OLYMPIA, Wash. — A smaller but still busy legislative session for Washington lawmakers kicks off on Monday.
The Washington state legislature has plenty to tackle during its 60-day session. And although it won’t include the oft-cumbersome budgeting process, there are still plenty of key issues to focus on.
That includes tackling public safety head-on. As police pursuits have continued to spark debate, some lawmakers have pushed for a full rollback of the restrictions enacted two sessions ago.
Others have pointed to a need to hire more police officers in communities across the state.
“The public safety crisis in this state is longstanding,” said Republican State Rep. Eric Robertson last week during a legislative preview. “We’re 50th in the nation when it comes to officers in our communities.”
Also at the top of the to-do list will be to find ways to shore up Washington’s aging ferry system, which has been plagues by out-of-commission boats, low staffing, and frequent delays.
“The state should do everything humanly possible to restore more reliable service on our boats, as quickly as humanly possible,” Gov. Inslee said last week.
That’s not all that’s on the table, though.
Among the bills that will be considered will be a proposed switch to keep Washington in standard time year-round, fully eliminating the state’s twice-yearly time change. With bipartisan support from its Republican and Democratic co-sponsors Mike Padden and Manka Dhingra, it will be the second time in as many sessions such a bill will be introduced in the legislature.
Election reform could be on the horizon as well in the form of HB 1932, which would push to have local governments move their elections to even-numbered years. If passed, any city or town with under 40% voter turnout in four straight odd-year general elections would be forced to make the change starting in 2025.
Student health is also high on the list for lawmakers. One bill would look to install vape detectors in public schools across the state, while another would limit the use of mobile devices during school hours.
You can see the full list of bills set to be introduced for this session here.
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