With the Washington state legislative session past the halfway point, several bills introduced by Rep. Marko Liias (D-Edmonds) — addressing issues ranging from school bullying to drunken driving — are moving foward.
Much of the attention now will focus on the state’s $5 billion budget shortfall in the coming two-year budget, Liias noted. “Our economy is turning around, but the recession took a large hit on our state,” he said. “Only tough choices, but together we can make good decisions to make our communities strong.”
One piece of legislation that Liias is sponsoring would focus on preventable deaths related to teen-drinking. House Bill 1166 allows for legal amnesty for an underage person calling for life-saving assistance.
“While it’s important young people know the dangers of drinking, I want teens reaching out for help if they see alcohol poisoning,” Liias said. “We can’t stop every case of underage drinking, but I do think we might prevent some needless tragedies with this life-saving proposal.”
Liias also successfully passed House Bill 1702 out of the House, which allows impact fees to be deferred for residential-building construction. By deferring impact fees, construction businesses would have some of the cost moved down the line, helping spur activity now.
“Our construction workers are experiencing the highest levels of unemployment, and the industry has taken a significant blow from the recession,” Liias said. “Deferring impact fees keeps the responsibility intact, but provides some needed flexibility to help them as we move out of the downturn.
Other Liias legislation now in the Senate includes:
House Bill 1163 – This anti-harassment legislation focuses on ensuring students have a safe learning environment. It will address bullying in schools by increasing student knowledge in the areas of mental health and youth suicide, and also create a work group on preventing bullying, intimidation, and harassment. A well-enforced prevention program provides vital support for students when they need help the most.
House Bill 1167 – This bill would increase a fee paid bydrunken drivers, which goes toward prevention programs and bolsters local community efforts to setup DUI-specific courts.
House Bill 1168 – Career and technical education for some students still in high school is an important way to keep them engaged and on the path to further education. This bill clarifies these efforts so state support is going to help students stay engaged.
House Bill 1215 – Tow truck drivers help keep our roadways clear of disabled cars and trucks, and this legislation ensures some of the smaller tow truck operators can recoup their costs.