If you been following the news, you’ll know that state lawmakers will be dealing with a pretty wide range of issues this year. As the legislative session begins Monday, and the Capitol fills with legislators, lobbyists and proposals, here are 10 issues to keep an eye on:
1. Lawmakers have been held in contempt for not doing enough to fund basic education as part of the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
2. What will happen with Initiative 1351, the class-size reduction measure that voters passed in November?
3. After other court decisions outlawing the warehousing of psychiatric patients in hospitals and jails, lawmakers will have to add mental health funding.
4. Is 2015 the year medical marijuana becomes regulated by the state like recreational marijuana?
5. Is 2015 the year industrial hemp finally returns to being legal?
6. As traffic jams rise, lawmakers will once again consider a transportation package to fund new projects. It didn’t happen last year.
7. Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a tax on carbon polluters.
8. The governor argues that a carbon polluter tax along with a new capital-gains tax could fund transportation and education.
9. To pay for other programs, will lawmakers choose to cut programs like social welfare for people with disabilities?
10. Voters last fall OK’d tighter gun-purchase background checks with I-594. Now, gun-safety advocates want to push for more laws, while gun-rights supporters are hoping to weaken I-594.