Good morning on day 16 of the 105-day legislative session.
In the other Washington, it’s State of the Union day and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have lined up Republican “dates,” but here in Olympia (where seating assignments are serious business), bipartisanship is cracking a bit.
The budget plan that passed the House on a nearly party-line vote now goes to the Senate, where the Ways and Means Committee will study it today. Elsewhere:
- House Public Safety could vote on an anti-gang bill, requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna and backed by Public Safety Chairman Chris Hurst, that would create harsher penalties for gang-related crimes, set up protection orders for gang members similar to those for domestic-violence abusers, and set up grants for organizations working on local gang prevention programs.
- Senate Transportation hears two bills dealing with red-light cameras and the length of yellow lights. One is sponsored by Sen. Debbie Regala and backed by the city of Tacoma, which wants to standardize red-light cameras. The others is from Sen. Randi Becker and would set a minimum duration time for yellow lights and limit the amount someone can be fined for running a photo-enforced red light.
- Senate Financial Institutions hears a bill setting up a Washington Investment Trust, which is meant to work like a state bank. Sen. Margarita Prentice and Rep. Bob Hasegawa say it’s modeled after the Bank of North Dakotand and would increase access to credit for Washington businesses. A companion bill will also have a hearing in the House Business and Financial Services Committee.
- House Technology, Energy and Communications hears a bill that would exempt local governments from state alternative fuel requirements. As the law now stands, all state and local government vehicles must be powered by electricity and biofuels by June 1, 2015.
- Senate Judiciary hears a bill that would ban synthetic cannabinoids, an ingredient in found in a marijuana-like drug commonly known by the brand names K2 and Spice. Several other states including Alabama and Georgia have already made the substance illegal.