2022 Washington Legislature, Day 36 of 60
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OLYMPIA, Feb. 14 — Happy Monday.
This week we learn the fate of high-profile legislation, the amount of cash available for the supplemental budget and the end date for the state’s mask mandate.
The cut-off to get House bills to the Senate and vice-versa arrives at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
In the Senate, bills to make it a crime for politicians to lie about election results and anyone to peddle fake COVID-19 vaccination documents still sat in the Senate Rules Committee early today.
Gov. Jay Inslee is pushing Senate Bill 5843, to punish those who make false claims about elections with the intent to incite violence. Sure, Democrats think such statements are criminal. But not all are ready to add it to the criminal statutes. Democratic Sen. Bob Hasegawa voted to send it to Rules to allow his caucus to talk about it. Wish we could hear the conversation.
On the watch list in the House is a bill to further restrict where one can openly carry a firearm. House Bill 1630 would keep them out of ballot counting centers and places where county councils, school boards and city councils meet. On the floor calendar, it’s a safe bet to be acted on.
Traditionally, each chamber sets aside one bill to debate before cut-off. These can deal with matters of a serious or offbeat nature.
A new state revenue forecast will be released at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Expect really good news.
In November, the state’s chief economist projected tax collections were $3.6 billion higher than anticipated when lawmakers adopted the current budget. And the economy has continued to churn at a better than expected pace.
Once the forecast is out, Democratic budget writers in each chamber can fill in numbers of their respective supplemental budget proposals. Those could be released by this time next week.
This week Inslee is supposed to reveal when he will lift the requirement for wearing masks in schools and indoor public places. We’re waiting to learn when he’ll make the announcement. A safe bet is it won’t take effect immediately.
However, starting Friday you will no longer need to don a mask at an outdoor event with 500 or more people. He said that last week.
Police reforms advance
House Bill 2037, which revises the standard for when police can use physical force, passed overwhelmingly in the House on Saturday. The vote came after language was added stating that the amount of physical force used is a “reasonable and proportional response to effect the legal purpose intended or to protect against the threat posed to the officer or others.”
This legislation, combined with House Bill 1735 and Senate Bill 5919, contain fixes for laws approved last session that cops say impede their ability to assist crisis responders, pursue suspected criminals and detain people for questioning in the course of investigations.
Non-profit TVW covers state government in Olympia and selected events statewide. Programs are available for replay on the internet, and the channel is widely available on Washington cable systems.
Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy newspapers) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review)