This week’s report covers two major issues: a bill in the House to require insurance coverage for abortions; and a proposed constitutional amendment in the Senate to require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. Votes indicated are for representatives from the 12th District.

• House Bill 2148, concerning health plan coverage for a voluntary termination of pregnancy. Passed the House on Feb. 5 by a vote of 55-44.

The bill would require that a health plan issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2015, that provides coverage for maternity care must also provide substantially equivalent coverage for elective abortions. However, no individual health care provider, religiously sponsored health carrier, or health care facility may be required by law or contract to provide for abortion services if they object to so doing for reason of conscience or religion. The bill also provides that no individual or organization may be required to purchase abortion coverage if they object to doing so for reason of conscience or religion. The bill was passed to the Senate Health Care Committee.

Rep. Cary Condotta (R-East Wenatchee), no.

Rep. Brad Hawkins, (R-Wenatchee), no.

• Senate Joint Resolution 8213, amending the Constitution to require a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature to raise taxes. Failed in the Senate on Feb. 5 with 25 yes and 21 no votes — 33 yes votes are required for passage.

Senate Joint Resolution 8213 proposed to amend the state constitution to require a two-thirds majority vote of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to raise taxes. “Raising taxes” means any action or combination of actions by the Legislature that increases state tax revenue deposited in any fund, budget, or account, regardless of whether the revenues are deposited into the general fund. Voters in Washington have enacted or affirmed the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases five times during the past 20 years, including Initiative 1185 in 2012. The State Supreme Court last year overturned the requirement, but the justices were clear that they were not ruling on the wisdom of the policy itself. Instead they said that ultimately the people should decide. The constitutional amendment proposed by SJR 8213 would have accomplished this.

Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (R-Wenatchee), yes.

SOURCE: WashingtonVotes.org is a project of the Washington Policy Center.