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Senate passes bill to address Supreme Court’s Blake decision

Senate passes bill to address Supreme Court’s Blake decision

Washington would re-establish a statewide legal framework pertaining to controlled substances and expanding behavioral health treatment options, under a bill passed today by the Senate. In a Feb. 25 decision in the case of State v. Blake, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the state statute that made possession of controlled substances a class C felony, removing any state criminal penalties for possession. As amended on the floor today, SB 5476 would make knowing possession of controlled substances a gross misdemeanor and mandate that jurisdictions provide treatment options. The first two times a person is arrested for possession ...

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Governor signs bill to protect homebuyers from faulty electrical work

Governor signs bill to protect homebuyers from faulty electrical work

  OLYMPIAToday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a measure that will protect people who purchase “flipped” homes from damage or injury due to inadequately performed electrical work. Senate Bill 5267, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), requires electrical work to be performed by a certified electrician or a licensed electrical contractor in homes that are sold within one year of being acquired. Similarly, it requires telecommunications work in such homes to be performed by a licensed telecommunications contractor. “Electrical inspectors are seeing a fairly pervasive problem of people performing inadequate electrical work on property they are ...

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Salomon’s driver’s license suspension reform bill approved by House

Salomon’s driver’s license suspension reform bill approved by House

OLYMPIA – A bill that takes another step toward decriminalizing poverty by removing non-payment of moving violation-based traffic infractions from a list of actions that can lead to criminal enforcement of license suspensions was approved by the House of Representatives on Saturday with a strong bipartisan vote of 80-17. SB 5226, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), would remove criminal penalties for an inability to pay traffic fines.

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Keiser bill to cut $500 million in business taxes passes Senate

Keiser bill to cut $500 million in business taxes passes Senate

OLYMPIA — A bill to provide hard-hit businesses with $500 million from a state funded unemployment relief account to reduce unemployment insurance (UI) premium taxes in 2022 passed the Senate today on a unanimous vote of 49-0. “This awful pandemic has hit some businesses much harder than others,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), the bill’s sponsor. “We took urgent action earlier this session to provide immediate relief to all employers in our state. This bill will bring targeted aid to the sectors where pandemic precautions caused the most layoffs.” SB 5478, which is broadly supported by business ...

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Retired public employees protected from pandemic impacts

Retired public employees protected from pandemic impacts

OLYMPIA — Legislation signed into law this week by the governor will protect public employee’s retirement plans from any budget moves because of the pandemic. Average final salary and earned service credits must include any compensation that was forgone as a result of reduced work hours, mandatory leave without pay, temporary layoffs, furloughs, reductions to the current pay, or other similar measures resulting from the COVID-19 budgetary crisis. Senate Bill 5021, sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt (D-22) contains two overlapping provisions. The first provides that pension plans would continue as if an employee did not have reduction in salary ...

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Legislature passes strongest recycling policy in nation

Legislature passes strongest recycling policy in nation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 8, 2021 Legislature passes strongest recycling policy in nation Legislation passed late Wednesday by the House would require increased recycled content in plastic beverage containers, trash bags and bottles for household and personal care products; ban expanded polystyrene food ware, recreational coolers and packing peanuts; and require that utensils, straws, cup lids and condiments only be provided to customers on request. SB 5022, sponsored by Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), is a leading-edge policy in a series of actions that the Washington state Legislature has taken to move toward climate change and pollution mitigation. The ...

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Governor signs historic police arbitration reform bill into law

Governor signs historic police arbitration reform bill into law

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law today that sets in place the most comprehensive standards for police officer arbitration in Washington in decades. Senate Bill 5055, sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D – West Seattle), increases transparency and reduces the risk of bias in officer appeals of discipline and in the arbitrator selection process. Recent research indicates that in law enforcement arbitration cases across the country, discipline was either reduced or overturned 52% of the time. While the research relied on a sample across 28 states, local and state policy makers have no ...

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Senate passes landmark $59.2 billion budget for state’s recovery

Senate passes landmark $59.2 billion budget for state’s recovery

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate passed a $59.2 billion, two-year budget today to boost funding for state services and provide essential support for the state’s pandemic recovery efforts. The 2021-23 operating budget includes an additional $7 billion in one-time federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to bring relief to struggling households, strengthen the state’s safety net, and build a more resilient public health system. “This is an ambitious budget that will touch every community across the state and includes strategic investments to lift up people who have been hit the hardest over the last year,” said Read More

Senate transportation budget funds workgroup on car tab payments

Senate transportation budget funds workgroup on car tab payments

OLYMPIA — Community members that are experiencing difficulty affording their car tab fees in a lump sum may find relief from a workgroup to study alternative payment options in the Senate Transportation budget that passed off the senate floor this week. The proposal to offer a payment plan originated in a bill proposed by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest). “Community members have had to make extremely difficult decisions because they cannot afford to pay the fees all at once,” Nobles said. “At the same time, they can’t afford to not pay the fees because they don’t want to risk driving ...

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Salomon’s bill to boost critical Orca food supply approved by House

Salomon’s bill to boost critical Orca food supply approved by House

OLYMPIA – A bill aimed at restoring salmon habitat for Puget Sound orcas struggling to find enough food to survive was approved by the House of Representatives on Sunday. Senate Bill 5273, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), would require residential property owners to use an alternative that has the least amount of negative impact on marine life when replacing existing shoreline seawalls.

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