Morning Update:Session Day 53

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From the News Tribune:
House Republicans look nearly ready to roll out a set of proposed changes to the transportation system, which they had planned to outline earlier this week as a response to Democrats’ call for higher gas taxes. Republican bills introduced today would:

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama
Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama
  • Abolish a build-in-Washington requirement for state ferries. Introduced by Rep. Ed Orcutt of Kalama.
  • Require shorter, 15-year terms for transportation bonds. Introduced by Rep. Mark Hargrove of Covington.
  • Exempt future state transportation projects from paying sales tax. Introduced by Rep. Jason Overstreet of Lynden.
  • Require the Department of Transportation to report to the Legislature on engineering errors costing more than $500,000 — such as the recent problems with pontoons built for a new Route 520 bridge, or the misplaced ramp on the Nalley Valley Viaduct. Introduced by Rep. Steve O’Ban of Lakewood.
  • Give design responsibilities to contractors, rather than DOT, for all highway construction projects costing more than $5 million Introduced by O’Ban.

State lawmakers plan more floor sessions today, after approving legislation Wednesday dealing with schools, teachers and principals in the Senate and flame retardants in the House.

Lawmakers, agency heads and Gov. Jay Inslee will speak today to the state’s largest labor-union coalition, the Washington State Labor Council, at the group’s legislative conference.

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