The Washington State Legislature was busy this session, besides passing some of the biggest tax hikes in history, they also moved a lot of other bills, some of them eyebrow-raising.

  • Initiative 1000:  This bill overturns the 20 year old voter approved restriction on the use of affirmative action policies in state contracting, education and hiring. This now allows the state to use affirmative action policies to address alleged discrimination. Opponents say it will lead to the use of ethnic backrounds and other 'groups' in employment, college admission and general hiring.
  • Mandatory Nurse Rest and Meal Breaks:  This bill requires nurses and other techs in hospitals to be given uninterrupted meal and rest breaks. If their scheduled break is interrupted by an emergency, they must receive another compensatory 10-minute break. This is the famous "Nurses Play Cards" quote from Senator Maureen Walsh bill.
  • Thee Strikes And You're Out?  It's Out now:  Legislators did away with one of the provisions of the persistent offender bill that was passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1993.  If an offender is found guilty of three of the most serious felonies, they are put in prison for life. However, 2nd Degree Robbery was taken off that list, because bill supporters say it rarely ever involves a weapon or violence.
  • Raising the Tobacco and Vaping age to 21:   Despite a lot of pushback from certain groups, including the convenience store industry and some Republicans, it passed. Opponents argued that it violates liberty and freedom to make choices, even if tobacco has been shown to be harmful to one's health.