Many bills of local interest clear Wednesday’s cutoff
By Lucas Wiseman
The Columbian/Murrow News Service
Wednesday was the Legislature’s deadline for many bills to pass out of policy committees. Here is a look at some bills that made it, and some that did not. Bills that have an impact on the budgeting process are exempt from cutoffs.
Bills that made the cut:
Senate Bill 5524: This proposal would allow Washington pharmacies to fill prescriptions written by physicians assistants in other states. It was unanimously passed from both houses and awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature to become law.
Proposed by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, the bill is aimed at helping Clark County residents who may work in Oregon and get prescriptions filled there.
House Bill 1001: A benefit to Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, this bill would allow small theaters to serve beer and wine. State Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, has been pushing this bill since last session, when it died in the Senate.
The bill currently sits in the Senate Rules Committee, waiting to be passed to a full Senate vote.
Senate Bill 5099: Aimed at easing environmental regulations, this bill would remove local governments’ obligation to convert all publicly owned vehicles to bio fuel or electricity by 2015.
The bill is prime sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center. Rivers said the intent behind the bill is to allow technology to catch up to the idea, because a full-fleet conversion would be incredibly impractical. The bill is currently waiting a vote out of the House Rules Committee.
Senate Bill 5092: Proposed by Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, this bill would make it easier for registered nurses to pursue advanced degrees without needing to be re-certified by the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission.
A nurse may lose certification if enrolled in school because it’s hard to balance school work with the to the 531 practice hours required every three years to maintain certification, Benton said. The bill is waiting on a vote out of the House Rules Committee.
House Bill 1565: This proposal would find a funding source for the state’s prescription monitoring program. That funding source? That money would come from the state’s Medicaid fraud penalty account, which fraudulent Medicaid users must pay into.
Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, proposed this bill to help fund the prescription monitoring program, which tracks prescription drugs in an attempt to prevent abuse. The program has had trouble obtaining funding in recent years. Harris’ bill is waiting for a vote in the Senate Rules Committee.
House Bill 1252: This bill would establishing an online resource for teachers to use to improve their classroom experience. The legislation’s prime sponsor, Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, said the site would feature videos, classroom activities, and a forum for teacher and student discussion.
Bills that missed the deadline:
House Bill 1554: This proposal would have allowed fire departments to develop community assistance programs to help people who call 911 for non-emergency events.
The bill, introduced by Stonier, withered in the Senate Governmental Operations Committee. The stalling of this bill breaks Stonier’s perfect survival rate for the nine bills she proposed this session. The bill will automatically be submitted at the start of next year’s legislative session.
House Bill 1000: This bill would have provided legal protection to medical professionals who follow patient wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment. Patients have the option to fill out a form specifying the actions they wish taken regarding life support if they have an advanced life-threatening illnesses.
The proposal, introduced by Moeller, would exempt medical professionals from legal action in the event they follow the patient’s wishes in a legal manner as prescribed by the form. The bill will be resubmitted next session.
Bill cutoff rules are somewhat loose. Legislation that’s declared “necessary to implement the budget” don’t have to worry about bill cutoffs, and bills that seem dead now can be resurrected or amended onto other legislation later.