Both chambers passed a slew of bills Friday in the third day of voting after the deadline to pass bills out of the fiscal committees. The bills voted on during floor debates on Friday dealt with a range of issues, from voting rights to protections for abused and neglected children to personal data legislation. Here’s a rundown of some of the bills that passed in the legislature Friday:
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In the Senate:
Senate Bill 5164 aims to provide food, family and medical care assistance to certain victims of human trafficking. Victims who aren’t U.S. citizens would have access to these programs if they’ve tried to get protective status under federal laws that protect victims of trafficking and similar crimes. Family members of these victims would also be eligible for the same assistance under this bill. The bill will now go to the House.
Senate Bill 6556 would build a web-based system of better reporting cases of child abuse and neglect, further enabling youth and family workers to better respond to these cases. The Department of Children, Youth and Families would develop a web-based reporting portal for use by those who are mandated to report child abuse and neglect. The portal described in the bill is modeled on a similar, successful portal used by Adult Protective Services. The bill will now go to the House.
Senate Bill 6281, or The Washington Privacy Act, strengthens consumer access and control over personal data held by companies. The bill also regulates facial recognition technology. This bill includes elements of similar protection acts in other jurisdictions like California and Europe, enabling Washingtonians to know who is using their consumer data and why it’s being used. The bill also grants consumers the right to correct inaccurate personal data, among other provisions. The bill has yet to go to the House.
Senate Bill 6313, or the Voting Opportunities Through Education Act, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to opt out of a pre-registration voting process. Under the bill, these teens will automatically be pre-registered to vote unless they opt out. The bill is meant to assist young adults, a demographic that often changes addresses and has limited access to voting on college campuses, among other barriers to voting. The bill will now go to the House.
In the House:
House Bill 2441 eases restrictions on the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which aims to continue helping children when parents “fall out of compliance” with current program rules. Under the bill, a four-month grace period is extended to families who stop meeting the TANF requirements, and reduces the family’s assistance through the program by 40 percent after that grace period. Portions of the TANF assistance provided to the children can’t be terminated if the parents don’t comply with program regulations. The bill will now move on to the Senate.