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“The Impact” January 25, 2017

Mike McClanahan profile by Mike McClanahan

Click here to watch “The Impact” 1/25/2017On “The Impact” Jan. 25, 2017:
There’s a bipartisan push in the Washington State Legislature to ban driving “under the influence of electronics.”

“I’ve seen crazy things. I’ve seen people affixing their iPads to the steering wheel so they can actually stream a television show and watch TV as they’re driving the road. I’ve seen people talking on the phone. I’ve seen people trying to text,” said Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center. “The days of putting your phone on the seat next to you and texting or putting the phone in your lap and texting or taking pictures or doing anything where you have to have that phone in your hand- those days are over.”

“The current law is really hard to enforce. It prohibits texting, but it doesn’t prohibit using Facebook or another app. So if an officer pulls you over you can just say ‘hey I was using something else’ and they can’t write you a citation,” said Rep. Jessyn Farrell D-Seattle. “This bill will first of all close the loophole so clear it up so that you can’t be holding onto your phone. You can poke it with one finger to activate it.”

“I think that distractions are increasing among drivers, but it’s not just due to technology,” said Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama. “I have seen people with a bowl of something and eating with a fork or a spoon. I’ve seen people reading books. I’ve seen people reading newspapers.”
“My concern is: is the person driving unsafely? If somebody has a cell phone in their hand and yet they still know that there are other people around them, they’re still driving well, should we be, should law enforcement be focusing on stopping that person just because they have a certain technology in their hand or should they be watching for that driver that’s driving erratically whether it’s due to any distraction or any other reason?” said Orcutt.

Then we highlight the push to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco or vapor products from 18 to 21.

“We know from many studies that the best way to prevent costly death from smoking is to keep kids from getting started in the first place. This legislation works because it makes it harder for youth to get cigarettes by keeping it away from their suppliers: 18, 19, 20 year old friends who can buy cigarettes legally,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D). “Massachusetts was the first city to raise the smoking age to 21. So they have a number of studies as that was a number of years ago. Teen smoking rates have dropped by half in that jurisdiction. Three times that of surrounding jurisdictions.”

“I know a lot of people in the military that vape and they would be very upset about that. Why should I be able to go and serve my country and possibly die for my country, but I can’t do something as simple as get some nicotine in my body?” said Micah Lopez, Manager, Ausum Vapor (Olympia). “With a lot of the people being 21 and under that’s almost half of our customer base and so with half of our customer base gone it means we won’t be making the money to stay around. And I know a lot of other places are that way too. It will just shut down the industry completely.”

This episode also covers the announcement that two State Senators have accepted positions with the Trump administration with one resigning his Senate seat and another planning to keep it.
We look at the “levy cliff” legislation that passed the House on Monday.
Then we watch a car steer itself with Governor Jay Inslee in the driver seat as he tries out a semi-autonomous Tesla Model X.
You’ll hear about the new LIDAR portal from the Department of Natural Resources that lets anyone with an internet connection scan state landscapes to look for areas at risk from landslides, flooding, or tsunamis.
In our first Session Extra segment of 2017 we hear from Rep. Roger Goodman, D- Kirkland who chairs the House Public Safety Committee as well as Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, the ranking Republican in the group.
Goodman and Klippert speak frankly about the serious issues facing their committee. This year that list includes legislation related to the use of deadly force by law enforcement, human trafficking, and the statute of limitations on sex crime cases.

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