A Senate committee voted unanimously today to approve a bill that seeks to clarify when a permit can be granted for the exercise of religious practices on the state Capitol Campus. Senate Bill 6085 came in response to the denial of a permit last summer to an Olympia church that wanted to hold a baptism along with its yearly barbecue in Heritage Park.
Republican Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester proposed the bill, and both he and Pastor Paul Jones of Reality Church in downtown Olympia testified in favor of the bill on Jan. 17 before the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee.
“Interestingly they were going to bring in their own baptismal,’’ Swecker said in testimony. “They were denied this because it was a religious service. I felt that was a selective [decision] … My own daughter was married in the park and it was a Jewish service. What about a prayer to open our legislative sessions?”