With the legislative session past the halfway point, Rep. Marko Liias has several pieces of legislation dealing with everything from school bullying to drunken driving. While the Legislature approved $242 million in cuts early in session, a lot of focus will now turn to the $5 billion budget shortfall in the coming two-year budget.
“Our economy is turning around, but the recession took a large hit on our state,” said Liias, D-Edmonds. “Only tough choices, but together we can make good decisions to make our communities strong.”
Committees continue to meet, and Liias will be working with lawmakers to pass several of his measures. Preventable deaths related to teen-drinking are the focus of House Bill 1166, which allows for legal amnesty for an underage person calling for life-saving assistance.
“While it’s important young people know the dangers of drinking, I want teens reaching out for help if they see alcohol poisoning,” Liias said. “We can’t stop every case of underage drinking, but I do think we might prevent some needless tragedies with this life-saving proposal.”
Liias also successfully passed House Bill 1702 out of the House, which allows impact fees to be deferred for residential-building construction. By deferring impact fees, construction businesses would have some of the cost moved down the line, helping spur activity now.
“Our construction workers are experiencing the highest levels of unemployment, and the industry has taken a significant blow from the recession,” Liias said. “Deferring impact fees keeps the responsibility intact, but provides some needed flexibility to help them as we move out of the downturn.
Other legislation now in the Senate:
House Bill 1163 – This anti-harassment legislation focuses on ensuring students have a safe learning environment. It will address bullying in schools by increasing student knowledge in the areas of mental health and youth suicide, and also create a work group on preventing bullying, intimidation, and harassment. A well-enforced prevention program provides vital support for students when they need help the most.
House Bill 1167 – Will improve drunken driving laws. It increases a fee paid by drivers, which goes towards prevention efforts, and bolsters local community efforts to setup DUI-specific courts.
House Bill 1168 – Career and technical education for some students still in high school is an important way to keep them engaged and on the path to further education. This bill clarifies these efforts so state support is going to help students stay engaged.
House Bill 1215 – Tow truck drivers help keep our roadways clear of disabled cars and trucks, and this legislation ensures some of the smaller tow truck operators can recoup their costs.