This is news: Angel bills get hearings

Over the first five years of Jan Angel’s legislative career one of her laments has been that her bills don’t get the attention they deserve because she was in the minority in the House chamber.

With Angel’s ascent into the Senate, that has all changed. On Monday her office issued a press release announcing that eight of her bills were getting hearings. We wrote about one of them, the bill that would allow a man who can prove he is not the father of a child to relinquish rights and responsibilities (i.e. child support) of parenthood.

In the Senate Law & Justice Committee hearing on that bill, SB 5997, Angel led off by testifying on the paternity bill, then was allowed to testify on another of her bills, one dealing with first class cities being able to employ warrant officers, so she could leave that committee to go address Angel-authored legislation in other committees.

Even more Angel news: Members of the Senate Majority Coalition want Angel to co-chair the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee with Lake Stevens Democrat Steve Hobbs. Angel does have some experience in banking and coalition leaders say they want to take advantage of that, according to the story by the (Tacoma) News Tribune’s Jordan Schrader.

No one will blame you, though, if you suspect some of this is designed to elevate Angel’s stature in Olympia, especially given that she faces re-election in November. Her opponent last November, one-year appointee Democrat Nathan Schlicher, got the opposite treatment, or so some suspect. If politics are at play, that could have an impact on whether legislation Angel supports gets enthusiastic, or any, treatment in the House.

Even if there are no political forces at play, bills often take more than one session to make it to final passage. First drafts will often have problems that are not identified until they get hearings, or at least introduced. Also , this is a short session and the time frame is crunched, something Angel referenced in her press release. Getting the eight bills heard is a good start, a great start, but any bill has to get passed in the House, too, which means someone over there is going to have to consider it a priority.

On the paternity bill Angel had expected there to be a companion bill in the House. This legislation, or some form of it, was originally introduced in the House during 2011-12 session by state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla. Walsh and fellow Republican Hans Zeiger of Puyallup had thought to reintroduce the bill in the House, but according to a House Republican Caucus spokesman have decided not to, because the Senate bill was already moving.

If you want to watch the conversation about the paternity bill, it’s on the video below. It’s the first item of discussion, is interrupted briefly by the bill about warrants so Angel can go to another committee. Below the video is the text of Angel’s press release.

Eight Angel bills slated for public hearings this week

OLYMPIA… Today Sen. Jan Angel hustled from one committee meeting to the next to give her personal testimony in support of legislation she is sponsoring this year. Of her eight bills scheduled for public hearings this week, four were on the Senate calendar today.

“Everything seems to happen all at once during short sessions – there is no time to waste with only 60 days to work bills through the system,” said Angel, R-Port Orchard. “But I’m not complaining! I’m pleased that so many of my bills are receiving committee hearings. Let’s have a discussion – that’s all I’m asking.

“Many of these bills clarify or streamline current laws, and often times they give more authority back to the local governments. It’s not a practice of mine to sponsor bills just to sponsor them. My personal checklist says bills need to clean up, clarify, or save money.

“I work for the people of this state and more specifically, the people of the 26th Legislative District. I’m pleased that three of these eight pieces of legislation address issues brought to my attention by my concerned constituents.”

Senate Bill 5995 – This measure would give local municipalities the authority to make decisions about the best type and use of sewage systems in urban growth areas under unusual circumstances. The bill received a hearing before the Senate Governmental Operations Committee today.

Senate Bill 5996 – Under this bill, online learning would be offered for students seeking licensing in cosmetology, manicuring, barbering, esthetics, and instruction. Angel appreciates the flexibility online learning offers, particularly for students maintaining work and family obligations. The bill would also help students complete their training and secure a job in a timelier manner. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee listened to testimony about it today.

Senate Bill 5997 – Originally a constituent-request bill, this measure deals with the legal responsibilities of a nonparent. The bill would allow a man to file a court petition to rescind paternity if genetic testing proves he is not the biological father of the child. Currently, there is no process in place to help men in this situation. The bill’s public hearing was before the Senate Law and Justice Committee today.

Senate Bill 5998 – This bill was requested by the Bremerton Police Department and would allow “first-class cities” with populations of 10,000 or more, but under 400,000, the authority to employ warrant officers under city police department jurisdiction. The bill was heard by the Law and Justice Committee today.

Senate Bill 6149 – This measure would protect nonemergency Medicaid transportation brokers against fraud and abuse of subcontractors. The bill is scheduled to have a public hearing Wednesday in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

Senate Bill 6317 – Under this bill, a stratified random sampling method would be used to improve the process to determine the prevailing wage rate. The bill’s hearing is scheduled Wednesday before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

Senate Bill 6060 – This measure would require water purveyor systems be considered and informed when forming or changing a Growth Management Act plan. The bill is scheduled for a hearing Thursday in the Senate Governmental Operations Committee.

Senate Bill 6207 – This bill was requested by Gig Harbor. It clarifies current law and would protect certain water facilities that charge a moorage facility or boat ramp fee. The hearing for the bill is scheduled Thursday before the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee.

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