State Legislative Session Kicks off Today
Update, January 10, 2012: Senate Bill 5977 passed the Energy, Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee unanimously, and has been referred to Ways and Means. The Ways and Means hearing has not been scheduled.
The legislative session kicks off today with a flurry of bills pertaining to the Discover Pass; nine total bills in the House and Senate have been introduced. Some of them will move, some will languish, and all will cause a stir. And if you'd like to the opportunity to let your legislators know personally how you feel, please take a moment to sign up for WTA's Hiker Lobby Day on February 1 in Olympia
First out of the barrel is SB 5977,legislation we told you about last month that would make the discover pass transferable between vehicles. SB 5977 is sponsored by Senator Kevin Ranker, and is scheduled for a vote in Senate Energy, Natural Resources and Marine Waters today (Monday) at 1:30 pm. WTA strongly supports this legislation as an elegant solution to Discover Pass vehicle transferability. It's companion bill is HB 2153, which is prime sponsored by Representative Zack Hudgins.
Here's the rest of the field. We're fairly neutral on most of these bills listed below, except for one about which we have very grave concerns. I'll tackle that one last.
- SB 5985: Another piece of legislation that allows the Discover Pass to be transferred between two vehicles.
- SB 5986: Allows people to use the Fish and Wildlife Vehicle Access Pass to access DNR recreation sites. Its companion bill is HB 2187.
- SB 5998: Limits the need for a Discover Pass on DNR lands to developed recreation sites.
- HB 2217: Mandates that the final cost of the Discover Pass is $30, in effect prohibiting transaction fees.
- HB 2161: Provides a free annual Discover Pass to anyone who holds a State Parks disabled veterans access pass.