The official opening day of boating season, the KP Livable Community Fair, the Lakebay Fuchsia Society’s annual sale, Mother’s Day, Veteran’s Aisle of Honor, Memorial Day - it’s all about to begin. Classic big leaf maples are still unfurling, flowering dogwoods stand out against a backdrop of conifers, while heady lilac blossoms spill over old country fences. Everything smells fresh and new. There’s an undeniable feeling of energy in spring time and May kicks it up into high gear.
The Washington legislature has also been busy. Lawmakers went into overdrive to pass a $52.4 billion new two-year state budget, sent along with remaining legislation for the Governor’s signature. Legislators worked well into the night throughout the weekend to find the middle ground necessary to pass a bill lifting the lid on school levy caps to achieve funding necessary to prevent layoffs of teachers and staff in many districts statewide. Once that sticking point was resolved, remaining bills rushed through votes, completing their mission on time and adjourning the legislative session as scheduled on April 28, just minutes before midnight deadline.
Several Key Peninsula organizations with capital improvement projects already approved for state grant funds secured their actual funding with the passage of the state’s budget. Individual projects may now move forward to become a reality.
Topping the local list is $2,427,000 to enhance Minter Creek Hatchery; $1 million awarded to The Mustard Seed Project’s Key Peninsula assisted living senior housing project; $497,800 awarded to Key Pen Parks’ splash pad project at Gateway Park; and $250,000 will go toward capital improvements at YMCA Camp Colman.
Second-term legislator Rep. Michelle Caldier R-Port Orchard, sponsored fewer bills as compared to her 26th district colleagues, but she achieved passage of four bills signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee.
HB 1198, written by Caldier, requires that patients be notified of health providers sanctioned for sexual misconduct. The bill, signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee, will take effect Oct. 1, 2019.
The second-term representative was also successful with HB 1934, allowing deployed members of the U.S. Armed Forces to renew their concealed pistol licenses without returning to Washington state to do so. Signed into law April 25, the bill directs law enforcement agencies to implement a CPL renewal process by Oct. 1, 2019 that allows mail or online renewal for resident Washington military men and women serving out of state.
Caldier introduced and was the primary sponsor for HB 1016, which requires hospitals to notify a rape victim within two hours of their arrival if they have no rape kits nor a provider on staff trained in sexual assault examinations. Caldier’s original bill would have imposed civil penalties of $2,000 for hospitals that do not comply. The Senate amended the bill to remove the penalties. Caldier reluctantly accepted the Senate amendment, which she said “basically stripped the enforcement part of the policy, but I agreed to concur, because the policy itself is still sound and needed.”
Caldier credited Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, for trying to keep the bipartisan measure intact. The amended bill awaits Governor Inslee’s signature.
“I was proud to partner with Representative Caldier to make a difference for survivors of sexual assault,” Randall said. “We worked hard in the Senate to keep the penalty clause in the bill and shift the burden off the survivors who are already dealing with incredible trauma. Unfortunately, the desire to protect hospitals from civil penalties was stronger than the desire to protect survivors from unnecessary red tape. But we’re not giving up – we’ll keep standing alongside survivors next year and in every session to come.”
Randall also achieved some legislative success with SB 5723 to increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other roadway users. The bill was supported by Caldier in the House. It sits waiting on the governor’s desk for signature.
In Randall’s sponsorship of SB 5800 addressing the issue of college homelessness, the first-term legislator found support from both Caldier and Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
Young sponsored HB 2182 April 24 but voted for companion bill SB 6025, which concerns maintaining the privacy of citizens who voluntarily participated in the bump-stock buy-back program from disclosure of personal information through future public records request.