"Initiatives aren't just about passing laws, they're about lobbying your elected officials for policies that you want. And like all lobbying, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the people are asking for something the city council just can't give them. But that's not an excuse to prevent them from asking."
~Tim Eyman, a frequent initiative promoter, speaking after he testified in support of Senate Bill 5347, a bill requiring cities and local governments to submit initiatives to a vote of the people even if the initiative would have no effect.
Today is Wednesday, February 6, the 24th day of the 105-day legislative session.
The Legislature is now allowing citizens to submit electronic comments directly to their legislators about any bill under consideration. The Legislature’s website at leg.wa.gov will allow users to select a bill, click on the “comment on this bill” button, indicate if they are for or against it, and submit comments or suggestions. First-time users will need to create an account and provide their residential address. The information is then accessible to the commenter’s lawmakers.
TODAY AT THE CAPITOL
In addition to today’s House and Senate sessions, there will be 19 committee hearings covering 45 proposals. Some committees also will be having informal discussions on various topics. Here’s a look at a few of those discussions:
The House Public Safety Committee will be holding a work session on “marijuana and impaired driving in the post I-502 world.” The committee plans to discuss legal issues, protocols and prosecution of driving under the influence. The work session will be at 1:30 p.m. in House Hearing Room B of the John L. O’Brien Building.
The House Higher Education Committee will hold public hearings on five proposals, including House Bill 1624 which would set a long-term goal for tuition at institutions of higher education to be “no higher than 10 percent of the median household income.” The work session and hearings will begin at 1:30 p.m. in House Hearing Room A in the John L. O’Brien Building.
ELSEWHERE ON CAMPUS
OneAmerica is sponsoring Immigrants Day at the Capitol from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. today. The group is expected to draw 400 participants and will lobby for, among other issues, the Washington State Voter Rights Act.
Northwest Credit Union Association is sponsoring Thursday’s Legislative Grassroots Lobby Day from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The group of approximately 200 people will be gathering at the Tivoli Fountain south lawn.
The Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Legislative Gathering will be meeting in the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. today.
House Bill 1661 would allow some people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions to have the judgment and sentence vacated. Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, is the bill’s prime sponsor.
Getting divorced in Washington would take one year instead of 90 days if Senate Bill 5614 is approved. Additionally, the proposal calls for petitioners to acknowledge they’ve read and understood a handbook informing them, among other things, about prenuptial agreements. Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, is sponsoring the proposal.
An alert system similar to the Amber Alert would be established for senior citizens if legislation introduced this week is approved. Senate Bill 5602, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, and its companion bill in the House, HB 1689, sponsored by Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, would require the State Patrol to “develop and implement a plan, commonly known as a silver alert plan, to enhance the public’s ability to assist in finding senior citizens with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other mental disability.”Staff reports