OLYMPIA, Wash. — The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday night 25-22 along party lines that eliminates the "personal preference" exemption from the requirement to have kids vaccinated against measles. It came after the 5 p.m. deadline when the Senate rules allowed for this bill to be voted on passed the cutoff time.
It comes on the heels of the measles outbreak in Clark County. The state Secretary of Health says the vaccine is safe. A large group of parents don't believe that.
Demonstrators took to the capitol steps ahead of the vote to protest that bill (SB 1638) saying it should be up to parents on whether their kids should get vaccinated.
"We're not here saying that we're anti vaccine," said bill opponent Elvera Karpachuk. "But we want to make sure that we have choice."
Other protest groups said they are definitely against the vaccine and staged large demonstrations at the capitol.
State Health Secretary Dr. John Wiesman testified earlier, "The bottom line is, this is preventable and it's preventable with our highly safe and effective vaccines."
A bill waiting for a final vote is the one to keep Daylight Saving Time year round. It passed the Senate Tuesday night but needs another vote in the House to agree to an amendment. It is exempt from the Wednesday cutoff said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Marcus Riccelli, (D-Spokane). "It just makes sense. It's outdated and it's time to 'ditch the switch.'"
"Switching has lots of problems," said the original sponsor of the idea Sen. Jim Honeyford, (R-Sunnyside) "The research indicate auto accidents, health problems and students not doing well on tests and other things. So I think that part is good, yes."
A key drunk driving bill came back to life.
"Unfortunately it's a preventable crime," said Republican state senator Mike Padden, a retired judge. The bill with his amendment would make it a felony for a fourth DUI arrest in 15 years. That means prison time.
"This is a small step to try to prevent those vehicular homicides and vehicular assaults in the future by holding some people accountable who are most likely to commit those crimes," said Padden.
It is an amendment that almost died for lack of action. But House democrats brought it back to life. Padden credits the heart-breaking stories of families.
"When is enough is enough?" asked Caroline and Larry Clay. They ask themselves that question every day as they miss their daughter Cassandra who was taken from them 13 years ago by a repeat drunk driver in Spanaway in a crash that also killed her boyfriend Shane Bender. "I think that if he had been stopped earlier I wouldn't have lost my daughter or her boyfriend."
The bill (HB 1504) was amended by the Senate so it goes back to the House for concurrence.
A bill (SB 5946) that would allow homeless encampments to get around strict environmental regulations failed to be voted on in time and is now dead for the session. It would deal with a problem highlighted in the special KOMO report "Seattle is Dying."
Starting Thursday the voting begins on the bills that are part of the budget heading to the last day of the regular session April 28.