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Cutoff day dooms dozens of measures in Washington Legislature

OLYMPIA – Fourteen-year-olds can probably forget about voting in this year’s school board races.

English may be the language everyone in the state uses for official events and documents, but it’s unlikely to be declared the state’s “official language.”

The death penalty will likely remain viable for another year.

Washington probably won’t ask the federal government to say the gray wolf isn’t endangered.

Proposed laws addressing these and dozens of other ideas died quiet deaths Monday as the first legislative cutoff day passed. It’s one of the dates set to the cull the herd of ideas that attempt to become laws each year.

State Sen. Scott White, D-Seattle, thought it would be a good idea to let students as young as 14 vote in the elections that arguably most affect them: the ones for their local school board. They wouldn’t have been able to vote for other candidates, like legislators or presidents. The Government Operations and Elections Committee passed the proposal along without recommendation to the Early Learning and K-12 Committee, which never got around to holding a hearing on it.

Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, wanted the state Senate to declare English the official language for all government proceedings. Senate Joint Resolution 8207 got a hearing, but not a vote in the Government Operations Committee.

Doing away with capital punishment is a perennial proposal in the Legislature. State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, sponsored this year’s move to eliminate the death penalty in favor of life in prison without parole. It attempted to make the case partly with economic arguments because executions and the surrounding court cases are so expensive. It drew a large crowd at a hearing earlier this month, but died in the Judiciary Committee on Monday.

State Sen. Bob Morton, R-Kettle Falls, wanted the Senate to officially ask the federal government to take the gray wolf off the federal endangered species list so Washington and other states could pass their own laws to control them. It didn’t get a hearing in the Natural Resources Committee.

Technically, no bill is dead until the session ends. But for these and dozens of others that didn’t get out of their policy committees Monday, they would need a suspension of parliamentary procedures to be called back from the great beyond where bills go when they don’t make the cutoff.