State lawmakers already have filed more than 100 bills on a range of topics including the voting process and immigration. Many have been proposed before. Few offer ideas for the difficult budget cuts that lie ahead when the Legislature convenes starting Monday.
Proposals would shift Washington to an entirely vote-by-mail system, restructure the state’s largest agency and cut mandates such as the physical education requirement for public schools.
A bill by Sen. Scott White, D-Seattle, Senate Bill 5016, would expand Washington smoking regulations into your car, at least while children are riding inside.
Smoking pipes, cigarettes or cigars in a car with a passenger younger than 18 would be grounds for a ticket.
White’s bill would make smoking in your car a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement officers would have to detain a driver for some other reason before giving out a ticket for smoking. A ticket for smoking in a car would not go on your driving record.
This is not the first time such a bill has been considered in Olympia. In 2008, bills making smoking in cars carrying children a traffic infraction were considered by both the House and Senate but never became law.
Other states, such as Arkansas and Louisiana, have already passed similar laws.
Early proposals by Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, and Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee, also are familiar ones.
Hunt introduced House Bill 1002, which would shift the state to an entirely vote-by-mail system. It’s an idea aimed squarely at Pierce County, the only place in the state to still have in-person polling places.
Armstrong offered House Bill 1029, which would break the Department of Social and Health Services into four separate, smaller departments. Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed a plan to restructure the state bureaucracy that did not involve breaking up the depart-ment.
According to the text of the bill, it was developed in response to increased demand and decreased funding because of the economic recession, though it does not explain explicitly how it would achieve savings for the state.
Schools will no longer have to provide 150 minutes per week of physical education for first- through eighth-graders if House Bill 1025 passes. Sponsored by Rep. Larry Crouse, R-Spokane Valley, the measure also would suspend the requirement for civics instruction in fourth, fifth, seventh, 11th and 12th grades and eliminate the requirement that schools have a policy regarding access to nutritional foods for students.
Other bills include:
House Bill 1003, which would expand state energy efficiency requirements to audio and video equipment such as DVD players and televisions.
House Bill 1005, which would create an 11-member appointed commission on the ferry system that would submit budget proposals to the Legislature.
Senate Bill 5006, which would make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to have a valid Washington driver’s license.