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Your lawmakers at work
It is becoming clearer what new laws will emerge from the two-month legislative session that ended last week.
For those keeping count, 11 had been added to the books as of Wednesday afternoon with dozens of bills still to be sent to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signing in the coming weeks.
Not every piece of legislation earns a headline. Here are a few that have, and have not.
• Maximum Funblock for Minors: Teenagers are barred from using tanning beds unless they have a prescription from their doctor for a few doses of artificial sun. And if you look 17 or younger, prepare to show a photo ID in order to use the equipment.
• Left Turns on Red: It’s going to be legal for motorcyclists soon. If a motorcycle does not trigger a traffic light to change and the rider waits through a full cycle of the signal, they can run it.
• No Peeking: Unmanned aerial systems, AKA drones, will keep flying overhead. But city, county and state law enforcement agencies can’t equip them with a “extraordinary sensing device” to track people below for an investigation without a warrant.
• Vino to Go: Growlers aren’t just for beer drinking. Owners of Washington wineries will soon be able to sell growlers and kegs of wine at their tasting rooms. Customers can also bring in their own growler for a fill up.
• Gin and Tonic, Hold the Rummy: Nonprofit senior centers can soon add Happy Hour to their list of daily activities. Centers can obtain a liquor license to sell spirits, wine and beer every day as long as they offer some food service. Until now, centers needed to buy a special occasion license if they wanted to sell booze at a specific event.
• Keep Your Plates, Please: The requirement to replacing license plates every seven years is ending. Now, plates will change when the ownership of a vehicle changes although the new owner can apply to keep them.
• And Speaking of Plates: Backers of breast cancer research and Seattle University will be able to show support with a license plate. Sales of the breast cancer awareness plate will aid the state Department of Health’s breast, cervical, and colon health programs. Seattle University will use proceeds it collects for student scholarships for current and incoming students.
• Made in Washington: A bivalve mollusk and a waterfall are getting added to the honor roll of official state icons. Lawmakers designated the Ostrea lurida, commonly called the Olympia oyster, as the official oyster and the Palouse Falls as the official waterfall.
• The Fine Print: Collective bargaining agreements between school districts and their teachers must be posted online starting this fall and updated whenever revisions are made. Many districts already do this but may need to highlight it better on their websites. Also, budget information on funding of Associated Student Body programs must be posted for all to see.
Political reporter Jerry Cornfield writes for The Everett Herald, a sister paper to the Mercer Island Reporter.