government Accountability.
The Union Agenda
This morning, the House Labor Committee is hearing unlucky HB 1313. That bill would force employers to pay employees for not working if the employee falls victim to one of a variety of bad circumstances. Legislation like this simply takes one person’s tragedy and shifts part of the cost to someone else. Up at the same hearing is HB 1457, which would implement the state’s long-delayed Family and Medical Leave Act, a forced insurance scheme that would also pay employees for not working in certain difficult (though sometimes preventable or predictable) circumstances. The bill would also prohibit employers from replacing the absent employee.
Up for executive session at the hearing are the bills that would give certain hospital employees power to decide when to take their breaks and whether to work overtime (rather than their bosses, or, if this legislation passes, “bosses”). The bills are HB 1152 and HB 1153.
Calling it a day
The world is full of difficult and painful problems. Solving each and every one of these problems is the job of the state legislature--at least that’s what many legislators believe. And one way to solve a problem is to declare a special day. Thus HB 1101, up for a hearing today, which declares a legislative finding that “Everyone is entitled to safe and effective health care....” and would thus...
...designate July 25th of each year as patient safety day in memory of patients who have suffered from preventable medical errors, to honor all people who strive to improve medical safety, and to raise awareness of the paramount importance of patient safety.
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