By Taylor McAvoy

By Taylor McAvoy

As the legislative session ends, a look forward to November

What did they do, and what matters to you?

Voters will get a chance to really shake up membership in the state Legislature this fall, if they are so inclined.

Possibilities for change abound with all 98 seats in the House and 25 seats in the Senate up for election.

Soon, we in the class of pundits will prognosticate on forces and factors that may influence the electorate and determine the outcome of contests.

One will be lawmakers’ decision to remove themselves from the duties of the state Public Records Act in favor of a separate and less rigorous disclosure protocol of their own design. Already, editorial board of the Everett Herald has said that if the governor vetoes the bill, any lawmaker voting to override it will be disqualified from getting the paper’s endorsement.

This isn’t the only issue consuming the attention of lawmakers and the public, and won’t be the only one on voters’ minds.

Below are a few other things lawmakers have done or may do before the session ends March 8. I could use some help figuring out if any of these could be a deal-breaker for a voter.

Tell me, would any of these matters incite you to vote incumbents out of office or to keep them in?

Bump stock ban: It will soon be illegal to make, sell, own or possess a bump-fire stock, a plastic attachment that allows semiautomatic weapons to fire like fully automatic models. Under a bill sent to Gov. Jay Inslee, the manufacture and sale of the devices is prohibited starting July 1. A year later, bump stocks will be considered contraband and in most instances subject to seizure by authorities.

Abortion mandate: This legislation would require health plans that cover maternity care or services to also cover the voluntary termination of pregnancy. And those plans must cover contraceptives. It’s been atop the agenda of the governor and Democrats in both chambers and is awaiting a vote in the House.

Same-day registration: You will soon be able to walk into a county auditor’s office on the day of an election, register as a voter then cast a ballot. This change will start with the November 2019 election under a bill heading to the governor’s desk.

Car tab relief: Lawmakers promised to ease the pain of soaring costs of car tabs in the Sound Transit taxing district. It hasn’t happened yet. The House and Senate each have an approach and are working to bridge the gap and keep their promise.

Eliminate the death penalty: This is close to happening but hasn’t yet. A bill to get rid of capital punishment passed the Senate. It is now in the House where its fate is unclear, as there are members who think voters should be given a chance to weigh in.

Buying military-style rifles: This is a work in progress. There is a new bill to require a person be at least 21 to buy a semiautomatic rifle and that a full state background check be done on those seeking to buy one of those rifles. Many Democrats would like to use their majorities in each chamber to get this through before time runs out.

Property taxes: In 2017, lawmakers increased the statewide property tax rate. In February, property owners got their bills and were shocked to see how much they owed. Members of both parties are devising a way to provide temporary relief this year or next. Meanwhile, this fall will be the first time lawmakers will be on the ballot since the increase took effect.

This is a short list. If your vote is going to be tied to something different, let me know.

It’ll help in developing accurate forecasts for the coming electoral season.

This column first appeared in the Everett Herald. Jerry Cornfield can be reached at 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com. His Twitter handle is @dospueblos.

More in Northwest

King County’s current climate action plan was adopted in 2015 and has provided a blueprint for reducing emissions and preparing for climate change. File photo
King County approves environmental justice provision

An update to the King County climate action plan should include an… Continue reading

Homelessness authority approved by King County, awaits Seattle vote

The agreement would consolidate emergency services for people experiencing homelessness.

The King County Courthouse is located at 516 Third Ave. in downtown Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Council approves $600,000 to increase security at King County Courthouse

The funding will be split evenly between increasing deputies, security and social services.

In this September 2019 photo, George Kirkish, owner and founder of Palouse Winery on Vashon-Maury Island, pours a glass of wine for Lori Coots during tasting room hours. (Kevin Opsahl/Sound Publishing)
King County Council approves controversial winery, brewery ordinance

After five years, the county has updated regulations surrounding alcohol production and tasting.

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is among supporters of statewide “just cause” legislation to protect tenants in Washington. However, some landlords say removing the ability to quickly remove tenants limits their ability to get rid of problem renters. (Courtesy image)
Tenant advocates prepare for another push in Olympia

Following wins in Burien and Federal Way, just cause evictions are on the 2020 Legislative agenda.

Business alliance serves women of African diaspora in South King County

Nourah Yonous launched the African Women Business Alliance in 2017 to find ways to lift women up.

Fire along Twisp River Road in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest in 2018. Courtesy photo
Wildfire response: State unveils funding legislation proposal

Last year, Department of Natural Resources responded to record number of wildfires.

A new report, complete with recommendations to the Legislature, has been released by a statewide task force that was formed to address a lack of child care in Washington. File photo
Report outlines lack of child care in Washington

In King County, supply doesn’t meet demand for child care.

Vehicles passing through flooded street. File photo
King County Flood Control District to vote on 2020 budget

The budget will fund a variety of programs across the county.

Most Read