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Analysis: Lawmakers ramp up work on bills in final two weeks of regular session

Health officials and lawmakers are hoping to see Subsitute House Bill 1551 make it through the next legislative session. It would update many of the state's laws relating to HIV and AIDS, which largely haven't been updated since they were adopted in 1988.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press

We’re less than two weeks away from the Legislature’s scheduled end date for the regular session. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the action in recent days.

The state House and Senate have been on the floor full time the last several days, Jenkins said.

“There’s a bill headed to the governor’s desk that deals with felony voting rights,” he said of one of many pieces of legislation passed during this busy time. “It would require the Department of Corrections to provide written notice to an inmate as they’re releasing from prison about their rights for provisional restoration of their voting rights.”  

There’s also an interesting gun-related measure worth noting, Jenkins added. Currently, local police agencies are in charge of background checks for pistol purchases and concealed permit applications. By contrast, Oregon’s statewide system is under the jurisdiction of state police. A study will be done to see if that approach would work here, Jenkins said.

And, just yesterday, a bill passed dealing with missing and murdered indigenous people. “Under this law, two positions would be created within the Washington State Patrol for the purpose of building relationships between the state and native communities,” Jenkins said.

To hear more about these measures passed recently and a long list of those Jenkins is still watching closely, click the play icon above. 

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Kari Plog is a former KNKX reporter who covered the people and systems in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties, with an emphasis on police accountability.