WA legislature now in session; here are some bills you want to keep an eye on

WA legislature now in session; here are some bills you want to keep an eye on

Washington state lawmakers returned to the Capitol Monday to kick off a new legislative session, and that means the introduction of new bills. According to the state’s website, the house will review more than 130 bill introductions and more than 150 senate bill introductions.

Eastern Washington is an interesting position this year. For the first time since 2003, the house’s majority and minority leaders are members of the Spokane delegation.

The proposed bills range in everything related to law enforcement, healthcare and education. These are just a few of the bills that you may want to pay close attention to as session progresses through the next 100 days.

The first, is one you may have already read about, some state lawmakers are working on getting rid of daylight savings time. Senate Bill 5139 says DST has negative impacts on the community – including health. It also causes an increase in traffic and crime accidents, as it gets darker earlier in the day.

State lawmakers are also looking into creating an ethnic studies curriculum for students in grades 7 through twelve. The idea behind Senate Bill 5023 is for students to become global citizens by the time they graduate high school, and appreciate the different cultures that make up the community.

Another bill on the introduction docket may bring more business to Spokane, with a possible tax exemption program. Senate Bill 5051 is designed to provide incentive for businesses to develop commercial office space in cities with a population of more than 50,000 and a county with less than 1.5 million. Spokane County’s population is at about a half-million.

And finally, a topic expected to raise some controversy – Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed Capital Gains Tax. The tax would be on the sale of stocks, bonds and other assets. It would increase share of state taxes paid by Washington’s wealthiest taxpayers.The state would tax 9% on capital gains earnings more than 25,000 dollars for individuals. If you’re a join filer, $50,000.

However, earned income from salaries and wages are not capital gains and would not be taxed under his proposal. It’s estimated the tax would impact around $42,000 people across the state.

Keep in mind, these bills are just being introduced to the house of representatives. They have to go through several steps in the legislative process before you start seeing it impact you, or see the Governor’s desk. Regular session is scheduled to wrap at the end of April.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.