Good morning. Today is Monday, the 22nd day of the 105-day session.
Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, introduced Senate Bill 5486, which would set up a fund taxpayers could contribute to if they voluntarily decided to pay more taxes. Money from the fund could go toward general fund appropriations or transportation. Benton introduced a similar bill last year.
Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, introduced a bipartisan bill, Senate Bill 5523, that would eliminate the state printer, meaning state agencies would rely on private printing companies or electronic documents instead. The measure, which Republican leaders in the Legislature have called for, also would require the General Administration department to sell or lease the state printer’s equipment and building space.
Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, introduced Senate Bill 5540, which would authorize school districts to install automatic cameras on school buses that could take pictures of cars that illegally pass buses that have stopped to pick up or drop off children. Law enforcement could use the pictures to fine drivers who violate passing rules.
Sen. Margarita Prentice introduced Senate Bill 5557, which would create a state agency called the Office of Civil Rights that would absorb the responsibilities the Human Rights Commission, the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises, the Commission on African-American Affairs, the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and the Commission on Hispanic Affairs. If passed, the bill is would enact one of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s agency-consolidation proposals that she announced in December.
Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Edgewood, introduced House Bill 1654, which would require public universities and community colleges in the state to charge resident students the out-of-state or graduate tuition rate for any credits they take that go over 125 percent of the number of credits they need to graduate, though it would allow waivers to be granted under some circumstances.
The House adopted a rule aimed at improving government transparency Friday. It requires representatives to wait 24 hours after an operating budget, a transportation budget or a capital budget bill is placed on the third-reading calendar before voting on the measure.
The Senate Labor Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 5135, which would reduce or cap unemployment insurance rates for employers in 2011.
The committee also will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 5308, which would require that procedures be set up to apply military training and experience toward licenses in some professions, including working as a barber or a security guard.
Along similar lines, the House Healthcare and Wellness Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 1417, which would require the Department of Health to develop a process for evaluating whether military training can apply toward educational and training requirements for some medical professions.
The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 5171, which would make primaries earlier and would require that ballots sent to overseas voters and service members be mailed two weeks earlier for a general election and four weeks earlier for primaries.
The Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 5191, which would repeal or suspend some of the rules that school districts have to adhere to in an effort to cut costs. Schools no longer would be required to teach students about both organic and conventional growing methods if they have school gardens or observe Temperance and Good Citizenship Day, among other things.
The Senate Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 5250, which would require the Transportation Department to consider using design-build procedures for projects that cost more than $10 million. Design-build means the same contractor would do both the designing and construction, which can lead to savings because building can start before the design phase is complete.
The House Healthcare and Wellness Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 1246, which would ban some kinds of flavored, smokeless tobacco products and would regulate where tobacco products can be displayed in stores.
On Tuesday, Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, is scheduled to hold a telephone town hall meeting for residents of Washington’s 2nd District. Residents can call 877-229-8493 and enter code number 17544 to listen and ask questions.