BAITING THE BEAR
What: Lawmakers baited environmentalists by introducing HB 1012 and SB 5121, which would have overturned I-655, which, if you'll recall, outlawed bear baiting and hound hunting.
Who: Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, and Bob Sump, R-Republic
Fate: The House bill died in Rules (which means it initially passed Natural Resources) weeks ago. The Senate version expired way back in January.
I said: It was a stupid issue to resurrect in the first place.
What: Pro-gun-control factions from both parties drafted HB 1424 and SB 5292, the "Whitney Graves" bills, which would have made it a gross misdemeanor for parents to leave loaded guns in their kids' reach.
Who: Sen. Jeri Costa, D-Everett, and Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, RMercer Island
Fate: Shot dead. Opponents said that you might as well prosecute parents for making poison or power tools accessible.
I said: This was a law that should have passed. Guns are different from animals and power tools. A mass poisoning or chain-saw massacre will not kill as many of one's classmates as efficiently and romantically as a good bullet spraying.
What: Republicans got caught in a moral dilemma when SB 5295, which would have made it easier for women to breast-feed in public, came on the scene. Either they could laud this measure to strengthen family values by sanctioning maternal behavior or deride this effort to weaken such values by encouraging women to "flop out on street corners," as Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, poetically put it.
Who: Sen. Jeri Costa, D-Everett
Fate: It passed the Senate, but the House averted its eyes from the issue and the bill quickly died.
I said: Breast-feeding is not a crime!
THE BITTER PILL
What: Tired of paying the full cost of birth control pills, while men get insurance subsidies for Viagra, women may finally get mandatory coverage under HB 5512.
Who: Sen. Jeri Costa, D-Everett
I said: If an insurance company won't cover birth control pills, it has no business being in business.
SO HAPPY TOGETHER
What: Gay kids have it rough in Washington schools, and probably everywhere, and, as Mark Iverson's case made clear, teachers sometimes ignore the harassment. HB 1765 would have made schools draft policies against malicious harassment of anyone, gay or not.
Who: Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle
Fate: Glad you asked. The bill had bipartisan support until, Murray says, KVI got in on it and informed its gullible listeners that this law was part of the "Homosexual Agenda" to give gay kids a comfortable learning environment. (After all, it is your patriotic duty to bully people who are different, isn't it?) House Republicans pulled out; one told Murray that the bill would get their support if it applied to racial and religious minorities but excluded sexual ones. The essence of the bill may be added on to legislation that is still alive, says Murray.
I said: I thought extremism no longer carried the day at Olympia, but I see I was wrong. House Republicans, you guys are so weak it's embarrassing.
What: Remember HB 1675? That one would have ended the Liquor Control Board's ownership of the stores where we buy our booze.
Who: Sen. Kathy Lambert
Fate: Dead. It never even made it out of its first committee.
I said: This is a bill that at the very least should have received the Legislature's consideration. The very notion that a regulatory agency would make money off that what it regulates reeks of corruption.
SPEAKING OF REEKING . . .
What: Right now, a cop has to have a good reason to think you're drunk—like seeing you swerve erratically or smelling moonshine on your breath—in order to bust you for being drunk. But that wasn't good enough for Sen. Mike Heavey, DWest Seattle, who seriously proposed, in SB 5872, lowering a driver's legal blood alcohol limit to a barely perceptible .02.
Who: Sen. Mike Heavey, DWest Seattle
I said: It seems like this law could be used against someone who's done something as minor as neglect to put his new tags on the car. If a cop notices, he can also apply the Breathalyzer and bust the guy for having had a drink with dinner. Heavey protests that the law would not have been used to prosecute people whose driving infractions are unrelated to their drinking. But since nobody's drunk at .02, what would have been the point?
THE FORBIDDEN DISCLOSURE
What: Some people who have access to information about HIV-infected patients, like hospital and health board workers, might think it's fun to call up newspapers and reveal who those patients are (this actually happened in Florida). SB 5793 proscribes penalties for these cases.
Who: Sen. Pat Thibaudeau, D-Seattle
I said: If I had HIV, it would be nobody's business but my own.