Bills for car tabs, dwarf tossing, and congestion tolling all die in Olympia

Bills for car tabs, dwarf tossing, and congestion tolling all die in Olympia

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As the clock struck 5 on Wednesday evening, a handful of hotly-contested — and controversial — bills died before ever getting a full vote in the Washington state Legislature. That list included three different measures to lower fees for car tabs, a ban on dwarf-tossing, and a bill that would have banned congestion tolling in cities like Seattle.

Car tab fees have been front of mind for Washington voters ever since the passage of ST3, that saw rates triple for many across the state. A trio of measures in the Legislature looked to ease the burden on taxpayers, none of which advanced out of committee Wednesday.

The first, proposed by Republican Sen. Steve O’Ban, would have tied car tabs to Kelley Blue Book value, effectively cutting rates by over 55 percent. The second was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Patty Kuderer, that would have created a car tab fee for low-income drivers.

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The third measure came from Democratic Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, proposing lower car tab fees for any vehicle newer than 10 years old, and registered inside the Sound Transit service area.

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Despite not making it out of committee, Pellicciotti’s bill is not entirely dead.

“Because the bill is revenue generating to the state, it can be considered up until the end of the session,” he told KIRO Radio. Pellicciotti plans to continue working on the bill before the 2019 legislative session ends.

That all leaves political activist Tim Eyman’s $30 car tab ballot initiative, set to go before voters this November.

Congestion tolling
Another controversial transportation measure died on Wednesday, in the form of a bill that would have banned congestion tolling in cities across the state.

That comes as Seattle begins research into tolling downtown streets, in hopes of using it to reduce the city’s significant traffic problems. Despite its relative success in cities across the globe, congestion tolling as often been maligned by drivers.

“Congestion pricing — while being immensely effective — is very unpopular,” Washington State Transportation Center Director Mark Hallenbeck told MyNorthwest back in January.

Also failing to make it to a floor vote on Wednesday:

  • A ban on dwarf tossing contests at bars and strip clubs in Washington state
  • A bill that would have allowed Seattle to install traffic cameras to ticket drivers blocking intersections and driving in bus lanes
  • A measure to convert the I-405 toll lane into an HOV lane
  • Making it so school bonds would only require a simply majority vote, rather than a two-thirds majority
  • A bill to increase penalties for impaired drivers with four or more DUIs in 15 years
  • Statewide regulations on rideshare serves like Lyft and Uber