OLYMPIA – When the Legislature clattered to a close on Thursday, so much attention was being paid to the budget left undone over the previous 60 days that there wasn’t much left to consider what was done.
Talking on your cell phone while driving might get you ticketed, all on its own. The Legislature made it a primary offense, but Gov. Chris Gregoire said she has to read the bill to decide whether to sign it.
A getting a prescription for medical marijuana might become easier, although finding a legal way to fill it won’t necessarily. Legislators expanded the list of people who can recommend pot to treat a medical condition, but stubbed out a proposal to legalize it, tax it and sell it at state liquor stores.
Fewer committees, boards and commissions will be giving advice to state officials. A bill to do away with such things as the State Board on Geographic Names, Migratory Waterfowl Art Committee, K-20 Network Technical Steering Committee, Community Transition Coordination Networks Advisory Committee, Interagency Integrated Pest Management Coordinating Committee, Olympic Natural Resources Center Policy Advisory Board, Strategic Health Care Planning Office Technical Advisory Committee…there are 49, but you get the picture. Gregoire’s been after legislators to streamline government, odds are she’ll sign this.
Voters will get a chance to let judges keep more people accused of really dangerous crimes in jail without bail. A constitutional amendment on that will be on November ballot.
Patients in state mental hospitals because they were found not guilty by reason of insanity probably won’t be going on many field trips. That bill moved back and forth as the two houses tweaked the wording, but got sent to Gregoire on Wednesday. On Friday she signed a bill requiring the hospital to send out word when one of those patients escapes.
The crush of legislation also meant that some things that got mentioned early in the session faded away before the end. For example, motorcyclists aren’t put on the same level as minorities when it comes to profiling by police. Bikers got a committee hearing and a sympathetic ear in the House, but the Senate pretty much ignored the whole issue. A proposal to ban phosphorus in lawn fertilizer passed the Senate, but stalled and died in the House. All the “state sovereignty” bills were essentially bottled up in House committees and never got a hearing, let alone a vote.