Which WA bills survived this week's legislative deadline?
A key deadline for bills to pass out of their chambers of origin in the state Legislature is now behind us.
KUOW's Jeanie Lindsay and Amy Radil spoke to Morning Edition host Angela King about which bills are moving forward and which are getting left behind — for now.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Angela King: Amy, let's start with you. Lawmakers are debating when police vehicle chases should be allowed. A bill passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support, but not before lawmakers made some key changes to it. Can you tell us what some of those are?
Amy Radil: Yeah, this bill was a narrow expansion of police discretion, what they can do compared to our current law. You know, it lowered the bar slightly for vehicle pursuits for certain crimes. Here's state Sen. John Lovick, a Democrat. He spoke in favor of the compromise bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday.
Lovick: "I know there are fears out there, but I think legislation like this can bring our community together and help our law enforcement professionals do the job that they are hired and that they are trained to do.”
Radil: But there were Republicans who rejected this bill because it would still prohibit pursuits related to stolen vehicles. And there were Democrats who voted no, because they're defending our current law and saying we have to use other means besides high-speed chases to stop people who are committing crimes.
King: So, Amy, any sense of how this bill could do in the house?
Radil: Well, I think the reason it popped up kind of by surprise this week in the Senate was because lawmakers are really motivated to keep working on this issue. So, the most important thing about the current bill is that it keeps the issue alive, not that it's the final word.
King: Jeanie, let me turn to you. Were there any bills that looked like they were headed for the chopping block but survived and made it past this week's deadline?
Jeanie Lindsay: So, most of the surprises were some of the bills that died that actually had pretty significant support, including a DUI-threshold-reduction bill that our colleague Tom Banse has covered and bills on rent control that didn't move forward. But those are issues that Democrats have said could come back in the future. So, I'm sure it's not the last we've seen of them. There was also a major recycling bill, commonly referred to as the WRAP Act, didn't move forward despite it making through the committee process.
House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox did say yesterday he was surprised by the passage of a bill that would restrict new natural gas connections in residential and commercial buildings. He said many folks weren't expecting that. So, it'll be interesting to see what ultimately happens with that legislation.
And, pretty notably, House Democrats cut it close with the bill commonly referred to as the assault-weapons ban. That's the bill that bans the sale of a variety of semi-automatic firearms, including rifles and other high-capacity firearms. It was the last bill they worked on just before the cut-off. They introduced it on the floor just 15 minutes before the deadline. That ultimately passed the House.
King: Well, we know that this legislative session ends April 23. So Jeanie, what are you looking out for in terms of bills and measures as we head into this next stage?
Lindsay: The transformation of bills is going to be really interesting, to see what each chamber does with the bills that the opposite chamber sent them. One of the things that I'll be watching for are some of the revenue proposals. There was a wealth-tax bill that was heard in the Senate yesterday. There was a hearing on a House version earlier this session. So, how the Legislature handles revenue as they start to develop their budgets. The revenue forecast is expected in the next couple of weeks and then budget proposals shortly thereafter.