Good morning. Today is Thursday, the 18th day of the 105-day session.
Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, introduced a bill, at the request of the Higher Education Coordinating Board, that would authorize all public universities in the state to develop doctorate programs. Currently, only the University of Washington and Washington State University can do so. The bill is a companion to Senate Bill 5315, introduced last week by Randi Becker, R-Eatonville.
Becker also introduced a bill that would require all tax and spending bills to be made available to the public 24 hours before they receive a hearing, and she proposed both a bill and a constitutional amendment that would require that tolls collected on a state road be spent only on that road.
Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee, introduced a bill that would mandate immigration-status checks when a person applies for a driver’s license. The proposal, which has some Democrats as co-sponsors, is similar to several bills filed by Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, earlier in the session.
Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, introduced three bills that would create stricter penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Together, the bills would increase the sentences for vehicular homicides related to driving under the influence, increase jail time for first-time offenders and make it a class C felony to have three DUI convictions in 10 years.
Rep. Glenn Anderson, R-Fall City, proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to dissolve counties that receive twice as much in state transfer funds as they bring in from taxes.
Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, introduced a bill to eliminate the death penalty in Washington. A similar 2010 bill, also sponsored by Murray, never made it to a vote.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings on several bills and constitutional amendment proposals that would authorize salary reductions for elected officials. The commission that oversees state officials’ salaries has said that it cannot reduce elected officials’ salaries under the state constitution; it can only raise or freeze them.
The House Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would create a fee companies transporting oil in Puget Sound would have to pay. Money from the fee would go into an oil-spill preparedness and response fund.
The Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill 5039, which would require health insurance plans to cover treatments to help people stop smoking. The House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee will vote on House Bill 1202, which would allow spirits sampling in liquor stores.
The House Environment Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would expand the Washington Conservation Corps and create a Puget Sound Corps. The House bill is a companion to a bill already heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee.
The House Community Development & Housing Committee will hold a work session on homelessness in the state. Today is Homeless Awareness Day in Washington and the day that the annual Commerce Department count of homeless people across the state is released.
The Senate Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would authorize a pilot project to convert forest biomass into aviation fuel and put together an expert panel to study the issue.
The House Capital Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the 2011-13 capital budget proposal introduced by Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, at the request of Gov. Chris Gregoire.