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    The Benton bill machine

    The 2013 Olympia session is only two weeks old and Republican Senator Don Benton has already introduced 30 pieces of legislation.
    Senator Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

    Senator Don Benton, R-Vancouver. Don Benton for State Senate

    Republican Senator Don Benton has been one busy guy. Besides the usual technical tweaking bills submitted by all legislators, here are some Benton originals:

    SB 5156 - Requires any pregnant girl 18 years of age or younger to notify her parents before getting an abortion.   

    SB 5087 -  Prohibits illegal immigrants from qualifying as resident students to obtain in-state college tuition and financial aid—even if they have lived in Washington for years. To Benton, those prospective college students are in the nation illegally and should not take aid away from U.S. citizens. Democratic Senator Ed Murray sees such a bill as hurting residents who are trying to work their way up.   

    SB 5012 - Requires any person getting or renewing a driver's license to show proof of citizenship, or proof that he or she is in the United States legally. Benton said Washington and New Mexico are the only states that don't have this requirement. Murray said it would hamper non-citizens trying to work in the state.        

    SB 2013 - Prohibits Washington and its local governments from restricting property rights due to policies traced back to the U.N.'s "Agenda 21." Created in 1992, Agenda 21 is a 300-page document that addresses sustainable development efforts. The United States signed the Agenda 21 agreement, which is non-binding. Last year, Alabama became the first state to adopt a law that forbade Agenda 21 practices from infringing on property rights. Despite its non-binding status, Benton said Agenda 21's policies have seeped into state and local government regulations, such as requiring stream setbacks for construction.      

    SJR 8200 - Sends a referendum to the public to amend the state constitution to require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to raise taxes. This is currently a state law due to initiatives by Tim Eyman. A case is before the Washington Supreme Court, stemming from a challenge that the two-third's requirement is unconstitutional.      

    SB 5090 - Prohibits light rail connecting Vancouver and Portland, contending this is an Oregon-originated proposal that would add $925 million to the $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing bridge project intended to replace the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia. Clark County voters rejected a sales tax increase last November to pay for a light rail component. Benton described light rail as taxpayers subsidizing transit riders without relieving traffic congestion. 

    SB 5017 - Eliminates reviews for certificates of need for all health facilities except hospitals. Certificates of need are state-required approvals which declare that a sufficient number of patients exist to justify a new or expanded health facility. Benton contended that market forces are more efficient in matching supply to demand in the health fields, saying competition drives down costs to patients.   


    John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.

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    Posted Fri, Jan 25, 8:34 a.m. Inappropriate

    So much for Republicans being for 'smaller' government or the free market. Why not let the market decide where light rail should go??

    Posted Fri, Jan 25, 8:45 a.m. Inappropriate

    The Agenda 21 issue came up in Tennessee last year and passed by a wide margin. The idea is to link zoning regulations with UN conspiracy theories. Even though the original document is 20 years old, only last year has it become an issue. It is going on all over the country and in Canada, and it is being pushed by some of the usual suspects, including ALEC and the John Birch Society (the JBS is still a powerful force in the South).

    Posted Sat, Jan 26, 10:30 a.m. Inappropriate

    If you read the first paragraph of the parental notification bill, it also repeals right to privacy law and repeals the law stating the state sh all not interfere with a legal abortion. It does not just add to the existing laws.

    Posted Sun, Jan 27, 11:38 a.m. Inappropriate

    What is with your obsession with Benton?

    Posted Thu, Jan 31, 4:34 p.m. Inappropriate

    Drunk with power! Lord help us!


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