Which legislation still has a shot this session?

OLYMPIA — Marijuana use won’t be legal, assault weapons won’t be banned and ads won’t be plastered on the side of school buses.

Life for those proposed laws expired Tuesday.

But bills to make public the names of people who sign initiatives, unionize child-care workers and deny bail to a greater number of accused are alive and well, for now.

Tuesday was the deadline for the House and Senate to approve bills introduced in their respective chambers that did not deal directly with the budget. (Measures deemed necessary to carry out the state’s operating budget do not face any deadline.)

As of Tuesday, 1,470 bills dealing with policy, spending, taxing and transportation had been introduced by lawmakers, and plenty remain in play.

One of the most prominent proposals moving along would ask voters this November to change the state constitution so that convicted offenders facing new charges that could result in life imprisonment can be denied bail. Today, only those charged with capital crimes such as murder can be denied bail.

The House and Senate passed different versions of a proposed constitutional amendment. A compromise will eventually be reached. Lawmakers view this as the one change in law that, had it been in place last year, could have prevented the release of the man accused of slaying four Lakewood police officers last year.

A bill to improve aerospace-related research and training won approval in the Senate. Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, has kept it alive in part by taking out all the pieces that cost money.

What remains would lay the foundation for creating an institute in Snohomish County to coordinate state and industry training programs and a center at the University of Washington for new research.

On Monday, the state Senate passed a bill making names of people who sign initiative and referendum petitions a public record subject to disclosure. This measure was inspired by the 2009 legal dispute on whether signers of Referendum 71 petitions can keep their identities secret. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case April 28.

For the second year in a row, the House passed a controversial bill to unionize day-care providers who serve children whose costs for care are partially covered by the state.

This bill would give the owners and workers of the small child-care centers an opportunity to negotiate wages and working conditions through collective bargaining. A similar bill died in the Senate last session.

Finally, a new law may be coming making it easier for police to ticket those caught talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.

The bill passed by the Senate makes the behavior a primary offense; today, it is a secondary offense, meaning a driver can’t be stopped unless some other wrongdoing also occurred.

Gone are a bundle of proposals that have stirred conversation and passionate debate since the Legislature convened Jan. 11.

Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, received much attention for his idea of letting schools sell ads on the outside of their buses. He viewed it as a means for cash-starved public school districts to generate a few extra dollars.

Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, spent much of 2009 crafting a bill to codify government-to-government relations between tribes and the state. It was on course for action before the 5 p.m. cutoff, then veered off.

McCoy, disappointed but not defeated, said he’ll spend the coming months further educating colleagues on issues of tribal sovereignty and American Indian law contained in his plan.

“There will be another bill. There will be another day,” he said. “One of the things that I’ve learned down here is there are things that happen and if you put all of your emotional capital in a bill you’ll get crushed.”

Rep. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, proposed a bill giving Community Transit and other transit districts power to raise revenue through car license renewal fees. It showed up on the calendar but House Democratic leaders never brought it forward.

Though that bill is finished, other opportunities to help transit districts through the transportation budget do exist, he said.

A measure letting adults grow, possess and smoke marijuana legally never reached the floor of either chamber. It may wind up on the ballot in November as signature-gathering is on target to begin Friday for Initiative 1068 to legalize marijuana.

Hundreds of people showed up in January to testify against a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. It didn’t even clear a first hurdle of approval in a policy committee and Tuesday put a final nail in the idea for 2010.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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