Editor’s note: Capitol Dispatch appears every Sunday during the legislative session.
The first week of the 105-day legislative session was filled with a lot of “pomp and circumstance” as newly elected representatives were sworn in.
“It’s mostly been just getting things started,” Longview Democratic Sen. Dean Takko said Thursday. “That’s where I’m at right now: chasing people down, getting cosponsors on bills and starting to get things going. You’ve got to start somewhere.”
Takko has introduced 15 bills so far on topics ranging from mobile home foreclosure sales to dog training in the Department of Fish and Wildlife to vanity collector plates.
As requested by the City of Kelso, Takko has sponsored bills that would allow cities to accept contract bids that come within 5 percent of the lowest bid and would return tourism tax dollars to the cities instead of Cowlitz County. (Reps. Jim Walsh and Brian Blake have introduced bills on the same topics in the House of Representatives.)
Takko is also sponsoring a state constitutional amendment that would clarify a plan for governance in the event of a natural disaster, such as the predicted Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
Aberdeen Republican Rep. Jim Walsh has introduced 21 bills, five of which deal with firearms. The bills would prohibit the state Department of Licensing from keeping records of pistol purchase applications, allow school districts to have policies authorizing employees to have firearms on school grounds and repeal certain laws regarding unsafe storage of firearms and the release of confidential health care information for firearm background checks.
Walsh and 19th District colleague Rep. Brian Blake, a Democrat from Aberdeen, have sponsored a bill designating the Pacific razor clam as the state clam.
Blake has introduced four bills regarding marijuana to allow residential marijuana agriculture, allow students to have access to medical marijuana at school and allow compassionate care renewal of medical marijuana for qualifying patients by health care professionals.
However, Blake said Wednesday the most significant legislation he is working on is a bill to determine the threshold for when global carbon emissions accounting would be applied to the review process for large projects.
One of the bills Centralia Republican Sen. John Braun has introduced would create a group of lawmakers to investigate the state regulatory impact on small forest landowners.
Republican Rep. Richard DeBolt of Chehalis has proposed a bill to encourage investment in clean energy and reduce the costs of transitioning to “the clean energy future.” DeBolt is director of external relations for Northwest Innovation Works, which is trying to build a methanol plant at the Port of Kalama. The company sees the plant as a transitional way to make plastics production cleaner by using natural gas as a feedstock instead of coal.
Rep. Ed Orcutt, a Kalama Republican, hasn’t introduced any bills yet but has said he wants to focus on bringing broadband to rural areas.