Politics & Government

Under the dome - April 23

Today

Legislative staffer Elizabeth Hummel will perform some of her original folk music from noon to 1 p.m. in the Capitol’s Columbia Room.

She plays guitar and mandolin and will be joined by musicians including Matthew Jay, Brian Castillo and Marilyn Pedersen.

Hummel says she’s declaring the concert area a “lobby-free” zone, though lobbyists are welcome.

NOTEWORTHYGov. Chris Gregoire signed several bills into law Wednesday.

 • Senate Bill 5480 slaps new restrictions on providers of discount health plans, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s office said. Kreidler requested legislation for the largely unregulated sector. Among the new consumer protections taking effect later this year is a requirement that the plans, which are not insurance but charge a fee for a list of providers, obtain a license from his office. Bill sponsors were Republican Sen. Jerome Delvin of Richland and Republican Rep. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor.

 • Senate Bill 5952 adds “transgendered’’ to the definition of people protected under Washington’s hate-crimes law. The prime sponsor was Democratic Sen. Joe McDermott, D-Seattle, who credited work by Dave Iseminger of Washington Student Lobby for the passage.

McDermott said in a news release that reported acts of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people increased 24 percent in 2007, according to a study by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

 • House Bill 1596 gives civil rights protections to mothers who breast-feed their infants in public. The Associated Press reports that 40 other states already have protections for mothers who nurse.

The new law protects nursing mothers in such places as parks, movie theaters, shopping malls and schools. Past reforms in Washington already protected mothers against indecency charges over the activity in public places.

Compiled by Brad Shannon; The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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