Gov. Jay Inslee has signed dozens of bills into law during the two-week break between regular session and special session, which begins May 13. Most of the laws go into effect at the end of July. The full list is here, but below is a round-up of a few bills we’ve covered on this blog or on “Legislative Review“:
Alcohol poisoning: The law aims to reduce alcohol poisoning deaths by exempting underage drinkers from a minor-in-possession charge if they call 9-1-1 to report that a friend has alcohol poisoning.
Electronic insurance: Drivers who are pulled over by the police will be allowed to show their insurance and vehicle registration information on a cellphone, iPad or other electronic device.
Liquor self-checkout machines: Grocery stores will be required to program all self-checkout machines so that the register freezes up whenever someone attempts to purchases liquor. A clerk must check ID to verify the purchaser is 21 or older before the machine can finish the transaction.
Wrongful conviction compensation: Prisoners who were wrongly convicted would be eligible to receive $50,000 for each year spent in prison, with an additional $50,000 for each year on death row. Awards would also be provided for each year spent on parole or as a registered sex offender. Backers of the law estimate it’ll only affect four current cases — including Alan Northrop, who testified at hearings on the issue. Northrop spent 17 years in prison for rape before he was exonerated by DNA evidence.
Craft distilleries: Up until now, craft distilleries in Washington have only been allowed to sell two liters of liquor per customer each day. The owner of Carbon Glacier Distillery near Mt. Rainier testified during hearings that the two-bottle limit was hurting tourism. The new law increase the limit to three liters per person.
Statute of limitations for sex abuse: Those who were sexually abused as minors will now have until their 30th birthday to report the crime. Previously, the abuse had to be prosecuted by their 28th birthday. It also expands the definition of the crime to include sexual exploitation of a minor, which can include photos or videos.
Motorcycle passing: Motorcycles are allowed to pass a pedestrian or bicyclist that traveling is in the same lane, as long as the motorcyclist passes on the left at a safe distance.
Persistently failing schools: The law directs the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to identify the worst-performing schools and come up with an intervention plan. The schools will get additional funding to help with the turnaround plan.