Lions, Tigers and Bears House Bill 1418 (Wash.) It's already illegal to own members of endangered species and what the state deems "deleterious exotic wildlife" (mongoose, wild boars, etc.). But this bill would destroy your dreams of owning any "potentially dangerous wild animals," including (but not limited to) "large cats, wolves, bears, primates, certain snakes and crocodiles." The law, if passed, could quash Siegfried and Roy's long-held plans to move to Enumclaw.
A Better Mouse Trap Senate Bill 5722 (Wash.) Under current law, it's illegal to use body-gripping traps to "capture any mammal for recreation or commerce in fur" in Washington. There's an exemption, of course, for rat and mouse traps. This bill would also exempt mole traps. Which sounds harmless. But consider the slippery slope: First, mice and rats. Then moles. What next? Kittens? Dolphins? Blind kids? Where does it end?
It's Not Business, It's Personal SB 5294 (Wash.) One of weirdest bills we've seen in the Halliburton era, 5294 "authorizes" directors of corporations to consider the "social, legal, economic and environmental effects of their decisions." Not "requires." Authorizes. Current law requires they consider only the interests of their shareholders.
No Cuts SB 5088 (Wash.) What did you get for taking cuts in the grade-school cafeteria? Sent to the back of the line, that's what. Same would go for queuing up at the ferry dock. And you could get a ticket for blocking somebody's driveway in the process.
The Horse Kneader SB 5403 (Wash.) A year after legislators prohibited sex with animals -- in response to the man who died from a ruptured colon after getting friendly with a horse near Enumclaw -- they want to make it easier for Washingtonians to become certified in animal massage, giving the trade its own program, instead of just an endorsement to a human massage certificate. Is the pro-"zoo" lobby softening up Olympia?
No Sleigh-Guiding Tonight Senate Bill 1004 (Idaho) Though it doesn't really explain why (and though it describes the current situation as an "emergency") this bill proposes a five-year moratorium on new Cervidae farms. That is, farms for fallow deer, elk and... reindeer. A ban on reindeer? If this doesn't constitute a war on Christmas, we don't know what does. (Bill O'Reilly has been duly notified.)
B-13 House Bill 0114 (Idaho) This bill revises the definition of "bingo," thereby authorizing charities to market bingo themes on their tickets. This takes the Idaho State Legislature 1,218 words.
Miller Time Various Bills (Wash.) Anyone who's ever counted the days until their 21st birthday has felt the cold, moderating influence of the law on the act of getting wasted. It didn't end with Prohibition; local and federal governments still keep tight grips on hooch. To wit, there are 20 separate booze-based bills on the floor in Olympia this session. Luckily for booze hounds, the majority intend to loosen restrictions -- making it easier to ship, sell, store and pour alcohol; opening more liquor stores on Sundays; allowing for freer promotion of Washington beer and wine; and, in one case, upping the allowable percentage of alcohol in food and candy from one to 10 percent.
Of the 20 bills that involve alcohol, only two offer extra restrictions. House Bill 1175, dormant since January, would make it illegal to drink on ferries. House Bill 1215, which almost unanimously passed into the Senate on Valentine's Day, would prohibit devices that vaporize alcohol, getting you real trashed, real fast.
Oh well. Pass the cordials.
Shut Up and Drive SB 5037 (Wash.) Moles and Vegas entertainers aren't the only pests facing restrictions in Olympia this year. This bill targets one of Inlander readers' biggest frustrations (according to a 2005 poll): drivers with cell phones. It would allow cops to ticket said drivers as a secondary action (say, after they're already pulled them over for swerving, tailgating and generally driving like an idiot).
So This Dog Walks Into a Bar... SB 5484 (Wash.) This bill would allow dogs in bars. Not just guide dogs, which are already allowed. Any dog. Testimony in support, according to a Senate report, opined that "allowing dogs in bars makes them more human and comfortable. There is a virtue to having dogs around." There's also a virtue to drinking dander-free beer. The bill's been stalled since Jan. 30.
Time-Killers Various (Wash. and Idaho) State legislators find time each session to put off public education and universal health care to think about really important things. In Idaho, that means commending Boise State for their Fiesta Bowl win and Hudson's Hamburgers for 100 years of beef-slinging. In Olympia, it's naming the official state oak tree (the Garry), amphibian (the Pacific Chorus frog), vegetable (the Walla Walla sweet onion) and ship (the Lady Washington -- seen, a Senate report gushes, in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl). Also, a darling little resolution "encouraging the citizens of Washington to celebrate children."
Body Piercing Various (Wash.) You wouldn't think it, but body modification's all the rage on the capitol campus this session, with six separate bills devoted to regulating it. More than half address the need for safety precautions, from sterilizing instruments and jewelry to reporting infections. The remainder wrangle with who can modify their body and how. One notes that potential safety measures wouldn't apply to "the use of stud and clasp piercing systems to pierce the earlobe." Senate Bill 5820 makes piercing anyone younger than 18 a misdemeanor, unless a parent is there and gives consent. House Bill 1700 says tattooing a minor should be illegal, but when it comes to piercing one, the question is where.
Anyone who "engages in body piercing a nipple or the genitalia of any minor under the age of eighteen is guilty of a misdemeanor," it proposes. Tell that to the punks down on 4th Avenue, Oly.
Use Your Imagination Various (Wash. and Idaho) No descriptions here. Just guess what these bills are about, given the shorthand titles provided by the official websites in Olympia and Boise: