February 06, 2013 Print

What's hot today at the legislature - February 6, 2013

The Freedom Foundation will be at two legislative hearings this afternoon to offer expert testimony on K-12 education and voter registration. Also up today are two controversial bills about parental rights, and a committee vote on the so-called Washington Voting Rights Act.

Same-day voter registration
The House Government Operations & Elections Committee will hear public testimony about HB 1267, innocuously titled “Extending the time period for voter registration.” It should be titled “Allowing same-day voter registration,” but clarity is, apparently, not the objective here. In a state where we vote by mail, allowing people to register in the afternoon on Election Day would create real difficulties for county auditors who could be left with no time to verify whether a person trying to register to vote is actually a legal voter. The bill is part of an election agenda that claims to support increased voter participation, but ignores the detrimental effects on participation when citizens doubt the integrity of the election process.

Up for executive session at the hearing is the so-called Voting Rights Act, HB 1413, which would allow lawsuits challenging local election results.

When is a school day not a day?
Half-days--love ‘em or hate ‘em, does it really make sense to count a half as a whole? SB 5588 would end the practice and require a school day, for purposes of the state’s 180-day requirement, to be a full school day. The Freedom Foundation’s Jami Lund has led the charge to expose the abusive use of half-days, often as a concession to unions during collective bargaining (teachers unions, at least, view half days as a way to decrease the workloads of teachers, which at least suggests that half-days decrease the amount of educational services being provided to students).

Parents versus Planned Parenthood, Judges versus Parents
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear SB 5156 this afternoon, a bill that would require notice to parents whose minor child seeks an abortion. Their House counterpart heard HB 1506, which would allow people to sue in state courts to seek court ordered visitation with a child against the will of the child’s parents.

And more committee hearings
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education will hear testimony at a work session on the state’s faltering Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. It’s all marijuana in a work session in the House Public Safety Committee. Over in the House Agriculture Committee, it’s sea cucumbers. Altogether, there are thirteen House committee hearings today and six hearings on the Senate side.


Trent England

Executive Vice President

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