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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bills, bills and a plate of oysters

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee signs a bill designating the official state oyster, with a plate of them on the table with the bill. (Jim Camden)
OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee signs a bill designating the official state oyster, with a plate of them on the table with the bill. (Jim Camden)

OLYMPIA – Children will have to have lawyers before a court can sever their parents’ rights. Juveniles will have more protection against self-incrimination in Washington.

Marijuana growers won’t get tax breaks that other farmers get. People who sign local initiative petitions more than once will get one signature counted when the others are thrown out. The state will try to buy products that are free of cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls.

And the Olympic oyster is the official state oyster. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Those were among more than 40 bills from the recent legislative session that Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Friday afternoon.

Most aren’t controversial.Some legislators expressed surprise during hearing that a child in a dependency proceeding wasn’t automatically given an attorney before a petition to terminate parental rights is granted. SB 6126 says they must get one and the state will pay for it if the family can’t.

Juveniles who make statements when being screened for mental health problems or chemical dependency can’t have those statements used against them in criminal proceedings. But HB 1724 says the same restrictions don’t apply to statements a juvenile makes to law enforcement.

Although farmers of most crops can take advantage of certain tax exemptions and credits under state law, those won’t be available for the state’s newest cash crop, recreational marijuana. SB 6505 says marijuana and the products made from it are not agricultural products. 

A person who signs a petition for a statewide initiative more than once has the extra signatures struck but the first on remains valid. But under state law, when that happened on city or county petitions, all the signatures were ruled invalid. HB 2295 changes that so local petition drives in the future can keep one signature, too.

Ostrea lurida, also known as the Olympia oyster, is the official state oyster thanks to an effort by a student. Although Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, derided the effort as not worth the Legislature’s time in the closing days of the session, Inslee on Friday said it has the chance to be one of the most important bills of the session if it calls attention to ocean acidification damaging the state’s oyster beds.

He signed the bill with a plate of small oysters, shucked and opened in the half-shell, sitting on the conference table next to him. But he didn’t sample any.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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