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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Lawmakers Propose The Darndest Things


In the Washington state Legislature this year, there's a proposal to recognize the national day of the cowboy and a requirement that yellow traffic lights last four seconds at intersections with red light cameras.

It’s the end of week two of Washington’s legislative session. Already more than 1,200 bills have been introduced -- and many of them will make your eyes glaze over.

But a few of them really popped out.

Remember Art Linkletter’s “Kids say the darndest things?” Some of the legislation in Olympia might make you say “Lawmakers introduce the darndest bills.”

There’s the bill that would make it illegal for flower shops to misrepresent their location. And from a group of eastern Washington lawmakers who have to trek back and forth across the state: a proposal to boost the speed limit on Interstate 90 to 75 mph in rural counties.

Finally remember those signs advertising free coffee at rest stops? There’s a bill to require the Washington Department of Transportation to restore those signs -- something the department says it’s already doing even without a law telling it to do so.

So what are the odds of actually getting a bill passed into law? In recent years, just 15 to 17 percent make it through the sausage-making process.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."