the 59th day of the legislative session, was the halfway point of the
legislative process and the deadline to get bills out of the house of
origin. Any bills that were not passed out of the chamber in which they
were introduced are most likely dead for this year.
Here is a quick look at the bills that we have been tracking and where they stand.
Parental Notification for Abortion SB 5289 (Likely Dead)
bill, which would require parents to be notified before a minor
receives an abortion, passed out of the Senate Law and Justice Committee
and the Rules Committee. However, it was not brought to a vote on the
was the furthest parental notification has advanced in years, thanks to
the dedicated efforts of Sen. Mike Padden who sponsored the bill and
many of you who contacted your legislators about this issue.
Despite strong public support for parental notification, only twenty-four senators
indicated their willingness to support it. That total included twenty
two Republicans and two Democrats, Sen. Jim Hargrove and Sen. Tim
Sheldon, that latter caucuses with the Republicans. Twenty-five votes
are necessary to pass a bill in the Senate. Republican Senators Andy
Hill, Joe Fain, and Steve Litzow either opposed or were unwilling to
support the bill.
Abortion Insurance Mandate HB 1647 (Passed House, moved to Senate)
bill was a slightly modified version of a bill that has passed the
House but has been defeated in the Senate each of the last three years.
Like the other bills, it sought to require every private insurance
policy in Washington State to cover abortion.
bill passed out of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee and
passed the House on party lines with the exceptions of Republican Rep.
Chad Magendanz, who voted in favor and Democrat Rep. Chris Hurst, who
voted against it.
The bill is once again expected to die in the Senate.
Sexual Orientation Change Therapy SB 5870, HB 1972 (Passed the Senate, moved to House)
bills initially attempted to make it professional misconduct for a
therapist to help a minor with unwanted same-sex attraction. While House
bill 1972 never advanced, Senate bill 5870 was amended in committee to
prohibit only aversive therapies like ice baths and shock therapies for
minors in all circumstances.
bill no longer attempts to regulate speech between therapists and
patients, nor does it any longer seek to prevent clients from receiving
the kind of therapy they want. The behavior it purports to prohibit is
probably already prohibited by professional rules, criminal law, or
by passing this bill, it eliminates the argument that it is necessary
to ban all forms of therapy to help kids with unwanted same-sex
attraction in an attempt to protect kids from aversive therapies.
With these changes, SB 5870 passed the Senate without opposition and is expected to pass the House as well.
law allows children to be exempted from the immunization requirements
for health reasons, religious reasons, or for the personal objection of
the parents. This bill would have eliminated the personal objection
exemption, which is cited in seventy percent of the cases in which
exemptions are granted.
The bill passed the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, but was not brought up for a vote before the deadline.
Telemedicine/Webcam Abortions SB 5175 (Passed the Senate, moves to the House)
bill would facilitate payment for medicine provided remotely through
webcam consultations. While generally uncontroversial in principle,
prior versions of the bill would have made it possible for the abortion
industry to use this technology to prescribe chemical abortions
remotely. This would be particularly problematic in Washington State
which lacks a parental notification requirement. There was concern that
children would be receiving abortion drugs without their parents' awareness while the medical professionals were hundreds of miles away.
bill was amended in committee so that reimbursement for telemedicine is
available only for essential benefits under the Affordable Care Act,
which does not include abortions.
With that change, the bill passed the Senate without opposition and is expected to pass the House.
Requiring Informed Consent for Assisted Suicide SB 5919 (Passed Senate, moves to the House)
bill would require that a patient be advised of all treatment options
and possibilities for cure before being given a prescription for drugs
intended to end their life.
The surprisingly controversial measure passed the Senate 34-14 and now moves to the House for a vote.
Making it Easier for Religious Objectors to Opt-Out of Unions
bill would make it easier for those who are religious objectors to
union membership to opt out of funding causes they disagree. It would
remove the unions power to direct which charities receive the money that
would otherwise go to the union in the form of union dues.
The bill passed the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee but was not brought up for consideration on the Senate floor.
Prohibiting Wrongful Life Lawsuits SB 5747 (Likely Dead)
bill would eliminate lawsuits by parents who claim they were injured by
the failure to diagnose a birth defect that led to the birth of a child
they otherwise would have aborted.
This bill had a hearing in the Senate Law and Justice committee but did not make it out of committee.
Other Bills of Note
Three other bills we were tracking did not have a hearing and are now considered to be dead bills. They are:
A bill to require every employer to provide objectionable contraceptives in their employee health plans (SB 5026, HB 1502)
bill that would give grandparents the right to petition the court for
visitation with their grandchildren over the objection of the parents (SB 5005)
A bill that would clarify that life begins at conception (HB 1687)
it is unfortunate that parental notification was not passed by the
Senate, it did advance further than it has in more than a decade.
Efforts to mandate abortion insurance, ban therapy that helps minors
with unwanted same-sex attraction, facilitate webcam abortions, and
taking away parental control of the decision to immunize have been
of people from every corner of Washington State have contributed to the
results so far. Your participation in the process makes a tremendous
being said, nothing in the legislature is final until the legislators
go home. Bills have been designated as "likely dead" because any
legislative issue can be resurrected at any time if the political will
exists. During the second half of the session, bills that failed to pass
on their own are often proposed as amendments to other bills dealing
with the same or similar issue.
Whether you are supporting or opposing an idea, continue to communicate your thoughts with your legislators by emailing them and calling them at the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.
For more details on all of these bills click here.
Remember, the legislature is the thermometer, the people are the thermostat. If you don't like the temperature, change it.