Today is Thursday, Feb. 21, the 39th day of the 105-day legislative session.
In addition to speaking to legislators about climate change Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee also testified in support of House Bill 1872, his proposal to improve education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The bill would create a STEM Education Innovation Alliance that would advise the governor. The advisory group would also issue an annual report card reflecting how well Washington state is doing at advancing STEM education.
Seattle’s law requiring employers to offer paid sick-leave was the hot topic Wednesday in the Senate Committee on Commerce & Labor. Opponents testified that Seattle’s sick leave law creates an unwelcoming climate for businesses, while supporters said it improves the health and well-being of workers.
TODAY IN THE LEGISLATURE
In advance of Friday’s deadline for policy bills to pass out of committee, the House Education committee is scheduled to vote on 19 proposed laws at 8 a.m. Some of the most noteworthy bills up for a vote include House Bill 1452, which would hold back third-graders who fail the state’s reading test; House Bill 1412, which would require students to complete community service to graduate from high school; and House Bill 1450, which would reduce the number of standardized tests students must take to graduate.
Also in the morning, a proposal to punish anyone who sells or gives an electronic cigarette to a minor will receive a hearing in the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee. Under House Bill 1937, giving a minor an e-cigarette — a product that contains no tobacco, but uses water vapor to deliver a dose of nicotine — would be a gross misdemeanor. The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Charles Ross of Naches, will have a hearing at 8:30 a.m.
ELSEWHERE ON CAMPUS
Expect to see some pink around the Capitol campus today. Members of the Susan G. Komen Affiliate of Puget Sound will come to the Capitol for their annual Advocacy Day, during which they will urge lawmakers to continue funding the Washington Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program and Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program.
RECENT BILL INTRODUCTIONS
Senate Bill 5820, sponsored by Republican Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver, would allow a county to suspend compliance with the state’s anti-sprawl growth management act during periods of high unemployment.
House Bill 1951 would allow drivers to pay a $200 fee for permission to display only a rear license plate on their car. Current law requires most vehicles to display both a front and back plate. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.