Good morning. Today is Monday, the eighth day of the 105-day session.
"That's very real. There's a very real sense that in difficult times like now, we're all in this together and the public really expects us not to focus on our partisan differences."
—Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, talking Friday about gestures toward bipartisanship in the Legislature.
Rep. Sam Hunt introduced a bill that would create a pilot project allowing sampling of spirits in 30 liquor stores around the state between September 2011 and September 2012.
Sen. Craig Pridemore, at the request of Gov. Chris Gregoire, introduced a bill to eliminate the 2012 presidential primary. Gregoire proposed doing so in December when she released her budget, saying it would save the state $10 million. Washington also has a caucus system to choose convention delegates.
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, chairwoman of the Transportation Committee, introduced a bill that would prohibit commercial vehicles in express lanes from 6-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.
Sen. Jim Kastama introduced a bill that would establish a nonprofit, online university in Washington. The bill would have the Higher Education Coordinating Board include the online university in its policy recommendations and work with the university to integrate it into the state’s four-year college system, but would not give the online university state funding.
Rep. Christine Rolfes introduced her bill, announced earlier, that would require industry to pay for more oil-spill preparedness measures in the Puget Sound region.
Reps. Jim Moeller and Kevin Van De Wege introduced two bills that would eliminate the mandatory retirement age for judges.
On Friday, the Senate unanimously adopted a symbolic resolution recognizing National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month. The resolution came the day after a Human Trafficking Engagement Day held by the Polaris Project and several women’s groups at the Capitol.
Groups from around the state are holding a Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally at the Capitol Campus to protest cuts to health care, education and housing. Like several other groups that held protests in Olympia earlier in January, they are asking that the Legislature do away with tax exemptions and use that money to pay for social programs.
The Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee will hold hearings on several bills, including one by Pridemore that would make the county auditor position nonpartisan throughout the state.
The House Committee on State Government and Tribal Affairs will also hold several hearings, including one on Rep. Mike Armstrong’s bill that would split up the Department of Social and Health Services.