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WA Dems signal passage for three initiatives getting hearings next week

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(The Center Square) – Washington state Democrats have signaled a willingness to pass three initiatives to the Legislature scheduled for public hearings next week.

The three measures getting public hearings are Initiative 2081 to establish a parental bill of rights relating to their children’s public school education, Initiative 2111 to prohibit state and local governments from enacting a personal income tax, and Initiative 2113 to remove certain restrictions on when police officers may engage in vehicular pursuits.

I-2111 will receive a hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. I-2081 will receive a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 8 am. to 9 a.m. I-2113 will receive a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“I expect all three initiatives that are having hearings to end up passing this session,” Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, told The Center Square Thursday.

Mullet is a member of the House Education Committee that will consider I-2081.

Mullet, a father of six whose wife is an elementary teacher, says he is a yes vote on the measure.

Asked about the other two initiatives to get hearings, Mullet said, “As for police pursuits, I’ve been trying to get something passed here for years, and I was actually thrilled to see the initiative.”

He concluded, “We should have done this two years ago.”

Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, chairs the Senate Education Committee.

She spoke to The Center Square in between voting on multiple bills on the Senate floor, saying she is likely to support I-2081.

“I think I’m okay with the initiative, but I haven’t seen anything that isn’t already in state law,” Wellman said, referencing a publication, “K-12 Parents’ Bill of Rights,” produced by her office.

As of Thursday afternoon at 3pm, there were 769 people who had signed up to offer written testimony or request to testify on I-2081. More than 97.7% of those signed up were listed as being in favor of the initiative.

Mullet said he also expects enough Democrats will end up supporting I-2111, the Income Tax measure, to get the Initiative passed.

I-2113 is also likely to pass out of the Legislature, some Democratic lawmakers said. That is the measure to remove some restrictions on police pursuits.

The three measures not getting public hearings are Initiative 2109 to repeal the capital gains tax, Initiative 2117 to repeal the Climate Commitment Act, and Initiative 2124 to allow more people to opt out of the state’s long-term care program.