Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently announced his 2019 legislative agenda, with several bills supported by several Eastside lawmakers.
According to the agenda, Ferguson is aiming to increase state gun control, raise the age limit to purchase tobacco and better protect consumers and workers.
The Attorney General’s Office requested 11 bills. Many of those bills had been requested in the past. The agenda has a heavy focus on gun control with three bills aiming to put several restrictions on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and “ghost guns” or 3-D-printable guns. Other highlights of the agenda include a request to fully repeal the death penalty, a repeated bipartisan attempt to raise the state’s age limit for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21, and several bills to counteract wage theft, exploitation and data breaches.
“My office is proposing legislation to improve the lives of people across the state,” Ferguson said. “I look forward to partnering with a bipartisan group of legislators to make a difference for Washingtonians.”
The most ambitious gun control bill on the agenda may be a proposed ban on assault weapons, which the attorney general defines as “semi-automatic rifles with at least one military-style feature making the weapons easier to fire more accurately and rapidly than a typical hunting rifle.” The bill is sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer of Washington’s 48th Legislative District.
Ferguson previously pushed for the same legislation in 2017 paired with a bill to prohibit the sale or possession of high-capacity magazines. This bill, which will be introduced again in 2019, would ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds with exceptions for law enforcement, military personnel and recreational shooting ranges, such as Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club next to Issaquah high and middle schools. The bill is sponsored by Kuderer and Rep. Javier Valdez of Washington’s 46th Legislative District.
The third gun control bill seeks to restrict the possession and sale of “ghost guns” — firearms that are untraceable and undetectable because they can be 3-D printed in plastic by anyone. The bill is sponsored by Valdez and Sen. Manka Dhingra of Washington’s 45th Legislative District.
Workers and consumers
Ferguson began pushing to raise Washington’s age limit to purchase tobacco and vape products in 2015. He’s proposed legislation in four previous sessions and now has proposed it a fifth time. The bill will not affect sales on military installations or penalize minors for possession and is sponsored by Kuderer.
Another bill, aimed to protect consumers, would close a legal loophole called pocket service that allows a collection agency to file a case against a debtor without them knowing about it. The bill is sponsored by Dhingra.
In an update to current state laws, the Attorney General’s Office is proposing a decrease in the amount of time organizations have between discovering a data breach and notifying Washingtonians. Under current law, an organization isn’t required to notify consumers if a hacker steals their information. Ferguson’s update, which is sponsored by Shelly Kloba of the 1st Legislative District, would require notification within 30 days.
The final bill sponsored by an Eastside legislator is a bill that allows people to consolidate traffic fines across districts and therefor provide them with a more affordable payment plan. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman of Washington’s 45th Legislative District.