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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New laws include everything from students in tribal regalia to bicyclists

UPDATED: Wed., March 18, 2020

OLYMPIA – Students can wear tribal regalia at graduation, the state will get an improved background check system for firearms, and bicyclists will be able to treat stop signs more like yield signs under bills signed Wednesday.

With far less fanfare than usual for the final step of a bill becoming law, Gov. Jay Inslee signed 67 pieces of legislation passed in the recently completed session. In previous years, sponsors and supporters lined up in the hallways and crowded into a conference room to mark the event, have their picture taken and receive a ceremonial pen.

Because of restrictions on large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, sponsors and the public were asked to stay away from the ceremonial signing and watch on TVW.

That shortened the signing session, which otherwise might have lasted more than an hour, was about 30 minutes. Among the topics covered in the bills signed were the following:

Letting students wear traditional tribal regalia and other items of cultural significance to graduation ceremonies and related events.

Civil arrests for immigration or citizenship issues are barred in or near courthouses in the state.

Requires firearms dealers to use a background check system to be developed by the Washington State Patrol and follow state rules for keeping records of sales and transfers. An advisory board will be set up to oversee the system.

Student and staff ID cards will have contact information for suicide prevention and crisis intervention organizations.

Reports of child abuse or neglect must be investigated by law enforcement of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, and when necessary referred to court.

Libraries will be able to request two Discover Passes each year that can be loaned to members to increase public access to state parks.

The ban on using certain cancer-causing chemicals in foam to fight fires was expanded. The chemicals, known as PFAS, are used at airports, chemical plants and refineries, and have contaminated water at nearby communities, including Airway Heights.

State residents were given certain rights for the upcoming 2020 Census, including to participate free of intimidation, respond in multiple ways, request language assistance and verify the census worker’s identity. Impersonating a census worker would be a gross misdemeanor.

Missing persons cases must be entered into the National Crime Information Center system within 30 days, and medical examiners investigating a death must submit information to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons system.

Citizenship and immigration status were added to the items protected under the state’s anti-discrimination law.

Bicyclists can make what’s known as an Idaho stop, which treats a stop sign like a yield sign at a clear intersection to improve traffic flow for themselves and cars that may be behind them.

A limit on a chance on a pull tab or punch board was raised to as much as $5, up from $1, which has been the limit for more than 20 years.

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