Lower minimum wage bill dies in committee

Several bills dealing with the state's minimum wage, including one that would have lowered the minimum wage for workers who get tips, died in committee Tuesday.

The bills died because they failed to come up for a House committee vote ahead of a Legislature-imposed deadline for bills to advance.

HB 2497:

A group of Republican legislators sponsored this bill which would have loweedr the minimum wage for workers who receive tips from $9.04 per hour to as low as $7.25 per hour. Sponsor say that tips would have to at least make up the difference between the lowered minimum wage and the new one, so that all workers still make at least $9.04 per hour including tips. The bill was aimed at lowering costs for restaurant owners.

SB 6185:

The Senate Health Care Committee passed the Reproductive Parity Act (SB 6185) on Monday. The legislation requires that all health insurance policies that provide maternity care coverage also provide abortion care coverage.

The companion House bill (HB 2330) was passed by committee on Jan. 26.

SB 6239

The House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 2516 by a 7-6 vote on Monday. The bill would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.

On Wednesday, the bill's counterpart, SB 6239, will be voted on by the Senate, where it is expected to pass. Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island), announced last week that she would support the bill, giving it the 25 votes it needed.

Gov. Christine Gregoire has also indicated her support for same-sex marriage. It is likely that if it is (as expected) signed into law by the Governor, same-sex marriage will be petitioned and appear as a referendum on the general ballot in November. 

Here are a few other pieces of legislation introduced this week in Olympia:

SB 6150:

This bill, proposed by Haugen, would permit the Department of Licensing to use a facial recognition matching system on all forms of state identification, including driver's licenses, permits, and identicards. The facial recognition system is meant to help prevent identify theft by tracking a person's features mathematically and entering them into a database so they can be cross-matched in the future. Such programs are used in 31 states.

SB 5697

This bill would require that all guns distributed to law enforcement officers be equipped with "a firearms safety device or gun safe" appropriate to the weapon, and that all safes and safety devices meet minimal standards as determined by the attorney general and then tested in a certified laboratory. It is sponsored by Sen. James Hargrove (D) and Sen. Mark Schoesler (R).