Opening Day 2016: Inmate releases, clean air rules and a minimum wage hike

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Monday, January 11, 2016 8:21am
  • Local News

State lawmakers will begin the 2016 legislative session at noon Monday with a bit of ceremony featuring comments by Republican and Democratic leaders.

Then members of the House and Senate plan to dive into some into controversial subjects.

The Senate Law and Justice Committee is set to hear from the leader of the Department of Corrections on errors that allowed 3,200 inmates to be released from prison early since 2002.

Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke is scheduled to appear at the 1:30 p.m. hearing that will be webcast live by TVW.

At 2 p.m., the House Environment Committee will conduct a work session on the clean air rules proposed last week by the Department of Ecology.

Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the rules be drawn up to effect a slow reduction in the amount of pollution-causing carbon emissions. As drafted, starting in 2017, the rules require the state’s largest emitters to reduce their emissions by 5 percent every three years.

Meanwhile, the other issue worth watching Monday will not involve lawmakers directly.

It will be the filing of an initiative to raise the state minimum wage to as much as $13 an hour and mandate businesses provide workers with paid sick leave. Supporters will submit their paperwork along with a $5 filing fee at 10 a.m. at the Secretary of State’s Office.

They will eventually need to collect and turn in 246,372 valid signatures of registered Washington voters to make the November ballot. The deadline to turn them in is July 8.

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