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Eye On Olympia

What’s in the hopper so far…

With a month to go before lawmakers pack their cars and flock to Olympia, 2008 is already shaping up to be a busy legislative session.

More than two dozen lawmakers already have proposed about 50 changes in state law, including a 10-cents-a-gallon carbon tax on gasoline, tighter controls on released sex offenders and a ban on many plastic water bottles.

Many of the bills are rough proposals likely to change before passing, if they survive at all. And some – like the carbon tax bill – would likely prove a very hard sell in an election year. Here’s a look at some of the bills filed so far for consideration in the session that begins Jan. 14:

• House Bill 2420: Proposed by state Rep. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds, this would discourage greenhouse gas production by assessing coal, gasoline and natural gas importers a $10-per-ton tax on the resulting carbon emissions. Motorists would be charged a dime more per gallon of fuel. Both taxes would increase tenfold by 2017.

• HB 2425: State Rep Tom Campbell, R-Roy, wants to set up a statewide system to better monitor drug-resistant bacterial infections.

• HB 2436: State Rep. Christina Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, proposes allowing crime victims to weigh in when state prison officials are deciding whether a person can go into a work-release program.

• HB 2422: Also from Chase, this would ban petroleum-based plastic water bottles smaller that a liter.

• HB 2438: Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, wants to make permanent a pilot project that allows the use of dogs to hunt cougars in some areas. Once common, the practice was reined in when voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 655 in 1996.

• HB 2433: Rep. Al O’Brien, D-Mountlake Terrace, proposes that state general-assistance payments be suspended for anyone in prison or jail.

• HB 2425: This bill from Chase would require sellers of lawn mowers, chain saws, leaf blowers, off-road vehicles and other small gas-engine-powered equipment to put up signs describing the benefits of choosing electric models instead.

• HB 2439: Rep. Skip Priest, R-Federal Way, proposes requiring prison officials to determine the immigration status of sex offenders and hand off any that are subject to deportation to federal authorities.

• HB 2440: Also from Priest, this would require electronic monitoring of all sex offenders rated most likely to reoffend, who register as homeless or who have failed to register in the past.

• HB 2444: Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, wants to force all sex offenders and convicted kidnappers to disclose any e-mail addresses they use or Web sites they run.

• HB 2446: Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, is proposing tougher penalties for sex offenders who fail to register with authorities.


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

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