The 2019 Legislative session is over and Gov. Jay Inslee’s pen has been busy signing off on hundreds of bills that managed to survive the 105 days lawmakers were at work. Of the 469 bills signed by the governor as of May 23, 19 were from legislators representing North County.
Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, had two of the five bills he was the primary sponsor for pass, both receiving significant attention statewide and beyond. House Bill 1074 raises the legal age for purchase of tobacco and vapor products to 21 and received support from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson through its push in the legislature.
Harris’ other bill, Engrossed House Bill 1638, removes the personal/philosophical exemption from the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine required to attend schools and licensed daycares in the state. The bill follows this year’s measles outbreak in Clark County which officially came to an end April 29 with 71 confirmed cases in total.
Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida, had two of his nine bills hit Inslee’s desk. House Bill 1208 allows for flexibility for accounting firms as to whether or not they need a specific license if they do or don’t provide attest services as a part of their business. Substitute Senate Bill 1284 creates a framework
for allowing local governments to use the state treasurer’s office resources for long-term investments.
Freshman Rep. Larry Hoff, R-Vancouver, got his first bill passed this session, one of three of which he was the primary sponsor. House Bill 1176 changes some of the licensing procedures for a number of industries including auctioning, engineering and land surveying, real estate, funeral directors and cosmetology, with the goal of avoiding the need for entering unnecessary information to streamline the licensing process, according to a bill summary.
“One of my top priorities is ensuring state agencies are serving the people of Washington state well,” Hoff said in a news release. “House Bill 1176 will assist DOL in its efforts to provide excellent customer service to the state’s small business owners. It will also make life easier for staff members at the agency, who will no longer be burdened by duplicative and laborious processes that take up so much of their time. That’s what I call a win-win.”
Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, had two of the 14 bills he entered this session signed. Engrossed House Bill 1801 deals with abandoned cemeteries, permitting entry into the sites “for burials, care and maintenance activities, and visitation of graves,” according to a bill summary. The bill also allows cities, counties or certain preservation organizations to maintain and protect abandoned cemeteries with proper authorization.
Orcutt’s other passing bill, House Bill 1803, increases the number of waivers the state Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) can issue to small school districts with regard to the minimum number of school days per year, bumping the number from five to 10, according to a bill summary.
Sen. Lynda Wilson had three of the nine bills of which she was the prime sponsor get the governor’s signature. Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5148 allows for another option for visible clothing required for hunters, providing for fluorescent pink to be used in place of or alongside fluorescent orange, the current standard for hunting safety.
Substitute Senate Bill 5151 allows for greater accessibility of state Growth Management Hearings Board documents, requiring the quasi-judicial board to maintain an online searchable database of decisions and orders with certain requirements on search parameters.
Substitute Senate Bill 5362 offers reprieve for vehicle registration scofflaws, allowing for a one-time deferral of full punishment on state law regarding vehicle and driver licensing. Whereas currently, those living in Washington with a vehicle registered in another state receive a $1,529 fine, the bill allows for a lower $500 fine as long as the individual appears in court, gets a valid Washington driver’s license and registers the vehicle within 90 days of the issuance of the violation.
Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, had four of her 21 bills signed by the governor. Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5298 changes some laws regarding labeling on cannabis products, specifically prohibiting claims that a product will “diagnose, mitigate, treat, cure, or prevent any disease” or have a label appealing to children, according to a bill summary.
Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5318 also deals with cannabis, relaxing penalties on violations by cannabis businesses not related to public safety and allowing for “compliance assistance” by the state liquor and cannabis board that would hold harmless businesses on potential violations during the assistance period, according to a bill digest.
Outside of pot, Rivers also saw a bill promoting education on the Holocaust in Washington schools, Substitute Senate Bill 5612. She also had Senate Bill 5817 pass, which allows for senior chiropractic students to perform adjustments, though they must pass an exam and be under direct supervision by a licensed chiropractor, according to a bill summary.
The North County lawmaker with the most of their own bills passed this year was Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, who had five of the 21 he put forward get signed into law.
Substitute Senate Bill 5175 makes the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries establish several best practices with a goal to “improve safety and health outcomes for firefighters” including ones to reduce the risk of firefighter exposure to carcinogens among others, according to a bill summary.
Also regarding firefighters, Substitute Senate Bill 5894 was signed into law. The bill clarifies when a city or town can impose a public safety employee pension levy, allowing for the levy to continue only until there are no more beneficiaries of the pension program, generally for staff employed prior to 1970, according to a bill summary.
Senate Bill 5177 allows cemetery districts to remove land from their boundaries without the usually-required public hearing if there are no qualified voters in the land in question. If the removal request is started by the district board, they will still need written approval from property owners representing at least 60% of the land in question, according to a bill summary.
Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5330 deals with small forest landowners, creating a legislative work group to look on regulatory impacts on those property owners and tasks The University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences with creating a report on impacts.
Senate Bill 5566 also passed. The bill cuts the fees that contractors on public projects need to pay when submitting documents regarding prevailing wage payments, from $40 per document to $20 for the 2019-2021 biennium, according to a bill summary.