The session is coming…the session is coming!

Howdy, Happy Campers.

It’s almost Election Day, and you know what that means.  For most people it means that Thanksgiving Day is around the corner, along with the rest of the holidays.  For me, though, it means that the next legislative session is in the offing.  I know, you think I’m sick, and indeed I may be, but that is how I am wired.

There are quite a few items on the table for this coming session, some continuing issues, some issues returning from the past, and some conversations to set the stage for future sessions.

First, the bills left over from last session that we have to get back in play:

HB 1527 (Representative Asay) The malfunctioning traffic signal will revisit the issue of traffic signals not detecting motorcycles.  It allows for motorcycles, after waiting for one full cycle of the lighting system without being detected, to proceed through the intersection, but only after exercising the same level of caution as would be used at a stop sign.

SB 5578  (The late Senator White) and HB 1833 (Representative Finn).  This makes it a requirement that the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Board meet quarterly.  Currently the criteria is open to interpretation, and with all of the attempts to cut expenditures across the board the schedule got dropped back to 5 meetings during a two year period.

Both of these bills were returned to the Rules Committee of their respective chambers, effectively dead, so we will have to convince house and senate leadership to put them back in play.

SB 5063 (Senator Haugen) This is concerning special license plates for motorcycles.  This allows motorcyclists the same opportunity as the rest of the motoring public to purchase the various supporters specialty plates, such as disabled veteran, Purple Heart, or university mascot.

While we have not requested this legislation, we will definitely be standing by to champion it.

Correction:  The language of this bill was added onto the parade bill last session.  Thanks to Mr. Breeze for pointing out that I had had a senior moment. :-)

ABATE of Washington, in conjunction with the Confederation of Clubs and the US Defenders, is continuing to work on a clean repeal/modification of the helmet law.  I am not 100% certain on their strategy, but the conversations I have been privileged to be part of have been extremely interesting.   I am definitely standing by to follow their leadership on this issue.

And now the returning issues:

Remember the work we did several years ago to try and get motorcycles included into the Commute Trip Reduction Act?  When I spoke with Senator Rolfes this summer she expressed some interest in taking the issue on.  The proposed language from 2003 has been forwarded to her office for consideration.  There has been quite a bit of discussion about the place for motorcycles in Seattle’s transportation plan, so perhaps the time is more opportune.

Last year a bill was passed setting up “hot lane” tolling of the HOV lanes on 405 that did not exempt motorcycles or car pools from the toll.  We were advised by the people at DOT to bring our concerns to the legislature.  Even the tolling commission understands that there remains a herculean amount of work to be done prior to any sort of implementation.  We need to get language passed that prevents motorcycles from being tolled or excluded from any HOV lane.

Finally, we come to the conversational issue:

2013 may be the right time to try to get some sort of “filtering” bill passed.  The issue is always at the forefront amongst many riders, so we need to use the 2102 session as a venue to begin the education of our legislators.  Now is the time to start getting more involved if this is your issue of choice.

When we get into the session there will come a time when a mass calling to the members of the legislature is necessary, so get ready.  If you don’t know yet who your reps are, drop and give me 20, take 15 laps of the outfield, then hit this link.  (Poke the button)

Until then, Ride safely and legislate well,

“Texas” Larry

Government Relations and Junior Blogger

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