Good morning. Today is Saturday, the 55th day of the 105-day session.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 5749, a proposal to change the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition Program, which allows people to buy credits toward future college tuition.
Under the changes, the amount that GET units could appreciate would be limited, though units that have been purchased already would not change.
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“What I think we have here is the continuation of an excellent program with a higher degree of fiscal responsibility built into it,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lisa Brown, speaking about the measure on the Senate floor.
The Senate passed Senate Bill 5545, a human-trafficking bill that would allow law enforcement to record a conversation with the consent of only one of the recorded parties if there is probable cause to believe it involves the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor.
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 5186, under which a skier would be guilty of second-degree criminal trespass if he or she knowingly skied in an area marked as closed, and Senate Joint Resolution 8206, which would require that money be transferred into a budget stabilization account in years when the state brings in more revenue than normal.
The Senate Rules Committee put Senate Bill 5769 on the Senate calendar, clearing it for a floor vote. The measure, by Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, would phase out coal-fired electricity generation in the state.
The House passed House Bill 1740, which would set up a health-benefit exchange, a move that is required under the federal health care law, and House Bill 1560, which would expand eligibility for the Health Insurance Partnership, a program that allows employees at small businesses to get some of their health insurance premiums subsidized.
Legislators are on the floor Saturday, trying to vote on as many bills as possible before the Monday cutoff deadline for voting on policy bills in their houses of origin. They could be in session Sunday as well.
Lawmakers from the 2nd District are holding town hall meetings in Yelm, Roy and Tacoma on March 12. Sen. Randi Becker and Reps. Jim McCune and J.T. Wilcox will meet with constituents at Rosemont Assisted Living in Yelm at 9 a.m., the Roy Town Hall at 11:30 a.m., and the Central Pierce Fire District in Spanaway at 1:30 p.m.
On March 19, they are scheduled to have another round of town hall meetings at the Eatonville Community Center at 8:30 a.m., the Orting Senior Center at 11 a.m. and Graham Fire and Rescue at 1:30.