Today is Tuesday, Feb. 26, the 44th day of the 105-day legislative session.
The state House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would require all grocery store self-checkout machines to be programmed to freeze when a person tries to buy alcohol. Should House Bill 1009 become law, the machines could continue with the transaction only after a human cashier has come over to check the customer’s ID. The bill was introduced by Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia.
Another measure that received House approval Monday would allow cosmetologists to complete some of their training online, rather than having to complete all of their required 1,600 hours of training in the classroom. House Bill 1038, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Cindy Ryu of Shoreline, passed unanimously.
The proposals now head to the Senate.
In behind-the-scenes news, former state Sen. Joseph Zarelli of Vancouver was recognized Monday in the Senate Republican Caucus room. Republicans and a handful of Democrats, including Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, joined to honor Zarelli for his 17 years of service as a legislator.
TODAY IN THE LEGISLATURE
The Senate Transportation Committee will consider whether to direct the State Transportation Department to research how to reduce the impact of tolls on Interstate 90 east of Seattle. According to the text of Senate Bill 5846, that could potentially mean letting Washington residents choose a section of the freeway that they can use for free.
Also in the Senate Transportation Committee today, lawmakers will consider a bill that would create designated electric vehicle charging stations, which would be identified by green pavement markings. Should Senate Bill 5849 become law, parking illegally in one of the charging station areas would carry a $250 fine. The hearings will begin at 1:30 p.m. today in Hearing Room 1 of the John A. Cherberg Building.
On the budget side, both the Senate Ways & Means Committee and the House Appropriations Committee will consider proposals today dealing with the evaluation and commitment of mentally ill offenders.
At 1:30 p.m., the Senate Ways & Means Committee will hear testimony on Substitute Senate Bill 5480, which would accelerate changes to mental health involuntary commitment laws. The hearing will take place in Hearing Room 4 of the John A. Cherberg Building.
At the same time, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on Substitute House Bill 1627, which aims to speed up the process of evaluating a criminal defendant for mental competency. The bill would allow a judge to choose an expert to conduct a mental competency evaluation of a person awaiting trial when a state hospital hasn’t been completing evaluations in a timely manner.-Olympian staff