How local state leaders voted

State Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, voted with the majority in passing House Bill 1078, which restores voting rights to felons.

If they are not in total confinement under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections they would be able to vote.

The meaure passed the Senate March 24 by a 27-22 margin.

Under current law, released felons must wait until they finish all conditions of their release, including community supervision, before they can re-register to vote.

In committee testimony, proponents estimated that some 26,000 felons would immediately regain their right to vote under this bill. They said the bill “is about restoring the right to vote. People with felony convictions who have been released into the community, or who are on work release, are working and paying taxes just like everyone else.”

Opponents said that the right to vote should not be restored to felons “until they have fully paid their debt to society.”

The bill passed the House last month 57-41 and is now on its way to the governor.

Meanwhile, in the state House, Reps. Drew Hansen and Tarra Simmons, both D-Kitsap County, voted with the majority on Senate Bill 5229, concerning health equity continuing education for health care professionals.

It passed the House March 24 by a vote of 57-41.

The bill would require health care professionals to complete equity education training at least once every four years. It would require courses to teach skills that enable a health care professional to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups and communities, varying in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, religion, age, ability and socioeconomic status.

During the public hearing, proponents said “the health system is not equitable.” They said health professionals should be aware of their own biases, and learn to be more sensitive to the needs of different communities.

The bill passed 35-14 in the Senate last month. The bill returns to the Senate due to a House amendment.

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