Click here to watch “The Impact” – February 15, 2017
This week on “The Impact”:
Legislators debate a bill to tap the brakes on highly flammable oil trains moving through Washington by letting cities and state regulators set speed limits.
“I think that our local communities should be able to decide how fast these trains are going through. And I think that that is the right way to handle this highly hazardous, flammable product that’s moving hundreds of cars throughout our city, hundreds throughout our state,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane.
“I’m concerned that if we pass this bill you know people may think ‘oh the problem is solved’ and it really doesn’t change anything because it would probably be ruled invalid because of the federal regulations. So realistically if there is going to be a change it would have to be done at the federal level,” said Rep. Ed Orcutt, R- Kalama.
February 17th marks an important deadline for lawmakers, policy bill cutoff. This week members of the Olympia press corps give their take on where the session is heading and weigh in on hot topics like bills governing the use of deadly force by police and competing plans to fund basic education.
“We’ve got I think it’s more than 2000 bills were introduced this session so far. Some of them have price tags. Some of them don’t. Some of them are just idea bills and a lot of those idea bills have to be out of committee by the end of this week,” said Rachel La Corte, The Associated Press.
“You’ve seen bills that would expand paid family leave. There’s a proposal to increase property tax caps out in counties. There’s pro-life and pro-choice bills that are kind of circulating around. There’s some gun safety proposals out there too, but again these are a lot of bills that in divided government with a Democratic controlled House and a Republican controlled Senate, they don’t go anywhere unless there’s a broad and deep amount of agreement,” Joe O’Sullivan, The Seattle Times.
In our session extra segment we highlight the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade & Rural Economic Development Committee. They work on issues ranging from farm worker wages to the state tourism industry and the way water rights have been impacted by the Washington Supreme Court ruling known as the Hirst decision.
“That decision places in the counties hands the determination of where permit exempt wells could be located. It would put on the landowner, a private landowner specifically for homes that want to drill a well, put up a house and in the past the law has allowed these permit exempt wells for domestic use to be drilled. Now this case calls that into question,” said Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Chair of Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade & Rural Economic Development Committee.
“One of the challenges that we are facing in our caucus is the terrible impact that this decision had on small businesses, on construction. You know it just stopped construction in many of these counties. And that means the real estate stopped. People need work,” said Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Ranking Democratic Member, Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade & Rural Economic Development Committee.
Other topics include:
• the latest on the lawsuit pitting the State of Washington against President Donald Trump over a controversial executive order;
• a bill aimed at creating more oversight of the Washington Department of Corrections in light of an early release scandal;
• and the progress made by tunneling machine BERTHA towards a breakthrough in a big transportation project.