Bills push into, through committees

Local lawmakers guide measures in Week 2

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

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Bills introduced by some Southwest Washington lawmakers have garnered discussion during Week 2 of the legislative session, while other local lawmakers continued to file new proposals to crack down on campaign robo-calls, reform high school athletics and create a constitutional spending limit.

• A bill proposed by Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, on robo-calling received a hearing last week in the Senate committee that discusses elections. His legislation, Senate Bill 6089, would require automated phone calls to the public to state the ad creator’s name, city and state. This rule would apply only to robo-callers sending 500 or more similar calls during the 12 months leading up to an election.

“Voters deserve to know who’s making the pitch,” Pridemore said in a news release. He’s in the final year of his second four-year term and is running for state auditor in November. “Whenever we can do something to help voters avoid being deceived, that’s a good thing.”

Lawmakers on the elections committee raised a concern about how much time that identifying information would take up when many automated campaign calls are only 30 seconds. Another lawmaker suggested lowering the threshold to 100 calls.

Pridemore also introduced a bill Monday that would make it easier for adopted people to obtain copies of their birth certificates.

• Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed Senate Bill 6383 to prevent the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association from punishing a student for a violation made by an adult overseeing the team. This comes after news that the girls volleyball team at Vancouver’s King’s Way Christian School was disqualified from a championship tournament because an administrator at the school mistakenly scheduled the team to play one too many games that season.

“I did some research, and the WIAA has a history and pattern of overly harsh punishments,” Benton said in a news release announcing the legislation, which has bipartisan support from 33 other sponsors.

The bill was referred on Friday to the Senate’s K-12 education committee. That committee’s chairwoman, Democratic Sen. Rosemary McAulliffe, has signed onto the bill.

A proposal Benton pre-filed in December, for a constitutional amendment limiting government spending, has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. The amendment Benton wants would solidify the since-weakened 1993 Initiative 601, which limited spending growth based on the state’s population and the rate of inflation.

• The legislation Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, introduced last week to fine perpetrators who hurt police dogs received a hearing before the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness committee on Wednesday. Clark County has recently lost two police dogs who were stabbed to death by people trying to evade police.

If passed, House Bill 2191 would fine someone $5,000 for wounding a police dog and $10,000 for killing one. It also would make harming a police dog a more serious crime.

• Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, filed a proposal Friday to increase state revenue by creating a back-to-school sales tax holiday. House Bill 2644 would draw in more shoppers during the holiday, and hopefully shoppers would be enticed to buy products besides just school supplies, Moeller said.

Moeller’s proposal to create a liquor license specific to single-screen movie theaters such as downtown Vancouver’s Kiggins Theatre has been referred to the House State Government and Tribal Affairs committee, but had not been scheduled to receive a hearing as of Friday.

• Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, introduced House Bill 2512 to include pharmacists in the Legend Drug Act. The act makes it illegal to sell or have prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription, but the act doesn’t currently include medications prescribed by a licensed pharmacist authorized by the state’s Board of Pharmacy.

• Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, has seen committee hearings for two proposals in his six-bill package designed to create long-term economic improvements.

House Bill 2172 would create a small-business advocate at the state’s Office of Regulatory Assistance, as well as make regulatory agencies go easy on small businesses that violate certain regulations their first time. Probst’s House Bill 2171 requires six state agencies to create plans for increasing the percentage of households in the middle class.

Both bills will be put to a vote Thursday in the State Government and Tribal Affairs committee.

• Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, has filed a bill — House Bill 4227 — to, like Benton, create a constitutional spending limit.

Orcutt’s bills to prevent the addition of state rule-making jobs and to eliminate duplications of effort in natural resource management had yet to be scheduled for committee hearings as of Friday.

• Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, has a bill gaining traction that would crack down on abuses of government contract and streamline the contracting process. It received no negative testimony during a hearing Thursday, although a fair-trade advocacy group suggested an amendment requiring officials choosing contracts to consider whether a business ensures decent working conditions for employees at home and abroad.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523; http://facebook.com/reportermathieu;http://twitter.com/col_politics;stevie.mathieu@columbian.com