Update on important state bills as legislative session winds dow - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Update on important state bills as legislative session winds down

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PASCO, WA. -- We've told you about dozens of different state bills in the current legislative session. Time is running out to get those bills passed before the legislature goes on break.

We went back through our records and we've reported on 22 state bills with our viewers since the new year. With only 8 days left in the legislative session, we wanted to update you on some of the most talked about bills. 

First is Senate Bill 6219 or "Jason's Law" named after 36-year-old Jason Smith was hit and killed by Miguel Paniagua last year who was driving over 100 miles-per-hour away from police, down Sylvester Street.

Jason's law would increase jail time for vehicular homicide cases. The bill already passed the Senate with a unanimous vote and we just got word within the last hour that it passed the house Wednesday as well, also with a unanimous vote and will now be sent to the governors office for signing.

Next, House Bill 2313 would raise the smoking age from 18 to 21 in Washington. That bill hasn't made it very far in the house. It's currently been referred to the appropriations committee. 

This next bill got a lot of feedback on our Facebook page. House Bill 2447 would stop surprise medical bills from the emergency room. That proposed legislation has passed a committee and is waiting to be heard before the house rules committee. 

Perhaps the most controversial topic we talked about was the update to the transgender bathroom law carried out by the Washington Human Rights Commission. There is a lot of dispute over how the law affects schools and whether it simply gives more rights to the transgender community, or if the law can be abused by predators who want to use the opposite locker room or bathroom to their advantage. Well, Senate Bill 6443 tried to overturn the law change but failed. The senate voted against it by a narrow 25 to 24 vote. 

Finally, we've told you about 4 different bills proposed in part in response to the Pasco Police shooting of Antonio Zambrano in February 2015. Senate Bill 2907 would change the wording on legal use of deadly force by officers. It's very controversial and still sits in committee. As is Senate Bill 6295 which would require law enforcement to publicly disclose statistics regarding use of deadly force. 

And finally, two bills have passed the legislature and are on the governor's desk for signing. House Bill 2908 would create a joint legislative task force on community policing in Washington and Senate Bill 6295 would require the local superior court system to schedule time for coroner's inquest within a year and a half of the coroner's request. Both those bills passed the legislature on March 1st. 

There is still 8-days left in the legislative session. If any of these bills or any other important legislation passes in that time, we'll bring that to you here on our website.