Politics & Government

10 bills to keep an eye on that are still alive in the Legislature

There’s a reason why the hallways of legislative buildings recently resembled boiling cauldrons. Friday was the deadline for policy bills -- which aren’t related to the state budget -- to get out of committee.

So if your favorite House bill didn’t get approved by a House committee or that Senate bill you really like didn’t the OK from a Senate committee, then your bill is dead.

Here are 10 that remain alive that could affect your life, with the bill numbers and the names of the sponsors.

1. Guns

SB 6077 -- Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue

HB 2240 -- Rep. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle

WHAT THEY DO: Restrict firearm ammunition magazines to 10 bullets or less.

WHERE THEY ARE: SB 6077 approved by Senate Law and Justice Committee, now in the Rules Committee. HB 2240 approved by House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, referred to Rules Committee

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • April Schentrup’s daughter, Carmen, died in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., said: “I hope that my testimony today helps you pass SB 6077 to restrict high-capacity magazines so that other families do not suffer the same devastating loss.”
  • Keely Hopkins, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, opposed the bill: “Magazines holding more than 10 rounds are the standard, manufacturer-supplied capacity that make up the majority” of firearms.

2. Higher-density housing in single-family neighborhoods

SB 6536 -- Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent

WHAT IT DOES: This bill requires counties planning under the Growth Management Act and cities with a population of 15,000 or more within such counties to provide for the development of duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and courtyard apartments in areas now zoned for detached single-family residences and within half a mile from a transit stop. The bill also requires counties planning under the GMA and cities with a population of 10,000 or more within such counties to provide for the development of duplexes in areas zoned for detached single-family residences.

WHERE IT IS: Approved by Senate Committee on Local Government and Senate Committee on Housing Stability and Affordability, and in the Rules Committee.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Das said: “The exclusion of these housing types was rooted in inequity and was always a way to keep some families out of certain neighborhoods. This bill not only addresses that inequity issue by allowing these alternative housing options in single-family zones. It’s also environmentally pragmatic. Allowing exclusively single-family zoning reduces density, limits the number of people who can live in a city, and raises carbon emissions as people are forced to travel farther and farther to get where they want to go.”
  • Carl Schroeder, a lobbyist with the Association of Washington Cities, told Das and other Senate committee members at a recent hearing: “We’re talking about a six-times increase in development capacity on a single-family lot. ... That’s a windfall essentially in resources for the current owners of that land. And so if we’re going to move forward on something like this, I think you really should build in some affordability requirements so if we are going to take this action from the state level, let’s make sure we’re actually producing real affordable housing at the end of it.”

3. Comprehensive sex education

SB 5395 -- Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Auburn

HB 2184 -- Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver

WHAT THEY DO: Require public schools to provide medically accurate, comprehensive sex education to children at all grade levels. Both bills would start with grades 6 through 12, and then phase it in to all grades.

WHERE THEY ARE: SB 5395 approved by Senate 28-21, referred to House Education Committee. HB 2184 approved by the House Education Committee, referred to Appropriations Committee.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • The Senate bill sponsor Wilson, said: “This is about making sure younger children know what kind of touching is inappropriate, whether by peers or predators. It’s about helping older students recognize and resist abusive or coercive behavior. It’s about teaching all children to respect diversity and not to bully others.”
  • “What the heck does ‘age-appropriate’ mean?” asked Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, saying the state shouldn’t require sex education in a grade as low as kindergarten, as reported by The Spokesman-Review of Spokane.

4. Sports injuries

HB 2731 -- Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw

WHAT IT DOES: Creates a central database for reporting high school sports-related concussions.

WHERE IT IS: Approved by the House Education Committee

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Irwin said: “Having adequate data is important so we can better track any trends that need to be addressed. The results matter to everyone involved including the athletes, their parents, coaches, and medical training staff. My hope is that researchers can analyze these reports to minimize future injuries using real data. Let’s do right by our kids and the sports they compete in.”
  • Several states have laws that require concussion education, but a 2015 study by the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery said preseason concussion education “likely has minimal benefits,” and concluded that “future research focused on changing the culture of concussion reporting is needed,” The Courier-Herald of Enumclaw reported.

5. Tenants’ rights

HB 2453 -- Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle

WHAT IT DOES: It requires landlords to cite a reason to move a tenant out of a home. Under current state law, a residential landlord may evict a tenant for any reason — or no reason — by issuing month-to-month tenants a 20-day no-cause termination notice or by refusing to renew a lease with a tenant. The legislation is commonly referred to as “just cause” or “good cause.”

WHERE IT IS: Approved by House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Macri said: “No-cause evictions lead directly to homelessness, and have a destabilizing impact on the peace, health, and safety of renters and their families. My goal is to build stability in the lives of families threatened by the prospect of being forced out of their home without any idea why.”
  • Ryan Weatherstone, a Seattle attorney specializing in housing issues, wrote in a blog post: “Just Cause ... increases risk and costs for housing providers, which can result in increased rents and tighter screening requirements for everyone. Housing providers have been sued by residents for not being able to enforce community rules on neighbors living under Just Cause protections. If an aggressive neighbor cannot be asked to leave, it opens the housing provider to breach of contract claims by surrounding residents.

6. Low-carbon fuel standard

HB 1110 -- Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-West Seattle

WHAT IT DOES: It calls for reducing the carbon intensity of fuels by 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2028 — and by 20 percent by 2035. Carbon intensity refers to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions emitted by producing, distributing and using a fuel.

WHERE IT IS: Approved by the House 52-44, referred to the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Gov. Jay Inslee said the proposal is crucial to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change. He disagreed with projections that gasoline prices could increase sharply if Washington joins Oregon, California and British Columbia in adopting a low-carbon fuel standard. “Given a choice between allowing Australia to burn down and those fires to burn down the state of Washington …. if there are a few pennies, I think the choice is pretty clear on that. We want to preserve our state,” Inslee said.
  • Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, said: “Our fuel costs in Washington are 60 cents [per gallon] higher than the national average. This bill could raise that by another 57 to 63 cents a gallon. We could be a $1.20 higher than the national average.”

7. Consumer data privacy

SB 6281 -- Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle

HB 2742 -- Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland

WHAT THEY DO: Give people the right to know which data companies are using their personal data and why, to correct data, to delete certain data, and to opt out of the processing of their data for targeted advertising

WHERE THEY ARE: SB 6281 approved by Senate Committee on Environment, Energy and Technology; and Senate Ways and Means Committee, now in Rules Committee. HB 2742 approved by House Committee on Innovation, Technology and Economic Development.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Carlyle said: “We’ve really tried to be thoughtful and respectful of the needs for business and industry to operationalize this program, so that it’s not implementing a new layer of burden on top of them but it is also recognizing that those consumer rights are foundational.”
  • Jennifer Lee, ACLU of Washington Technology and Liberty Advocate, said of SB 6281: “Washington deserves privacy regulations that are as meaningful as California’s and Europe’s, and this bill just doesn’t meet those standards. First of all, your decisions should be the final decisions on what happens to your data. This bill was crafted without community voices at the table and doesn’t allow everyday people to use the courts to defend their privacy decisions. Its loopholes even give companies the opportunity to override those decisions.”

8. Climate change

HB 2892 -- Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-West Seattle

WHAT IT DOES: Fully restores Inslee’s plan to cap carbon pollution in Washington by providing more authority to the state Department of Ecology in regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was filed at Inslee’s request because the state Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Clean Air Rule cannot apply to companies that sell or distribute petroleum or natural gas because they don’t make their own emissions, the Associated Press reported.

WHERE IT IS: Approved by House Committee on Environment and Energy.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Chris Davis, the senior policy adviser on climate and energy affairs for Inslee, said: “There can be no real logical reason that the Legislature would intend for Ecology to have the authority to regulate some of the state’s major greenhouse emissions, while leaving the vast majority unaddressed. Making this fix is really a matter of fairness.”
  • Greg Hanon, representing Western States Petroleum Association, said: “If the Legislature is going to direct Ecology to regulate indirect emitters then the Legislature should be very clear in designing this new authority and develop policy direction, parameters and sideboards that bound the agency in their new expanded authority.”

9. Voting rights for felons

SB 6228 -- Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue

WHAT IT DOES: Make felons automatically eligible to vote once they are released from state prison. Under current law, they are eligible once they have completed community custody — formerly known as probation — and that can take several years.

WHERE IT IS: Approved by Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections; now in Rules Committee.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Kuderer said: “The very essence of community custody is to get people back on the right track, to reintegrate them into society and to reduce the chances of re-offending. Restoring the right to vote and the right to participate in our democracy is an important tool for that reintegration process.”
  • Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville said: “Prison time, community custody and restitution are all reasonable penalties for our courts to include in a sentence. Punishment for a crime in Washington does not automatically end at the prison gate, so we should not restore voting rights for convicted felons until they have completed their sentences, including their period under [Department of Corrections] supervision and paying restitution to victims.”

10. Death penalty

SB 5339 -- Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle

WHAT IT DOES: Delete the death penalty law from the Revised Code of Washington. It also would codify the state Supreme Court’s decision declaring the death penalty law as unconstitutional and the current practice, which is to sentence those convicted of aggravated first-degree murder to life in prison without the possibility of release or parole.

WHERE IT IS: Approved by the Senate 28-18, referred to the House Public Safety Committee.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Carlyle said: “I’m honored to have sponsored this measure for many years because we as a civic society have moved beyond the death penalty. This legislation represents us taking a stand and taking the death penalty off the books. I’m honored the Senate has passed this for the third time in three years, bringing us in line with the position of the governor and the courts.”
  • State Rep. Jenny Graham, whose sister was murdered in 1982 by Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, opposes the bill. She said the death penalty was leverage against Ridgway, who helped investigators connect him to dozens of other murders. In a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty, Ridgway was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. “Families would not have had the answers, those loved ones would not have had their remains returned. Those are his trophies and he did not want to give them up. He gave them up to save his own life,” Graham, a Spokane Republican, told KING 5 News.
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