Washington's New Nationwide Legal guidelines, Efficient July 25th, Overlaying Public Security, Faculties, Taxes and Extra | northwest

OLYMPIA – Major new policies in Washington affecting drug penalties, climate change, taxes and other issues will go into effect on Sunday, July 25th.

The state legislature passed more than 300 bills in the last session. Most of the bills will come into force on Sunday, 90 days since the adjournment.

Lawmakers came to the session with lofty goals: responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, helping with economic recovery, reforming the police force, tackling a changing climate and more. The Democrats went with big wins and passed many long-awaited bills dealing with climate change, taxes and justice.

The $ 59.2 billion biennial budget is set to help the state recover from the pandemic, help schools reopen, expand public health services, and improve the state's forest fire fighting skills.

Here's a look at some of the changes to state law:

Possession of a controlled substance is now considered a simple misdemeanor and not a criminal offense. That means possession can now be punished with up to 90 days behind bars, a $ 1,000 fine, or both.

The first two offenses would redirect those in possession of drugs to treatment rather than jail.

The change went into effect July 1, but additional funding for community-based recovery programs will be made available on July 25.

The change followed a ruling by the state's Supreme Court ruling unconstitutional under the state's Drug Possession Act, which at the time was punishable by five years in prison or a fine of up to $ 10,000.

The new law leaves open the possibility that the penalty for offenses could be abolished in 2023. Legislators will set up a committee to review the state's drug laws over the next two years to find a long-term solution.

If a solution is not implemented by 2023, the state would suspend all simple drug possession proceedings.

Two of the largest bills to tackle climate change were passed by lawmakers at this session, although none of the bills will take effect immediately.

The cap-and-trade program sets an upper limit for carbon and greenhouse gas emissions from 2023. The state's biggest polluters would have to clean up to hit the cap or buy allowances from the state.

The state would receive the income from these certificates to improve the environment and to invest in programs that help people disproportionately affected by climate change.

The clean fuel standard would require that fuels used in state transportation, such as cars, trucks, boats, trains, and planes, become cleaner over time. Starting in 2023, polluters will have to reduce their emissions a little each year to meet the nationwide target of emissions being 20% ​​below 2017 levels by 2038.

Another new law aimed at creating a cleaner environment would require the state to better prepare for a future of zero-emission transport.

It requires the Ministry of Transport to develop a publicly available tool to track the charging and refueling infrastructure for electric vehicles. It requires the State Building Code Council to put in place rules by July 1, 2024 that require living spaces to have the ability to charge electric vehicles.

After a delay of more than a year, the state ban on plastic bags will come into effect shortly before October 1st.

In 2020, lawmakers passed a bill setting a nationwide ban on non-compostable, single-use plastic bags. But when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out more than a year ago, Governor Jay Inslee suspended the ban.

Inslees updated proclamation waivers, which pause at 11:59 p.m. September 30th, which means that the plastic bag ban will come into effect.

Buyers who wish to use single-use plastic bags or reusable bags that do not meet the requirements for recycled content will be charged 8 cents per bag.

According to the law, a recycled paper bag must contain at least 40% recycled material. A reusable tote bag must hold at least 22 pounds and be durable in order to be washed and sanitized.

One of the session's most controversial bills will technically go into effect on Sunday, but capital gains tax funds won't flow into the state until 2023, at earliest.

The law introduces a 7% tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, some properties, businesses, and other investments when profits exceed $ 250,000 annually. The tax will be levied on sales after January 1, 2022.

The law is negotiated by the courts, with two lawsuits claiming the tax as unconstitutional. The lawsuits were grouped into one case earlier this month.

Funding forest fires and disaster relief

The state will provide $ 125 million to the Department of Natural Resources to help fight forest fires, forest health, and fire prevention in the community.

The funds will arrive in late July, but as the fires continue to burn across the state, public land commissioner Hilary Franz said the funds were too late for this season.

The $ 150 million will fund 100 more firefighters, two planes, and the state's Forest Health Strategic Plan.

that treats the state's forests to make them more resistant to forest fires.

With the state facing a drought, Franz said the department has secured fixed-term contracts for additional aircraft until the new funds can be obtained.

Anyone who has suffered property damage from natural disasters such as forest fires can apply for a tax exemption for the renovation of single-family homes.

Starting with taxes levied from 2022, physical improvements to a property damaged by a natural disaster will be exempt from property tax for three years after the product is completed.

To qualify, the property must be in a governor-declared disaster area and must be more than 20% in value due to the disaster that occurred on or after August 31, 2020.

The person seeking the exemption must have owned the property at the time of the depreciation.

A taxpayer must file an application with the district assessor before starting construction on the improvement. If the property owner started construction before July 25th of this year, they can apply for the exemption until October 1st.

A significant portion of federal and state funds will be used to help schools reopen and to cope with the learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of this will fund new educational technologies and equipment, as well as improved broadband connectivity for students. It will also help schools make up for a loss in enrollment and transportation.

Schools with high levels of poverty will receive additional funding for career counselors for each school level from the school year 2022/23.

Along with new funding, some school districts may need to change their logos or mascots.

Those who use Native American names, symbols, or images have time to change by the end of this year.

As of January 1, 2022, schools will no longer be allowed to use indigenous names, symbols, or images unless the school is on or adjacent to tribal land and works with the tribe to use the name respectfully.

Two Spokane schools – North Central High School and Garry Middle School – have already switched mascots.

The biggest change in public health will be the additional resources allocated to basic public services.

The state's two-year budget includes $ 147 million nationwide for public health services – a significant increase over previous years. These funds will likely go to local health authorities.

Additionally, the local health district authorities may look a little different. Districts have until July 2022 to change the composition of their boards to include an equal number of unelected and elected members.

The unelected members must include an equal number from three categories:

  • Individuals with experience in public health or healthcare, such as doctors, nurses, or health workers;
  • Public health consumers, such as community residents facing health inequalities;
  • Or other interest groups, such as community-based organizations or business representatives.

If the county includes tribal land, the board must include a tribal representative.

A significant amount of federal funds will be allocated to the Ministry of Health to support the fight against COVID-19, such as increased vaccinations and data collection.

With the new laws going into effect, the state has a permanent universal health commission that will work on introducing benefit packages and reimbursement rates. The Commission's primary focus, according to the Alliance for a Healthy Washington, will be to support the state's transition to a universally funded health system.

The way authorities interact with the public is changing.

Officials are no longer allowed to use choke holds, neck rests and arrest warrants. Certain types of military equipment, including machine guns, armed helicopters, and tanks, will no longer be available to agencies.

The use of police dogs will be limited and a task force will meet to determine the best training and use of K-9. There are restrictions on car chases which are prohibited unless there is a probable reason or the pursuit is necessary to identify a person in the vehicle.

Tear gas is prohibited in public unrest unless law enforcement agencies have the approval of the highest elected official in the jurisdiction. For the city police it would be the mayor and for the Washington State Patrol it would be the governor. An officer then has to announce the use of tear gas once before the operation.

Other new laws include establishing an independent task force to investigate police use of force, changing the requirements for certification and decertification of officers, and requiring officers to intervene if they discover excessive use of force by another officer.

Starting next week, the Federal Prosecutor's Office will set up an advisory group to develop and implement a nationwide violence data program. The State Auditor's Office will begin conducting compliance audits on investigations into fatal violent acts.

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