Will vehicle pursuit crash? Is WRAP Act done? We’ll know soon

It’s Day 59. Tons of bills may die today. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

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2023 Washington Legislature, Day 59 of 105

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com | @dospueblos

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OLYMPIA, March 8, 2023 —It’s Wednesday. Cutoff day. I’m watching, waiting, wondering what non-budget bills will live on past 5 p.m.

And which won’t.

The WRAP Act, an ambitious bid to reshape recycling in Washington, is one that won’t. This 139-page legislation covers a lot of territory, affecting the bottom lines of many people in the process. Too many.

Several folks told me Tuesday it will not get voted on. They all pointed to the striking amendment penned by Rep. Jake Fey as the reason. You’ll see why if you read the summary of changes at the end.

Key provisions get axed, effectively gutting the legislation. And Fey’s overhaul reportedly enjoys backing of enough Democrats and Republicans to make up a majority should there be a vote. Those pushing the WRAP Act read his handiwork, counted votes, and apparently came to the same conclusion. Word is they asked it not be brought up.

Final hours for pursuit?

One of today’s big dramas involves House Bill 1363 to ease restrictions on police chases.

It’s stuck in the Rules Committee. Republicans tried to yank it to the floor via a special order early Tuesday. They failed. Democrats locked up in opposition, including those who are sponsors of the legislation.

Late Tuesday, a new and politically creative path emerged that would unite its fate with that of two other divisive public safety bills.

Rep. Chipalo Street, D-Seattle, is the designer. He cobbled together a rewrite of House Bill 1513, which would bar cops from pulling drivers over for fix-it ticket issues like a broken tail light. His rewrite contains changes to vehicle pursuit rules envisioned in House Bill 1363 and drafting of a model police chase policy embedded in House Bill 1586.

One problem: As of 10 a.m., all three bills remained in Rules. Can’t pass any of them from there.

Second problem: Republicans aren’t buying this ‘buy 1 get 3’ deal. They dropped two dozen amendments to Street’s offering. A sum that large makes it easy for House Speaker Laurie Jinkins to keep it off the floor.

On my radar

Finally, my eyes are on two bills I have written about but have yet to get voted on.

Senate Bill 5002 seeks to lower the legal limit for driving drunk in Washington. It reduces the maximum blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, for drivers from 0.08% to 0.05%. At that mark, Washington would join Utah with the toughest standard in the nation.

House Bill 1670 to ditch the 1 percent cap on annual property tax increases. Voters imposed it years ago via initiative. The state Supreme Court negated it after which lawmakers put it into statute This bill resets the cap at 3 percent for cities, counties and special districts.

What’s on your radar?

Each caucus is likely to produce a list of good, bad and ugly bills that did, or did not, survive cutoff.

What is on your list? Take stock and send me an email before the Friday edition.

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