Good morning. Today is Thursday, the fourth day of the 105-day legislative session.
“The state of the Washington judiciary remains strong but stretched thin. There is an overwhelming civil-justice gap between the legal needs of the economically disadvantaged and the legal help that they receive.”
Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen in her State of the Judiciary address.
STATE OF THE JUDICIARY
Madsen addressed lawmakers in a speech Wednesday in which she stressed the heavy case loads and tight budgets many municipal courts are dealing with during the recession.
Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, introduced a bill he announced earlier this month allowing voters to limit red-light and speeding cameras in cities.
Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Thurston County, introduced two bills to authorize salary reductions for state officials when there is a salary reduction for state employees, one of which would amend the state constitution. In December, the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials said it could not reduce pay for elected officials under the state constitution.
Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Anacortes, and Rep. Glenn Anderson, R-Issaquah, introduced a bill to privatize the state ferry system. Earlier in January, Gov. Chris Gregoire said privatization of the ferries was not feasible and proposed creating a ferry district that would give local governments more control over the ferry system.
Attorney General Rob McKenna and State Auditor Brian Sonntag wrote a letter to the Legislature recommending that it adopt a constitutional amendment that would prohibit blank, “title-only” bills from being introduced or voted on and would require that legislators give the public a 72-hour notification before a bill could have a public hearing.
The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and the Statewide Poverty Action Network will hold a Legislative summit on foreclosure at noon to discuss bills introduced by Rep. Tina Orwall and Sen. Adam Kline. According to the news release announcing the event, speakers will explain the Washington foreclosure process and foreclosure mediation solutions that are in place in other parts of the country. Barbara Buckley of the Nevada Assembly and Geoffrey Walsh of the National Consumer Law Center are scheduled to speak at the event.
Washington women’s groups will come to the Capitol to lobby for anti-human trafficking bills at 3:30 p.m. Scheduled to speak to the group are McKenna, Bradley Myles of the Polaris Project, Terri Kimball of Seattle’s Division of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.
Most committees still are being briefed on the Gregoire’s budget and are hearing introductory presentations, though some have begun holding hearings on bills.
The Senate Committee on Government Operations and Tribal Relations will hold a hearing about Sen. Craig Pridemore’s bill to enhance campaign disclosure requirements. Senate Bill 5021 would prohibit some of the strategies used by the consulting firm Moxie Media to manipulate primary elections in the 38th District in support of Sen. Nick Harper. Moxie Media’s actions led senators to debate whether to seat Harper on Monday.
The House State Government and Tribal Affairs committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 1038, which was requested by the Public Disclosure Commission and would require telephone campaign advertisers to identify their sponsors in order to prevent them from pretending to be conducting research polls.
The Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee will hold hearings on several bills, including one that would allow courts to give longer sentences to people found to have victimized a homeless person.
Katie Schmidt, staff writer