The 2023 legislative session is entering its second month and local lawmakers have seen their bills move through the process of potentially becoming law.
Last week, two legislators representing parts of North Clark County had bills get hearings or pass through committee, the first steps needed before potentially making their way to the governor’s desk for a signature.
McClintock bills pass committee
State Rep. Stephanie McClintock’s first two bills in the Legislature got the nod from the House Consumer Protection and Business Committee last week, as both passed the first step toward law unanimously.
On Feb. 1, the committee passed House Bill 1360 and House Bill 1301, a release from the Washington State House Republicans stated the following day.
HB 1360 would allow the Washington State Department of Licensing to issue professional licenses to applicants based on competency-based standards. Those standards could include training, experience, testing or observation, and must be determined by the department to be at least as effective as exam-based requirements of proficiency and protecting public health and safety, according to a bill summary.
HB 1360 is co-sponsored by the chair of the Consumer Protection and Business Committee, Democrat Amy Walen, the release stated.
HB 1301 would require the Department of Licensing to review and analyze one fifth of professional licenses it regulates each year. It would also require the department to submit an annual report to the Legislature, which includes recommendations on if those reviewed licenses should be terminated, continued or modified.
That bill is intended “to streamline the licensing process and more efficiently use our tax dollars,” the release stated.
McClintock, R-Vancouver, previously said in a release announcing the bills that Washington’s “never-ending red tape slows job growth and prevents individuals from progressing.”
“People are forced to work through too many obstacles trying to get licensed in Washington. State agencies must reevaluate their priorities to help people who want to work and contribute to society,” McClintock said.
McClintock was excited to see her bills move forward.
“This is great news for Washingtonians looking to advance their career goals,” McClintock said after the bills’ committee approval. “Anything we can do to help simplify the licensing process for those who need it is a positive step forward.”
McClintock is in her first term after her 2022 election and is one of two members of the House representing the 18th Legislative District. Following recent redistricting changes, the district represents central Clark County, including Battle Ground.
‘Zack’s Law’ passes committee, Abbarno’s veteran-hiring tax incentive bill gets hearing
State Rep. Peter Abbarno also saw action on his bills last week, as one he introduced passed through committee and another got a public hearing on Feb. 2.
House Bill 1004 received a do-pass recommendation from the House Transportation Committee. The bill, known as “Zack’s Law,” would require state government agencies and local governments to put up signs warning of drowning hazards near dangerous water hazards.
The law honors Zachary Lee Rager, an 18-year-old and experienced swimmer who drowned due to cold-water shock in the Chehalis River in 2021, a release from the Washington State House Republicans stated.
Abbarno, R-Centralia, said the measure will help educate the public about the dangers of jumping into cold water.
“If Zack’s Law saves even a single life, it’s worth passing,” Abbarno stated in the release.
The signs would be placed when bridges or other infrastructure near waterways are upgraded to avoid significant costs to taxpayers, the release stated. It also would provide a way for public donations to the state to put signs at places where people are likely to gather near dangerous waterways.
On the same day Zack’s Law passed out of committee, another of Abbarno’s bills got a hearing in the House Finance Committee.
House Bill 1005 would double the existing business and occupation tax credit for employers who hire a veteran, a veteran’s spouse, or the spouse of an active-duty military member. The employer must hire the individual in a full-time position for at least two consecutive full-calendar quarters, a Washington State House Republicans release stated.
The bill would increase the tax credit from $1,500 to $3,000 for full-time employed veterans, and would expand it to spouses of veterans or active-duty military members, according to the release. It also would remove the requirement that the employee be unemployed for 30 days to be eligible, and would apply to seasonal employers.
“Doubling this tax credit will provide the necessary boost for employers to be able to afford to hire our veterans, active-duty military members and their families, who are some of the most skilled and knowledgeable people in our communities,” Abbarno said in the release.
Abbarno is in his second term after a successful re-election last November. His 20th Legislative District used to represent just the northernmost parts of Clark County and Woodland. Redistricting expanded the district to include La Center and Ridgefield as well.
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