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Eye On Olympia

If it’s good enough for the feds…

The state Senate on Tuesday narrowly passed a bill to ban state agencies from adopting rules that exceed federal regulations, unless state lawmakers approve.
Some lawmakers didn’t think that the federal government should be the standard to which Washingtonians aspire.
“This deeply concerns me,” said Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. Tighter state regulations, she said, can give Washington cleaner air, cleaner water and better help for poor than that mandated by the feds.
“What’s wrong with that?” she said. “That’s the kind of state we are.”
“Nothing’s wrong with that,” said Sen. Jim West, R-Spokane. But such decisions need to be made by elected lawmakers, he said, not “out-of-touch bureaucrats.”
“If a bureaucrat wants a rule passed, they hold a bunch of public hearings, then do whatever they were going to do from the beginning,” West said.
The bill, SSB 5053 , passed 25 to 24. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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