Other Topics

Lawmakers have more than 100 days to do the state's business this year. So they will have plenty of time to consider issues not related to the state budget, from dinosaurs to child abuse to crisis intervention.

WA HB 1020: A new state dinosaur

House Bill 1020 aims to adopt the Suciasarus rex, a two-legged, three-toed, carnivorous animal related to the Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex, and modern birds, as the official state dinosaur. The Suciasarus is the only dinosaur remains discovered in Washington state. The left femur of a theropod was found in Sucia Island Marine State Park, a rarity for paleontologists in the region.

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9

 

WA HB 1009: Professional licenses for military spouses

House Bill 1009 seeks to make it easier for military spouses, specifically those in professions requiring licenses or state accreditation, work in Washington state. The relocation of military families and long waits for said licenses often leads many military spouses to face unemployment for months at a time. Agencies, boards, or commissions that issue licenses would need to create procedures and requirements to receive the benefit if the bill becomes a law.

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9

 

WA SB 5171 Gender based pricing

Senate Bill 5171 seeks to end discriminatory pricing of similar goods solely on the basis of which gender they are being marketed to. Price differences will be allowed if there were discrepancies in manufacturing time, difficulty, cost, labor, or materials. If a court finds a violation, the attorney general may petition a court order to cease the sales and may direct restitution. Civil penalties for violating this act range from $1,000 to exceeding $100,000 in rare repeat circumstances. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, was brought to her by a group of students from Lake City High School wanting to raise awareness about consumer gender discrimination.

Read this Crosscut story for more information about this proposal.

Status: Bill is moving forward, passed out of Senate Law and Justice Committee on Jan. 19

 

WA SB 5028 Name change requests

Senate Bill 5028 widens the opportunity for individuals (and their guardians, in the event that they are a minor) to request legal name changes. This includes allowing the request to be made at any district court in the state. Name change petitions will be heard in any superior court for reasons including but not limited to: Emancipation of minors, asylum or refugee status, gender expression/identity, domestic violence, stalking, and harassment. The court will also seal the file following the change to protect the identity and privacy of the person, as well as waive the change fees for those who are unable to pay them.  

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the Senate Jan. 9

 

WA SB 5013: Wine tax exemption for small wineries

Senate Bill 5013 would introduce a tax preference, making the first 20,000 gallons of wine produced in a year by Washington wineries not subject to some state tax. These include retail license application fees, spirits and distillers license fees, warehouse storage and distributor license fees, among others. SB 5013 would alleviate state wineries of extra expenses and to promote local business growth within Washington. If the positive effects of this bill are seen through a decrease in small wineries going out of business or an increase in the overall number of small wineries, then the tax preference will increase. 

Status: Introduced in the Senate Jan. 9

 

WA HB 1029: State workers and vaccine mandates

House Bill 1029 would give dismissed employees from executive branch state agencies pathways to reemployment if their dismissal was due to their refusal to get the COVID vaccine. The language of the bill argues that, especially considering the worker shortage, these dismissals only serve to deny the state qualified workers. 

Status: Introduced in the House Jan. 9

 

WA SB 5280 Child abuse reporting by clergy

Senate Bill 5280 would make clergy mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. The proposal would make it illegal for clergy not to report sexual abuse allegations to authorities unless the information came in the form of a confession. Currently, Washington is one of a handful of states in the country that do not list clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect.

For more information on this proposal, read this story on Crosscut.

Status: Bill is moving forward, introduced in the House Jan. 9

 

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