Bills for plastic bag ban, capital gains tax survive in Olympia
It’s a busy couple of days in Olympia, with dozens of bills getting hearings or votes before a final committee cutoff on Tuesday.
Among them is the statewide ban on single use plastic bags, that would require ever retailer in the state to hand out paper bags at 8 cents each, or offer heavy duty plastic bags that can be used at least 125 times.
Supporters say it’s better for the environment, and it has the support of the grocery industry. That industry wants to see the statewide standard, as opposed to the more than two dozen differing versions of bag bans in cites that have passed their own ordinances.
But the paper industry has concerns, citing what it feels are costly paper bag fees, and criticizing the allowance of heavy, reusable plastic bags.
Competing capital gains proposals
Another bill getting a hearing Monday was the Senate version of a controversial capital gains tax.
We talked last week about the competing proposals in the House and Senate. The House capital gains tax is part of their budget, and it goes to pay for things like mental health and education.
But in the Senate, the capital gains tax on the sales of things like stocks and bonds, is not part of the budget. That would instead be in a separate bill that would tax capital gains at 8.9 percent above $250,000, and use that money to cut taxes for lower income folks with the Working Families Tax Credit.
Vacating marijuana convictions stays on table
It’s also looking more likely that people with misdemeanor pot convictions across the state could soon have them vacated. That bill was voted out of a key committee Monday. It allows anybody with a pot conviction from 1998 to the time when the state legalized marijuana to request the conviction be vacated.
Another measure changes the compliance rules for those in the marijuana industry.
Supporters say compliance reform is needed there is a of uniform enforcement, arguing that the Liquor and Cannabis Board is inconsistent when it comes to enforcement.
That in turn leaves business owners in constant fear of losing their licenses over small, unintentional technical offenses. It seems as though some sort of agreement was reached with the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and all sides now agree on bill.
Rape kits bill scores major victories
We’ve followed the bill to address the state’s massive rape kit backlog since before the session even started, and recently, it’s scored massive victories.
This is the bill that creates the new high tech lab, hires 20 more scientists, and finally requires thousands of untested rape kits be submitted for testing, and that those tests be completed by 2021.
The bill just passed out of a key committee. The big question on this measure has regarded the need for $13 million in funding for lab costs and staffing. While the House and Senate are still haggling over their budgets, both versions include the money for the rape kit bill.