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Update on transportation bills in Olympia: What’s dead and what’s still got a chance

Non-budgetary bills in the Washington legislature had until yesterday to pass in at least one chamber in order to remain on track for passage into law. We wrote about a few transportation-related efforts Tuesday, so how did they do?

Well, it’s a mixed bag. Heidi Groover has a longer list over at the Seattle Times. Below are some highlights:

  • DEADHB 1793 – Bill to allow automated enforcement of illegal bus lane driving and “blocking the box.” Disability rights group Rooted in Rights has done a great job leading on this bill, including this fantastic video explaining the need. A combination of resistance to traffic cameras and worries about unequal enforcement did it in. Failure possibly shows the need for more intersectional organizing to promote automated enforcement as a better and more fair alternative to police enforcement. This felt very close, and it was very cool to see Rooted in Rights and Transportation Choices Coalition team up the way they did to promote it. It didn’t win this time, but they made a powerful team. Also, the next version should also look into including bike lane blockages along with bus lanes and “blocking the box.”
  • ALIVE: SB 5723/HB 1966 – Revising the Vulnerable Road User Law. We wrote about this bill in depth earlier this week. It is way ahead of schedule, with both the House and Senate already passing companion versions of the bill. One of these two bills still needs approval by the other chamber, but the Senate vote was unanimous and the House vote was 61–36. So this is looking very good.
  • DEAD: SB 5104 – Prohibit local jurisdictions from imposing tolls. This is essentially the state trying to make sure no community can experiment with congestion pricing.
  • DEAD: SB 5299 – A DUI could become a felony if the offender has had three or more DUIs within 15 years, five years longer than the current ten years.
  • ALIVE: HB 1772 – Update definitions and add regulation details for electric foot scooters. It is way ahead, having already passed the House 85–13. It still needs Senate approval.
  • ALIVE: SB 5971, SB 5972, SB 5970 – These bills make up the $16 billion transportation package Senator Hobbs has proposed. As the Urbanist has reported, this package is filled with highways, even leveling a carbon fee to pay for them. This is all backwards, since transportation and highways are a top cause of greenhouse gas emissions in our state. And don’t get me started on the proposed bicycle tax (that will need to be the subject of a longer post…). This package should die and come back in a future session in a form that invests in building a better future rather than the gas-powered highway vision of the last century. As a budgetary package, it operates on a difference schedule than the other bills. So even though it still has not passed either chamber, it is still alive.

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8 responses to “Update on transportation bills in Olympia: What’s dead and what’s still got a chance”

  1. MikeG

    SB5299 couldn’t advance is a shame. What could make legislators want to coddle repeat DUI offenders?

    1. AW

      Why isn’t *ONE* DUI a felony and automatic revocation of drivers license ? If it were this way there would be much less drunk driving.

      1. jay

        One thing to consider is that hit and run is a felony, if DWI is not, then one has some incentive to stay at the scene and face the consequences. If one is looking at a felony either way, then running and taking one’s chances on being caught makes some sense. Now of course if hit and run (say, with fatality to be semi- realistic) were made a “capitol” crime (or life without parole since Washington doesn’t execute people anymore) then the equation might switch back.

        What we really need is self driving cars so that people can be prevented from ever driving again without loosing their jobs and making their children homeless (which I have heard given as a reason to go easy on people who recklessly endanger the lives of people, including children, even their own children in some cases)

        Yes, Polly, elimination of the reliance on SOV would be great, and as soon as I’m elected Supreme Leader I’ll make that my first priority. (hint, don’t try holding your breath until it happens)

  2. J Alfred Prufrock

    Liberals and their trial lawyer honchos haven’t seen a perp they couldn’t bleed for. Also issue of prison funding since more felons means more prison space but Libs would rather allocate tax money to free loaders/welfare bums/etc. then incarcerate repeat drunk drivers. Washington is a one party state so get used to it.

    1. Dave

      Um, no – the Minority (R) report was “do not pass”, the Majority (D) report was “do pass”.

      1. Southeasterner

        So if Dems are the majority why didn’t it pass?

  3. Ballard Biker

    It also looks like SHB 1277 stalled, which would remove the maximum wattage allowed for e-bikes. Not really sure why this bill was even considered or who asked for it. The 20 mph cargo bikes and 30 mph fat tire bikes are bad enough.

    1. Ragged Robin

      The e-bikers who don’t understand how bikes work think they need 2,000 watts to get up a 4% climb because their “bike is heavy” are the ones pushing for it. What they don’t understand is that they can get up it much more easily with the SAME limited watts *if the bike they purchased was properly geared for it*. This is an e-bike industry problem, not an Olympia one. Throwing endless supplies of watts at the issue is like using a sledgehammer on a nail on your wall.

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