Editor’s note: Capitol Dispatch appears every Sunday during the legislative session.
With the 105-day state Legislative session coming to an end Sunday, Southwest Washington lawmakers have successfully passed a number of bills related to local issues.
Our two senators from the 19th and 20th districts, Republican Sen. John Braun and Democrat Sen. Dean Takko respectively, worked together on three bills that were passed out of both houses, including one regarding cemetery district withdrawals that Gov. Jay Inslee already signed into law April 17.
The second bill from Braun and Takko, which reduces the fee public works contractors pay with their mandatory statements showing they paid prevailing wages from $40 to $20, was delivered to Inslee on Tuesday.
A third bill to examine the impact of state regulations on small forest landowners passed unanimously out of both houses.
The two lawmakers, along with all other senators, also adopted a resolution on Monday to honor slain Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier.
Two other bills from Braun, a Centralia lawmaker, relating to firefighter safety and pensions both passed out of both houses unanimously. The governor signed the safety bill on April 19.
Takko, a Longview Democrat, successfully steered a bill and a state constitutional amendment through the Legislature that ensures government continuity in the event of an emergency. The Senate president and the House speaker have both signed the amendment. The bill is now on Inslee’s desk, awaiting his approval.
As the chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, Takko also introduced six other governance bills that have passed out of both houses. The bills deal with local government modernization and efficiency, the administration of irrigation districts, tax exemptions for the sale of personal property after the merger of two political subdivisions, liability for county treasurers that fail to collect personal property tax, insurance for water-sewer district commissioners and foreclosure sales of mobile home parks.
Meanwhile in the House of Representatives, Aberdeen Democrat Rep. Brian Blake had five bills pass both the Senate and House: two relate to access to medical marijuana, two deal with commercial egg layers and commercial fishing access, and one establishes a dog training program in the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Republican Reps. Jim Walsh of Aberdeen and Ed Orcutt of Kalama co-sponsored the dog training legislation, House Bill 1516, which has yet to go to the governor’s desk.
Walsh also co-sponsored three of Blake’s bills, including legislation to expand commercial fishing opportunities for young families, which unanimously passed both houses.
The other two bills make it easier for children who use medical marijuana to have their second dose while at school and exempts qualifying patients from having an in-person exam to renew medical marijuana authorization.
Blake’s fifth bill requires commercial egg producers to meet national housing standards that provide a certain minimum amount of floor space.
In addition, the Senate version of Blake’s bill to expand protection of the southern resident orca whale passed both houses and was delivered to the governor on Thursday.
The Senate version of Rep. Walsh’s bill regarding address changes for registered voters, which Sen. Takko co-sponsored, passed both houses and was delivered to the governor.
Rep. Ed Orcutt, with co-sponsor Rep. Richard DeBolt of Chehalis, had a bill pass out of both houses that allows people to enter an abandoned cemetery for authorized reasons. The bill was delivered to the governor on April 18.
In addition, Orcutt’s bill to increase the number of waivers that can be granted to small school districts to reduce the number of required school days in a year passed out of both houses.
Orcutt also successfully proposed a joint memorial to designate the bridge over Skookumchuck River on State Route 507 as the Regina Clark Memorial Bridge.
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