Gov. Chris Gregoire is scheduled to sign more than two dozen bills this morning, including one that will help the state implement President Obama’s federal healthcare reform. Gregoire has been refusing to sign the vast majority of bills into law as a way to pressure lawmakers to get the budget done. She eased up her position earlier this week, though, saying budget writers were making some progress.
A number of the bills are tied to the supplemental transportation budget, including:
HB 2660: Imposes a $100 annual fee on electric vehicles, which supporters say is a way to recoup lost revenue from gas taxes that the owners of electric vehicles don’t have to pay. General Motors opposed the fee in a letter to Gregoire, saying the electric vehicle market isn’t strong enough to support new taxes or fees yet.
SB 6150: Raises fees for a driver’s license from $25 to $54 starting in July 2013. The license will be good for six years instead of the current five, and it will use new facial recognition technology to identify drivers.
Later in the day, she’s signing the Heathcare Exchange bill at a Group Health clinic in Olympia. The bill prepares the state for compliance with federal rules when they go into effect in 2014, laying out the process for creating a healthcare exchange — or a marketplace where state residents and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance.
A complete list of bills she’s signing can be found here.