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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."

Distracted Driving, Net Pens On Agenda For Washington 'Committee Days'

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Washington lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week for “Committee Days” in advance of next January’s regular legislative session. Distracted driving and salmon net pens will be on the agenda.

Lawmakers will get an update on Washington’s new distracted driving law, which has been in effect since July. The law prohibits drivers from holding and operating their phones and other devices—even while stopped at a traffic light.

There will also be a review of last summer’s collapse of a net pen near holding more than 150,000 farmed Atlantic salmon.

Other topics on the agenda for committee days include, the rising cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, cybersecurity for smartphones and the impact of Canadian milk pricing policies on U.S. farmers.

Lawmakers will also get a briefing on the implementation of a new law that requires gun dealers to report when someone tries to buy a gun and fails a background check.

Washington's 2018 legislative session will convene January 8.

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."