Four weeks into the legislative session, bills are seeing floor action and discussions of big-ticket issues like Gov. Jay Inslee’s carbon cap-and-trade policy are being hashed out in more detail. Here’s what Republicans had to say at a Tuesday media availability on some key topics:
1. Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy said Inslee isn’t coercing Republicans into agreement on a transportation package by threatening an executive action on a low-carbon fuel standard — but it is making negotiation on a package more difficult. A low-carbon fuel standard would reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, but critics say it could raise gas prices.
“I think it’s fair to say that it has hurt the discussion,” she said. “The public’s taste for tax increases — they want to see something for that and they want to know what the impacts on their families are going to be. I just think it made it a lot more complicated.”
2. Implementation of body cameras for police is uncharted territory in Washington state, and lawmakers have proposed bills like Senate Bill 5732 to help navigate issues of privacy and police recordings. Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg said privacy must be taken into account with public-records requests of video. Redacting information from video or other technology is difficult and expensive so the issue should be handled with care, Manweller said.
“Now we’re gonna have film editing stations in every police station?” Manweller said. “These are incredibly complicated and expensive issues and we already know how expensive the Public Records Act is with just paper.”
3. Short recognized that Inslee’s cap-and-trade plan would probably move out of the House Environment Committee despite opposition from Republicans. Republicans said they had amendments going forward on the plan, and Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick said Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, is rolling out a bill Thursday to address their issues with cap-and-trade.
“I think we’re looking at a sweep of amendments right now,” Short said.
She added that even with amendments, Republicans might not support the plan.