The State Legislature is creeping closer to an end after 60 days in this 2016 session, but certain bills have already met their fate, due to legislative deadlines. Here are five bills that have died, failing to get very far this session.
1. House Bill 2907, sponsored by 12 Democrats, sought to make it easier to charge police over use of deadly force.
This bill was so ridiculous bill that it failed to even get a vote in a committee chaired by a Democrat. It would have removed language in state law “barring police officers from being prosecuted for killing someone in the line of duty as long as they acted in good faith and without malice.” It also sought to eliminate language outlining some scenarios in which officers may use deadly force. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs opposed the bill and its failure is a victory for our much-battered police forces.
2. SJR 8214 sought to amend the state Constitution to allow an income tax.
The bill was the Democrats’ latest attempt to propose a graduated state income tax scheme imposed by a constitutional amendment. Democrats’ obsession with a state income tax did not get very far this time around, and it won’t get very far with Washington voters, who have, time and time again, rejected a state income tax.
3. HB 2312 would have eliminated one of I-405’s under-utilized toll lanes.
The bill would have granted some relief to commuters by allowing drivers (who already paid for the lane through gas taxes) to use one of the toll lanes as a general-purpose lane. Additionally, this bill would have made other changes intended to reduce congestion on the busy roadway. Democrat State Representative Judy Clibborn, chair of the Transportation Committee, refused to even give the bill a hearing. Essentially, Clibborn—knowing that the bill would pass if it came to a vote—abused her power by not allowing even the possibility of a debate on an important bill that impacts commuters throughout King and Snohomish County.
4. House Bill 2484 would have placed more regulations on dairy farmers, particularly Darigold (a dairy cooperative, not a corporation as big labor would like people to believe).
The United Farm Workers and the Washington State Labor Council, which sought to exploit the tragic death of dairy worker Randy Vasquez as a means to its end, pushed the bill. As the agriculture industry and business groups argued, one tragic accident does not justify singling out the dairy industry for stricter regulations. Lawmakers agreed.
5. House Bill 2638 sought to, essentially, place the future of aerospace jobs in a precarious position.
The bill would have “required Boeing to employ at least 83,295 people in Washington — the number of employees the plane maker had when the tax breaks, worth about $8.7 billion, were granted.” Additionally, Boeing would see tax benefits cut by half if the company moved more than 4,000 jobs out of the state. Tax benefits would be “completely eliminated if the number of its employees in the state fell by more than 5,000.”
On the surface, some might say the bill sounds fair, but upon further consideration it would have unforeseen repercussions. Namely, the so-called “tax breaks” allowed Boeing to make a business decision to build more jets here, a decision that is estimated to generate $21 billion in state tax revenue over 16 years. The reality is that our state’s economy is not so solid that we can let businesses know that the state reserves the right to reverse tax policies that motivated them to create jobs in Washington, just because unions demand it.