Vehicle pursuit, marriage equality, and giving students a say on recess

It’s Day 38. As a key deadline nears, conversations heat up in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

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2023 Washington Legislature, Day 38 of 105

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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OLYMPIA, Feb. 15, 2023 —

It’s Wednesday. It’s sunny and chilly on the grounds of the state Capitol.

Inside legislative buildings, the mood is heating up as the deadline to get policy bills out of committee is two days away.

Lots of heated conversations on a bill dealing with vehicle pursuits by law enforcement. It’s penciled in for possible action in a House committee Friday morning. Amendments aimed at getting out of committee should appear online today. Look for an update in the next edition.

Switching gears, a crowd of political influencers filled the state reception room to commemorate a milestone in Washington history.

It came 11 years ago this month when then governor Chris Gregoire signed the law providing gay and lesbian couples the legal right to marry. But at the moment she affixed her signature to the bill, it wasn’t clear if any weddings might ever occur. Opponents got a referendum on the November ballot aimed at repealing.

It failed. Washington became the seventh state allowing same-sex couples to wed, and, if I recall correctly, the first in which voters also backed a marriage equality law.

“It was momentous. It was historic,” Gregoire said at the event. “More importantly it would change lives.”

Sticker shock

Own a home? Brace yourself for a leap in assessed value. And higher property tax bills too.

It’s certainly the case in Snohomish County where assessed values rose an average of 32.5% and the “average” price of a residence is now $715,000. In Mill Creek, where Sen. John Lovick and Rep. April Berg reside, values rose 39% and the average price rose to a notch under a million dollars. (Are they now millionaires, on paper?)

Why point this out? Lawmakers, including Berg, are pushing property tax relief ideas this session though most wouldn’t impact 2023 bills if they became law.

There’s also bipartisan efforts to boost the supply of housing in all shapes, sizes, types and locations. And ensure a sizable portion of whatever is built is affordable now, and for years to come. This data reveals the magnitude of such a challenge in Snohomish County. Got to be as challenging elsewhere which should add a degree of urgency for action among lawmakers.

Giving kids a vote

Monday is President’s Day. Lawmakers will bring children and grandchildren onto the floors of the House and Senate.

And this year they’re going to get to vote on a bill in each chamber, Democratic leaders said Tuesday.

In the House, it’s going to be from this list. I find the one requiring a recreational fishing license to fish for carp interesting. I caught, and released, plenty of carp as a kid without the state of California’s permission.

Putting my money on ones honoring famous animals and signature land masses.

In the other chamber, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, of Spokane, has made no secret his kids like the bill guaranteeing a minimum 30 minutes of recess in each school day. Certain they will get to voice their support for that.

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