Good morning. Today is Friday, the 12th day of the 105-day session.
Rep. Jeannie Darneille and Sen. Karen Fraser introduced a bill that would require law enforcement officers to collect DNA samples when they arrest people on suspicion of sex crimes and violent offenses.
Sen. Val Stevens proposed a constitutional amendment that would require all official government proceedings in the state to take place in English and introduced a bill that would require ensuring that college students are legal residents before awarding them state financial aid.
Stevens also introduced a bill that would limit situations in which public funds may used to pay for abortions.
Sen. Steve Hobbs introduced a bill that would allow county-level districts to levy sales tax and use the revenue to set up an independent, four-year polytechnical college.
Rep. Dave Upthegrove introduced a bill that would require companies that transport oil in the Puget Sound region to pay into a spill-prevention and response fund administered by the state.
As part of a cost-cutting effort Senate Republicans are calling Reset Washington, Sens. Joseph Zarelli and Mike Carrell introduced a series of bills targeting waste in state programs.
Senate Bill 5327, unveiled Thursday by Carrell, would prohibit people from using Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, the digital-age version of food stamps, at bars, liquor stores, strip clubs and gun dealerships.
Zarelli’s Senate Bill 5330 would limit cash withdrawals on the cards to $50 per month. By keeping nearly all payments electronic, the state could track and audit them.
Carrell and Zarelli’s other bills would require applicants for public assistance to provide Social Security numbers before getting medical and cash help, mandate state audits of the hours worked by unlicensed day-care providers, and move the fraud investigations out of the Department of Social and Health Services into the state auditor’s office.
Under a proposed initiative filed Thursday, state and local agencies would have to verify a person’s immigration status before issuing a driver license or public benefits, and employers would be required to verify that their workers are in the country legally.
The initiative, filed by Colleen Smith of Kingston, will need to get 250,000 signatures in order to make it onto the November ballot.
A panel discussion about the federal Citizen United court ruling and its effects is scheduled for this evening in Olympia.
Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero is the latest addition to the panel, which meets at 7 p.m. in Room A at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. N.W. The panel discussion with public participation will be preceded by a coffee and dessert time at 6:30 p.m.
Romero is a Democrat and former state lawmaker who is joined by former Rep. Brendan Williams, Craig Salins of Washington Public Campaigns, Roger Erskine of the Center for Ethical Leadership and Angela Kelly, local organizer for the welfare-rights group POWER.
The talk marks the anniversary of last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and is sponsored by Olympia-based Move to Amend, the Alliance for Democracy, Washington Public Campaigns and TC ProNet. The 5-4 Citizens United ruling said the First Amendment bars limits on corporate funding of independent campaigns, which opened the door to a flood of spending last year in national campaigns.
The event coincides with a rally set for 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. today in front of the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. It is organized by a board member of Public Campaigns.
The House Labor and Workforce Development Committee will hold hearings and votes on six bills, mostly dealing with employment and benefits. One, sponsored by Rep. Cary Condotta, would allow employers to pay less than minimum wage for a “training period” of no more than 680 hours.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would require police who arrest someone on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to impound the person’s car. A companion bill passed out of committee in the House on Thursday.
The Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing on a bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline, that would impose steeper penalties for drivers who break traffic laws and hurt or kill “vulnerable users” of the state’s roads. Vulnerable users would include bikers, pedestrians, equestrians and farm equipment operators. Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon introduced a companion bill in the House.