Gay rights, WASL bills still alive in Washington Legislature - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gay rights, WASL bills still alive in Washington Legislature

OLMPIA, Wash. - Washington state lawmakers have passed the halfway point in their 15-week session in Olympia and a number of bills have made it past deadlines to remain under consideration.

Bill still alive include:

GAY RIGHTS: Same-sex couples could get all of the state rights afforded to married couples under a measure passed by the Senate.

TEACHER MISCONDUCT: A proposal to toughen and clarify state law concerning sexual misconduct by school employees and students between the ages of 18 and 21 has passed out of the House.

WASL: The Washington Assessment of Student Learning may be changed under a bill passed in the Senate. It would support the revisions proposed by new schools chief Randy Dorn.

GREEN ELECTRICITY: Utilities could get more flexibility in meeting green power requirements under a bill that has passed the Senate. The bill changes targets and allows credits for hydropower.

GREENHOUSE GASES: A bill setting some direction in curbing greenhouse gases passed the Senate. It's weaker than Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposal for a cap-and-trade program.

NEWSPAPERS: The state's struggling newspapers could get a temporary break on the state's main business tax. under a plan approved by the House.

YOUNG HUNTERS: A proposal that passed the House would reinstate a law that hunters under 14 be accompanied by an experienced adult.

BATHROOM BREAK: The House has passed a bill mandating emergency access to businesses' private restrooms for sufferers of Crohn's disease and related bowel disorders.

Bills that appear dead include:

GREEN GROCERY BAGS: A measure requiring grocery stores to provide a compostable or reusable bag didn't make it out of the House environmental committee.

DNA TESTING: A bill that would expand Washington law to require a DNA sample be collected from anyone arrested in a felony investigation died in committee.

BALLOT DEADLINES: A measure that would have required voters to get their ballots back to the county elections office by Election Day stalled in committee.

MARIJUANA PENTALTIES: Efforts to decriminalize possession of 1.4 ounces or less of marijuana failed to make it past the bill cutoff date.

PORNOGRAPHY TAX: A proposed tax on pornography never made it past committee.

BURIED WITH PETS: And, State Sen. Ken Jacobsen's proposal to allow pets to be buried in human cemeteries is apparently as dead as his pet cat.

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