So the big question as each cutoff approaches is what will be the last bill to slip through, under the wire. This is sometimes known as the 4:59 bill, because cutoff was set years ago at 5 p.m., allegedly so legislators of yore were not late for Happy Hour. But once they start debate on the 4:59 bill, they can go until everyone has had their say, or a majority gets thirsty – whichever comes first.
This time around, the 4:59 bills in the House and Senate weren’t controversial, but they had strong Spokane roots.
In the House they voted on Senate Bill 5256, generally known as the Spokane Autopsies and Post-Mortems Bill, because it allows medical examiners to talk about the results of autopsies in cases involving law enforcement or jails.
In many counties, medical examiners aren’t reticent, but they are in Spokane. After cases involving local police or deputies, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich pushed for the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley. After being amended to exempt any current cases, it passed 96-0.
Over in the Senate, they passed House Bill 1045, more generally known as the Safe Streets Bill, because it allows cities to require drivers to go slower on side streets and in residential areas without doing costly engineering studies. Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, had sponsored a similar bill in the Senate and managed to get the House version slipped in under the wire. It passed 45-2.