The current legislative session in Washington State will expire this Sunday

Washington News
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On Sunday, the Washington State Legislature will finish up its work for the year, with some legislation passing and others failing, with the sole condition being the passage of a two-year budget.

Democrats have more to celebrate than Republicans since they control all branches of government except the House.

Those advocating for a ban on firearms classified as assault weapons finally succeeded on their seventh try. More than 60 different types of firearms have been the subject of attempted prohibition efforts in Olympia during the last several years. However, this year, the Democrats secured enough votes to enact their law. The restriction has been deemed illegal by gun rights groups, and a lawsuit challenging it is almost certain to be filed after the governor signs it into law.

A law mandating training for those who possess firearms was also approved by the legislature. Lots of people are happy that Washington hasn't executed anybody since 2010 when the death penalty was brought into law by Governor Jay Inslee.

The Seattle King County NAACP and its president, Gerald Hankerson, advocated for the repeal of the statute after the State Supreme Court struck it down in 2018 because it was racially unfair. Teenager Hankerson was given a life sentence without the chance of parole for his crime. After more than two decades behind bars, the witnesses who had testified to his guilt recanted. His freedom was granted in 2009.

After years of research showing that people of color are disproportionately subjected to the death sentence, I had to resort to a very specific hand wash to free myself from the noose that had been around my neck.

This year saw an increase in the number of measures approved to address the state's housing issue, particularly those that targeted low-income and affordable housing. There are a few areas in which Democrats and Republicans might cooperate, but providing additional housing for the homeless is one of them.

The housing measures that were approved, according to Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck, are among the most critical bills that were enacted this year. New legislation prohibiting communities from having solely single-family zone areas would allow for more duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes, he added, which will help get more people off the streets and reduce the cost of housing. The high cost of living, he claimed, has been detrimental to the state.

Every year, the legislature adopts hundreds of measures, yet only a few of them pertain to the massive annual budget. Some are very small pet projects, while others are quite significant to certain interest groups.

For tiny Hugo Esther, it was the case. He's the newest face in the lobbying world, and he may end up being the most powerful one this session. At the age of three, Hugo was diagnosed with mild to severe hearing loss. Although insurance companies aren't obligated to pay the cost of hearing aids, his family claims that he has succeeded in school thanks to them.

To have insurance companies pay up to $5,000 for Hugo's hearing aids, his parents contacted their representatives. The measure has been approved and is awaiting the governor's signature.

In 2019, a fourth-grade class petitioned state officials to choose a genus and species of dinosaur to represent the state. After some delay, a measure designating the Suciasaurus rex as the official dinosaur finally became law in 2018.

Furthermore, the parliamentary building itself will be somewhat more open to the public. The original skylights over the House and Senate chambers will be reinstalled, as was announced on Friday.

They were included in the blueprints for the Capitol's construction in the 1920s, but they were covered over with metal in the 1970s for reasons of security and leak prevention. The bill's supporters argue that the skylights should be restored by the Capitol's 100th anniversary in 2028.

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