Most bills in the state legislature had until last Wednesday to get voted on by their second house. Budget bills, and whatever bills are deemed necessary to the budgets, are exempt from that deadline. At least two bills impacting Sound Transit long-term funding, Engrossed House Bill 2201 and Substitute Senate Bill 5893, which each merely passed out of their original house, are among those being exempted.
By constitutional mandate, the Legislature will adjourn sine die next Sunday. Until then, the houses will work on not only agreeing on budget bills and bills necessary to them, but also agreeing on as many bills that got amended in their second house as they care to take up. You can follow the action up to the minute.
Seven transit-related bills made last Wednesday’s cut-off, and remain in dispute. Sixteen more are already headed to the governor’s desk, and will be detailed in a later post.
Substitute House Bill 1273, by the House Transportation Committee, and originally by Rep. Cindy Ryu (D – Shoreline) et al, would authorize the Department of Licensing (DOL) to issue nondomiciled Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs) to individuals domiciled in a foreign country if they provide valid documentation that they are authorized to stay or work in the United States and meet certain specified federal requirements. It would also authorize DOL to issue nondomiciled CDLs and CLPs to individuals domiciled in other states that are out of compliance with federal CLP and CDL requirements if the individuals meet certain specified federal requirements. The bill would require the nondomiciled CDL and CLP to be marked “non-domiciled” on its face. The substitute bill passed out of the House 82-15-0-1 on February 20.
The Senate amended the bill to correct a technical drafting error to the definition of “serious traffic violation,” as that term applies to grounds for temporary disqualification from driving a commercial motor vehicle. The bill, as amended, passed out of the Senate 43-6-0-0 on April 12. The bill goes back to the House for concurrence in the amendment.
Senate Bill 5008, requested by the Department of Licensing, and sponsored by Sens. Curtis King (R – Yakima) et al, would require the Department of Licensing to mark standard issue driver’s licenses and identicards as non-compliant with the federal REAL ID Act, beginning July 1, 2018, and lower the fee for enhanced driver’s licenses and identicards to $66 (from $108). Enhanced licenses or IDs are already required to access federal facilities. Beginning next January, they will be required in order to board commercial aircraft. The bill passed in the Senate 45-4-0-0 on February 28.
The House amended the bill to remove the fee reduction; to provides that a driver’s license that is marked pursuant to the REAL ID Act requirements may not be used as evidence of an individual’s citizenship or immigration status for any purpose; to prohibit the fact that a driver’s license is marked pursuant to the REAL ID Act from being used as the basis for a criminal investigation, arrest, or detention of a person in circumstances where the absence of such marking on a person’s driver’s license would not be criminally investigated, arrested, or detained; to prohibit DOL from altering its practices to comply with any additional requirements set forth by the federal government as a condition of state compliance with the REAL ID Act that were not included in federal regulations as of April 1, 2017; to prohibit DOL from altering department practices as of April 1, 2017, related to releasing personally identifying information, that is required by DOL for a person to apply for a driver’s license or identicard, to the federal government or to a party the department knows may intend to release the information to the federal government, directly or indirectly; and to reinstate the statute that prohibits DOL from meeting requirements of the REAL ID Act until DOL certifies that certain data security measures and safeguards are in place, and the costs and recordkeeping burdens are not unreasonable on driver’s license or identicard applicants. The amended bill passed out of the House 69-28-0-1 on April 11. On April 13, The Senate refused to concur in the House striker amendment, and asked the House to recede and pass the bill as it was when it passed in the Senate originally.
Substitute Senate Bill 5018, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally by Sens. Bob Hasegawa (D – Renton) and Patty Kuderer (D – Clyde Hill), would grant WSDOT and appropriate local authorities the ability to allow wheelchair-accessible taxis access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. The bill passed out of the Senate 49-0-0-0 on February 28.
The House turned the bill into a study of the impact of allowing wheelchair-accessible taxis in HOV lanes. The study bill passed the House 97-0-0-1 on April 5. On April 13, the Senate refused to concur in the House striker amendment, and asked the House to recede and pass the bill as it had passed the Senate.
SB 5049, sponsored by Sen. King, would require all local and state entities that have eminent domain powers to abide by the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 and the similar state act of 1971, regardless of funding source. The bill passed the Senate 48-0-0-1 on February 8
The House amended the bill to provide that a local government may still choose to opt out of complying with relocation assistance laws for any program or project that has been initiated before December 31, 2017. The bill, as amended, passed the House 97-0-0-1 on April 5. It goes back to the Senate for possible concurrence.
SSB 5289, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally by Sens. Ann Rivers (R – La Center) et al, would ban holding or otherwise using a personal electronic device while driving or stopped in traffic. Exemptions would include summoning or driving an emergency vehicle, use of two-way radios, time-sensitive communications with dispatchers by transit employees, and commercial drivers using devices as allowed by federal law. This law would supercede local laws, as well as the current laws for using cell phones and texting while driving. The bill also creates a secondary traffic infraction of “distracted driving”, that can only be enforced as secondary to a simultaneous offense. It passed the Senate 36-13-0-0 on March 6.
The bill was amended in the House to prohibit a finding that a person has committed an infraction for using a personal electronic device while driving from being included on a driver abstract provided to insurance companies for the first offense committed within a five-year period, and to delay the effective date to January 1, 2019. The amended bill passed the House 63-35-0-0 on April 12. It goes back to the Senate for possible concurrence.
SB 5402, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D – Everett) et al, would require the Washington Transportation Safety Commission to convene the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council, pending availability of funding. The bill passed out of the Senate 49-0-0-0 on February 28.
The bill was amended in the House to not leave the creation of the council subject to the availability of funds from WTSC. The amended bill passed the House 59-38-0-1 on April 6. It goes back to the Senate for possible concurrence.
SSB 5806, by the Senate Transportation Committee, and originally sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland (D – Vancouver) et al, would establish a bi-state legislative task force to begin the process for the construction of a new I-5 Bridge, that would achieve several purposes, including examining all potential mass transit options. The bill passed out of the Senate 45-4-0-0 on February 27.
The bill was amended in the House to require that state agencies must provide any technical support that the joint Oregon/Washington legislative action committee requests; to add Oregon legislative staff to help staff the joint legislative action committee; to require that the joint legislative action committee meet both Washington and Oregon-related rules for legislative public meetings; to provide that the minority leader and the Speaker of the House of both states jointly appoint the House members of the legislative action committee; and to clarify that only Washington members of the joint legislative action committee will be reimbursed by the State of Washington. The bill passed as amended out of the House 59-37-0-2 on April 6. It goes back to the Senate for possible concurrence.