Virtual Conversation | 2021 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 15, 2021 Register

A few notable prefiled bills

Legislators have prefiled 134 bills for introduction during the 2021 session.

Republican Rep. Blad Klippert has prefiled the most bills thus far with ten, followed by Sen. Karen Keiser with six. As for how this prefiling period compares to last year, the Wire reported in 2019 that 117 bills had been pre-filed as of December 16th.

Below is a quick glance at some of the bills that caught our eye.

Senate Minority Leader John Braun is proposing a bill that would require public schools to offer in-person learning if their county falls below a five percent COVID positivity metric for two consecutive weeks.

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig has legislation that would change legal frameworks under the Growth Management Act (GMA) that allow development rights to vest before the environmental impact of certain planning actions can be determined.

Aiming to address a $15 billion revenue shortage over the next 75 years for the state’s long-term care program, a bill sponsored by Sens. Keiser and Conway would put a constitutional amendment in front of voters to allow long-term care trust fund dollars to be invested in stocks and other equities. The amendment (in the form of SJR 8212) was rejected by voters this year, but the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Commission voted unanimously to request that legislators try again in 2021. 

Rep. Maycumber and Rep. Lovick are sponsoring have a bipartisan bill which would fund mental health support and suicide prevention services for law enforcement officers. This legislation is being introduced after Gov. Inslee vetoed funding for three mental health support pilot programs for law enforcement this year as a COVID-19-related budget cut. A competitive grant program would award funding to the pilot projects by Sept. 21, 2021.

Sen. Keiser and Sen. Warnick are introducing bipartisan legislation to remove the state’s excise tax on marijuana products when purchased for medical purposes. This bill provides a tax exemption to qualified medical marijuana patients and designated providers with a recognition card. Sellers would be required to maintain eligibility records for every person receiving the exemption.

Rep. Brad Klippert is proposing that Washington State’s gubernatorial election move to en electoral college system. His bill would require the redistricting commission to assign each county a number of electoral votes for the election for governor. The commission must use the “method of equal proportions” that is used to apportion seats for the US House of Representatives. Each county would receive at least one electoral vote and there would be a total of 147 electoral votes allocated amongst the counties.

Sens. Joe Nguyen and Rebecca Saldaña are introducing a bill that would reform grievance procedures for all collective bargaining agreements covering law enforcement personnel negotiated or renewed after January 1, 2022. The agreements would be required to adhere to a new arbitrator selection procedure. Arbiters would be selected based on, among other qualifications, their experience and training in “cultural competency, racism, implicit bias, and recognizing and valuing community diversity and cultural differences.”

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