Involuntary commitment, ferry design and Senate floor action on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Tuesday’s “Legislative Review,” we have details about a bill that would accelerate the implementation of the state’s involuntary commitment law. In 2010, the state Legislature passed a law making it easier to commit dangerous people with mental illnesses. But it never got funded. The measure discussed Wednesday would provide funding and move up the implementation date to next year.

We also cover Senate floor action, as well as a public hearing over a measure that would prohibit the state’s ferry department from designing boats in the future.

Updated: Senate passed bill to control ferry system costs

By | March 10, 2010 | 0 Comments

The Senate is debating a bill to manage ferry system costs.

The bill originated in the House — their version says that the legislature intends to address ferry system costs in the future. The Senate has previously passed a bill that does more to limit costs.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen: “This bill makes huge steps in the right direction to address some concerns we’ve had,” she said, including collective bargaining, efficiences and more. “It is a good bill, it was carefully worked … I think that we need to move forward and send this bill back to the House with a huge vote. That makes a huge difference,” she said. She added that if they don’t pass the bill, they’ll hear about ferry costs more in the future.

Sen. Cheryl Pflug: “How can you defeat an amendment to prevent what is clearly cheating and then turn around and say that we are really cracking down on abuse?” She was referring to an amendment that would not allow ferry workers to be paid for transportation time. During her floor speech on the amendment, she said one ferry worker recently made $60,000 in salary but $72,000 in travel costs to and from work. “How can you say we’re concerned about the funding? How can you say that we want to run this like a business and then turn around and do that? This is not right.”

Sen. Dan Swecker said he was also disappointed that amendment didn’t pass, but that he supports the underlying bill. “It gets to conform our negotiating with the union to the same kinds of standards that are applied to all other state employees,” he said, and creates “checks and balances” for ferry management. “Overall, I think this is a strong net gain in our management of the ferry systems.”

The Senate passed the bill, 39 to 9. It now heads back to the House.

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Did Washington get overlooked for federal ferry stimulus?

By | July 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

Washington state has the largest ferry system in the nation, yet didn’t get much in the way of federal stimulus money for ferries, reports Jerry Cornfield.

“Washington’s Department of Transportation submitted 11 requests totaling about $56 million, of which two came from its ferry system. One was for $26 million to replace the Anacortes terminal and the other for $9 million to refurbish the Hyak.”
What did the state get? Less than $1 million, while Detroit and the Virgin Islands got more.

Read the whole thing here.

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