“This is really about protecting free exercise of religion...Given that there’s not been one documented instance of anyone being denied abortion services in this state, do you believe that we ought to sacrifice the First Amendment rights of one group to make what is an unprecedented statute in the nation?” Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend, asking a question during a hearing for House Bill 2148, which would require insurers to cover abortion
The 63rd Legislature convened Monday for the first day of its 60-day session, with both the House and Senate swearing in several new members.
Newcomers who took the oath of office in the House were Rep. Leonard Christian, R-Spokane Valley; Rep. Mia Gregerson, D-SeaTac; Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett; and Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, D-Seattle.
Meanwhile, the Senate welcomed former state Reps. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Jim McCoy, D-Tulalip, who were recently appointed to fill Senate vacancies. New state Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, also took the oath of office. The former state representative won election to the Senate in November.
Other senators sworn in Monday were Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, who served last year on a temporary appointment before winning a full term in November, as well as recently elected Sen. Brian Dansel, R-Republic.
TUESDAY AT THE LEGISLATURE
Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to a joint session of the Legislature at noon with the traditional state of the state address. The event in the House chambers will be carried live on the TVW public affairs network, which is Channel 23 for Comcast customers.
Senate Ways and Means will conduct a 3:30 p.m. hearing on a series of reforms proposed by Redmond Republican Sen. Andy Hill. He suggests prohibiting pay raises for lawmakers if an operating budget is not passed during regular session, barring lawmakers from raising campaign funds until a budget is written, and moving the state’s quarterly revenue forecast from March to February during odd-numbered years. The meeting is in Hearing Room 4 of the John A. Cherberg Building.
Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, and Republican Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, have planned a 2:30 p.m. press conference to introduce the Early Start Act of 2014, a bipartisan collaboration to increase early learning programs in Washington.
WEDNESDAY IN THE LEGISLATURE
The House Committee on Health Care and Wellness is planning a public hearing on House Bill 2149, which would require the Department of Health to create a work group to develop practice guidelines for medical professionals prescribing medical marijuana. The 8 a.m. hearing will take place in Hearing Room B of the John L. O’Brien Building.
ELSEWHERE ON CAMPUS
Members of the medical cannabis community say they plan to lobby lawmakers Tuesday and Wednesday in response to the Liquor Control Board’s recommendations to regulate medical marijuana under the same framework as recreational marijuana.