Local News

Legislative actions in Olympia

state legislature by Jeff Switzer
OLYMPIA--Rep. Dave Schmidt, R-Bothell, recently offered an amendment to the House Transportation Committee's recently passed $152 million supplemental budget, which now goes on to House Rules. The amendment would eliminate state funding of private-public initiatives (toll roads) starting with SR-16 and its park and ride.
   Schmidt thinks that eliminating funding for the project may turn out to be the most effective method of stopping the toll roads. "After a year down here, I've learned that most decisions are based on money," he said. "Its absence tends to have a chilling effect on bureaucrats."

In other Legislature news:
   The House unanimously passed the "two strikes, you're out" measure, which would impose a life sentence without the possibility for parole or release for sexually violent offenders convicted of a second or subsequent offense.
   "I applaud the strongest penalties possible for perpetrators of violent sex crimes," said Rep. Mike Sherstad, R-Bothell, who said this bill would impose appropriate penalties for sexually violent criminals.
   Sherstad also added a successful amendment which would prohibit treatment or counseling for sex offenders who will be spending life behind bars. This bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

   The House passed 68-30 a property rights bill that would require government to mitigate the loss of property value created by some land-use restrictions, including direct compensation.
   "We were careful to ensure that this bill did not have the ambiguity and unintended impacts that many feared were inherent in the referendum," said Rep. Bill Thompson, R-Everett.
   Rep. Kathy Lambert, R-Redmond, voted in favor as well. This bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

   Two consumer protection bills sponsored by Sen. Jeanine Long, R-Mill Creek, unanimously passed the Senate last week. The measures require stricter identification and inspection regulations for vehicles once declared a total loss and later rebuilt.
   A structural integrity test would be required for some vehicles, and title and registration of these vehicles would require the word "rebuilt" to alert potential buyers to previous damage. This bill now goes to the House's Transportation Committee.

   Sen. Bill Finkbeiner has established a Web site to encourage public involvement in legislative activities, located at http://access.wa.net.

   Two Town Hall meetings with Reps. Bill Backlund and Kathy Lambert, both R-Redmond, are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Duvall Library Rose Room, 122 Main NW, Duvall; and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Woodinville City Council Chambers, 13203-A NE 175th St., Woodinville.