January 31, 1998 in City

Teenagers Rally For Piece Of The Tobacco Accord Pie Tell Olympia They Want Funds For Anti-Smoking Campaigns

Associated Press
 

Teenagers who rallied at the Capitol on Friday had a message for their lawmakers: If you get your hands on money from a proposed national tobacco settlement, don’t forget about us when you spend it.

They urged legislators to make sure that at least part of a settlement would pay for youth anti-smoking campaigns.

Some lawmakers would like to spend the money instead on health insurance for the working poor and on education.

Attorney General Christine Gregoire, a leader in negotiating the proposed deal with the tobacco industry, met with about 150 teens in the Capitol rotunda. “We’re in a war - that’s the mentality you’ve got to have,” she said.

Using tobacco ads from popular magazines such as Rolling Stone as props, Gregoire told the teens that tobacco executives consider them future replacements for smokers who die prematurely.

Congress is considering a negotiated settlement with 40 states, including Washington, for tobacco industry payments over the next 25 years totaling more than $360 billion.

Washington’s share could come to $3.5 billion, Gregoire said.

Several teens said they support education funding - as long as it doesn’t come from a settlement related to public health issues.

Same-sex marriages

Democratic Gov. Gary Locke said Friday he’s prepared to veto a second effort by the Republican Legislature to ban same-sex marriages. GOP leaders quickly said they will put the issue on the November ballot.

Locke had been under some pressure to allow the ban to become law without his signature. Some lawmakers, including some fellow Democrats, said that would have headed off a campaign and public vote on a potentially divisive issue.

The gay-rights community was shellacked by a 60-40 rejection of their initiative last fall to ban employment discrimination against homosexuals. Some activists have worried about the toll of enduring their second setback in as many years.

Locke said he fully understands the strategy of avoiding the campaign, but that he can’t in good conscience go along with a bill that he finds offensive and unnecessary.

In a brief statement released by his office later, the governor said, “I am opposed to any measures that divide, disrespect or diminish our humanity. Our over-arching principle should be to promote civility, mutual respect and unity.

“This legislation fails to meet this test.

Private-property rights

How about forcing those pesky state bureaucrats to get a search warrant before they barge into your business to find out if your workers are wearing hard hats?

Private-property rights are being trampled by a swarm of health and safety inspectors from various agencies, says state Rep. Bob Sump, R-Republic, in proposing a measure to do just that.

His bill would require most inspectors to get permission from a judge in order to enter private property.

The measure, HB2687, was greeted with horror Friday by House Democrats and government officials, who said it could threaten the health and safety of citizens.

The bill, which could eventually go to the full House for a vote, would allow a few exceptions - for officials responding to a fire or medical emergency, for example.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

SESSION HIGHLIGHTS

Coming up

The Senate Ways and Means Committee was scheduled Monday to discuss the GOP transportation plan.

Overheard

“Same-gender marriages are already prohibited in Washington state. There is no need for this legislation. It only serves to create false fears and false dangers about contributing members of our society.” - Gov. Gary Locke in a statement announcing his intention to veto legislation banning same-sex marriages.

Days in session

Friday was day 19 of the 60-day session.

Legislative hot line

1-800-562-6000 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

On the Internet

http://www.wa.gov for the state of Washington’s home page.

http://www.leg.wa.gov for the state-run Legislative Service Center.

This sidebar appeared with the story: SESSION HIGHLIGHTS Coming up The Senate Ways and Means Committee was scheduled Monday to discuss the GOP transportation plan.

Overheard “Same-gender marriages are already prohibited in Washington state. There is no need for this legislation. It only serves to create false fears and false dangers about contributing members of our society.” - Gov. Gary Locke in a statement announcing his intention to veto legislation banning same-sex marriages.

Days in session Friday was day 19 of the 60-day session.

Legislative hot line 1-800-562-6000 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

On the Internet http://www.wa.gov for the state of Washington’s home page. http://www.leg.wa.gov for the state-run Legislative Service Center.

© Copyright 1998 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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