This first month of the Legislative session includes floor votes on non-controversial or housekeeping bills. Many are passed unanimously. A quick look at these bills shows that among those that were not unanimous, Rep. Jason Overstreet was usually among the few dissenters.
Rep. Overstreet voted in the minority of the minority, against his own party’s majority, in voting NO on:
- Requiring parental notification of run-aways in shelters
- Allowing the redistribution of prescription medications by doctors, etc
- Establishing a Native American Heritage Day
- Requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant to see traffic safety camera or toll system photos
- Making a proclamation of a state of emergency directly effective upon the Governor’s signature
- many more Votes against his party’s majority
He seems to have it in for the state’s college students. He was the sole dissenter on the bill, HB 1331, authorizing student advisory committees at institutions of higher education. This bill gives students a place at the table, with access to financial information, when administrators are making decisions that affect student access and success, such as tuition and fee levels. WWU Associated Students lobbied for this bill, and they noticed Mr. Overstreet’s lack of support.
He was also the only vote against HB 1043, that repealed authority to set differential tuition rates at our public colleges, which were intended to provide more tuition dollars for higher-cost majors, such as engineering.
While this may seem a fair idea, it became a problem when viewed against the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition Program, that values all credit hours the same, and so the Legislature fixed it’s mistake. But not Mr. Overstreet.
The only controversial bill voted on so far in the House was HB 1044, the Reproductive Parity Act, which passed the House on a 53 – 43 vote. No one is surprised that Rep. Overstreet voted NO on this bill. It requires insurance plans in Washington to cover abortions if they cover maternity care. With the federal Affordable Care Act bringing changes to our state’s healthcare landscape, we must protect a women’s pregnancy choices. It will now be taken up by the Senate, where it should be a very close vote, but has a chance of passing.