Legislation to follow for the week of 2-3-2020 that might interest you. The voters of this state overwhelmingly approved I-976 last November. It has been held up in court, but the Legislature is working to address the issue. There are three bills sponsored by Senate Republicans that provide for the $30 tabs. There is one sponsored by a Democrat that will repeal the measure. All will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee at 3:30 on Tuesday, 2/4.  

  • SB 6031 sponsored by Sen. Fortunato to bring back our $30 car tabs.
  • SB 6245 sponsored by Senators O’Ban, Becker, Braun, Honeyford, Padden, Warnick, Zeiger, Holy, and Short  – this is another version of a bill to bring back our $30 tabs.
  • SB 6350 by Senators Fortunato and Braun – Another bill to bring back $30 tabs

Why are there three versions and why aren’t we just passing a bill that makes I-976 into law? The answer is that the Republicans are in the minority. They want to find a bill that will honor the wishes of the citizens of this state, but still have a chance to pass in a legislature where the majority isn’t as enthused with the idea. By introducing 3 versions, there is a greater likelihood of finding some moderate members of the majority who would be willing to support the passage of one of them. However, there is another bill being heard on Tuesday – SB 6108 by Sen. Liias which would repeal I-796 altogether. Senator O’Ban remarked that this should just be call the “thumb our nose at the voters” bill. It flies in the face of the will of the people.

All the above bills will be heard in Transportation on Tuesday.

Firearms – 
HB 1068 & SB 5062 – both ban “high capacity” magazines – neither have moved through the legislative process at all since session began. 

SB 6077 and HB 2240 – High capacity magazines – It has had a hearing in the Senate and is in the Rules Committee. The next step is the Senate floor for a vote of the entire body. You can find more information about the bills that are on the floor, ready for a vote here – 
HB 1010 – Allowing the WSP to destroy firearms that have been confiscated. It has been passed off the floor of the House (party line vote) and is now in the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

HB 2241 – another high cap magazine bill. It had a hearing last week and is awaiting an Executive Session.

Transportation – 
HB 2688 – Expanding Transportation policy goals – This is interesting. It removes mobility as one of the goals of transportation. Add climate change to the goals. There is a long list – none of which will help you to get to work faster. It has had a public hearing and needs to be scheduled to pass out of committee (scheduled for executive action).

SB 6586 – Pay per mile tax. Everyone has heard that there is a push to have a pay-per-mile system, and everyone could breathe a sigh of relief that this bill only affects those who drive electric and hybrid vehicles (except the owners of those vehicles, of course). But I want to point out why this isn’t good news for anyone who drives any vehicle. This is a small group of people, so there isn’t the push-back that all vehicles would have. The argument could also be made the electric vehicles need to pay for wear and tear on the roads, right? Think about it, though. This is a perfect way to get the system in place and perfect it. This will be all vehicles in just a few years, if this bill passes. “They came for the electric vehicles and I was silent. Then they came for my car.” I don’t have a crystal ball, but this is exactly how these types of programs are made into law for all of us. Baby steps.

Other – 
HB 2529 – Outlawing Initiatives and Referendums in odd numbered years. It is the right of the people in this state to have control over their government. The Constitution allows this by giving us the right of Initiative and Referendum. This bill takes away that right. The bill had an executive session on the 31st but no action was taken. It could be passed out of committee any time before the deadline on Friday.

SB 5323 – state-wide ban on plastic bags – This has been voted off the floor of the Senate and is now in the House awaiting a public hearing. 

SB 6516 – reducing the work week to 32 hours – anything over requires an employee be paid overtime pay. No public hearing has been scheduled yet. 

SB 5339 – Abolishing the Death Penalty. Passed on the Senate Floor on Friday and goes to the House now.

Any landlords out there? HB 2520 – This makes it extremely difficult to keep a deposit to cover damage done by a tenant. Requires meticulous documentation of every “fixture” in the rental including the age of the item. A government agency will decide when a fixture has outlived its usefulness and the landlord cannot use the damage deposit if the item is deemed to have outlived its usefulness. They have a couple of executive sessions scheduled, so it could either be moved out of committee on the 5th or the 7th. There are other landlord bills of concern, but this one was eye-popping.

SB 6228 would restore voting rights to felons the second they walk out of prison, before their parole and financial restitution.

Sex education – several bills in this category. All are awful
HB 2184 – Here is the bill report – Gives the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction the power to decide what the sex education curriculum will be. This is a push to teach gender fluidity as early as kindergarten. It has had a hearing in the House –executive session (to vote out of committee) is scheduled for Monday the 3rd.

Ditto for ESSB 5395 – this bill was passed off the floor of the Senate last Wednesday. It is now in the house Education Committee. Be sure to also watch out for the companion bill HB 1407 (you can click on the companion bill info from the 5395 page. That’s 3 bills you need to track to make sure this legislation doesn’t pass. This is the bill that is currently moving – It was voted off the floor of the Senate two weeks ago and is now in the House waiting for a hearing. 

Taxes – 
SB 6492 – This is the bill I detailed in my previous email. It replaces a tax surcharge they passed at the end of session last year with an increase to the general B&O tax for service industries from 1.5% to 1.8% for businesses that have a gross income over $1 million (remember this is gross – not net). The bill was passed off the Senate Floor this week and has a hearing and executive session scheduled this week. Seems to be moving quickly.