March 2, 2011

Legislative bills to watch for:

Every day, we’ll recap some of the major bills still alive in Olympia. Many have been deemed “necessary to implement the budget,” meaning they’re exempt from committee cut-offs. 

Here are a few of the bills you’ve been following still alive as the Senate and House debate bills on the floor this week:
  • SSB 5459, the heavily amended bill on transition services for developmentally disabled residents. Otherwise known as the Kline Bill. This is a far cry from its original form – for instance, it now retains statutory authority for all the residential habilitation centers. While better, it’s the vehicle that could still be used to close one or more RHC. So stay tuned.
  • SB 5622 and HB 1796, the Discover Pass Bill to replace general funds to save state parks and fund parts of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources.
  • HB 1387 and SB 5385, increasing revenue to the state Wildlife Account.
  • SB 5807 (Federation-initiated bill) for medical interpreters.
  • Closing tax loopholes to fund the Basic Health Program (HB 1847) and accounting for state tax expenditures in the state budget process (HB 1889 and SB 5831).
  • SSB 5605, limiting liability for certain Community Corrections and DSHS workers.
  • SSB 5024, placing restrictions on legal claims initiated by persons serving criminal sentences in state prisons.
  • All agency re-organizing bills likely remain alive because they’re budget-related: SSB 5669 – Natural resource agencies; SHB 1720 – Department of Enterprise Services; and SHB 1841 – Information technology.
  • SB 5160, increasing the duty-related death benefit for public employees.
  • HB 1179, clarifying that legislators and state employees may attend worksite informational or educational meetings.
  • SHB 1518 (Federation-initiated), authorizing pre-tax payroll deductions for qualified transit and parking benefits.
  • SSB 5126, salary reductions for elected officials and SSJR 8202, authorizing the reduction of public officials’ salaries.
  • HB 1625 and SB 5494, addressing the default investment option available to new PERS 3 members.
  • HB 1395 and SSB 5036, eliminating the expiration dates for the derelict vessel and invasive species removal fee. 
 The 2-ton gorilla still to come: The 2011-2013 biennial operating budget.

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