—Sen. Chris Marr’s bill to dramatically expand health coverage of poor and some middle-income children in Washington passed the House yesterday, and could be signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire as early as Monday.
—The Senate has passed Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s SJM 8012, asking the federal government not to “federalize” — i.e. mobilize, as federal troops — the state’s national guard so that the soldiers and airmen can be available for state or local emergencies. (A recent federal law amended the Federal Insurrection Act to allow the president to impose federal control without notice, consultation or consent of the governor or Congress in the event of a natural disaster, epidemic or other serious public emergency.)
—Also in the Senate, lawmakers approved Marr’s SB 5092, a widely-backed bill that’s a big deal for local economic development associations. It doubles the state’s contribution to such groups, or, as one proponent put it at a hearing back in January, “puts us back into the big leagues.” Various economic development groups throughout the state now split less than $3 million every two years from contracts with the state Department of Community Trade and Economic Development. This bill would boost that to about $6.5 million.