Sample legislation written by students of Snohomish County
DUI Offender Act of 2013, by Aaron Johnson and Christian Storwick. Increases the monetary penalty for DUI offenders by implementing a 60 day vehicle impoundment for any DUI offender with a blood alcohol lever of .12 or higher.
Genetically Modified Foods Act of 2012, by Whitney Keithly and Stephanie Van Lom. All foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients would have disclosures on the packaging. Without labeling, consumers can unknowingly violate their dietary and religious beliefs.
Influence of Texting Act of 2012, by Shannon Harris and Grifynn Clay. Increases the penalty for texting while driving to a gross misdemeanor, similar to a DUI, as the reaction time while texting is twice as long compared to driving drunk.
Puget Sound Gillnet Ban Act of 2012, by Marc Hensley and Timothy Danner. Bans gillnets in the Puget Sound since an estimated 3000 abandoned gillnets in the Puget Sound cause danger to divers and kill thousands of marine life.
Equine Slaughter Act of 2012, by Michael Davis and Kevin Moore. Legalizes slaughter houses that produce horsemeat for animal and human consumption, with a goal of providing a humane solution for putting down horses and reducing the amount of animal neglect and cruelty.
Financial Aid Act of 2012, by Daniel Thorp, Robert Pummell, and Neal Doran. Promotes civic duty among young people by rewarding participation in elections with financial aid for higher education. Participation in general elections among those 18-22 years olds is very low -- 19.1% in 2011 -- and this bill would require students to vote in order to receive financial aid.
Student Workers Act of 2012, by Austin Campbell, Gene Shin, and Stephen Michel. High school students over the age of 18 would be treated as minors under workplace laws, as students that work over 20 hours per week are more likely to engage in substance abuse and have lower academic performance. The goal is higher graduation rates and better employability after graduation.
Pesticide Awareness Act of 2012, by Jalyn Buckly and Jordan Cobun. Requires all produce treated with pesticides be labeled as such.
Firearm Safety Act of 2012, by Katelyn Duim, Darian Caldwell, and Alexander Baier. Requires a firearm safety course before the purchase of a firearm, to decrease the number of accidental shootings in the state and create additional revenue.
Professional Athlete Fee, by Brandon Minogue, Connor Nutt, and Kyle Ferguson. Requires out of state athletes that use facilities within Washington to pay a $2500 fee with an annual maximum of $7500 per athlete, creating a new source of revenue for Washington State.
HSPE Replacement Act of 2012, by Conner Brennick, Gabe Reichenberger, and Brady Carpenter. Replaces the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) with End-of-Course Exams. The HSPE costs over $45 million to administer and End-of-Course Exams can save the state money and help students meet competency standards.
Studded Tire Taxation of 2013, by Austin Truitt, Dylan Cooper, and Thor Hendrickson. Creates a $25 tax on studded tires to offset the road repair costs for damage caused by studded tires.
OLYMPIA--For years, students from Snohomish High School have woken up early to ride buses down to the state capitol. They don’t go to hear speeches or watch hearings.
They go trying to change state law.
“These students put a lot of time and effort into their proposals,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish), who spent much of his day meeting with the students. “Learning from a book is one thing. These students are learning about our democracy the best possible way: by participating in it.”
Students of teacher Tuck Gionet spent the day canvassing the House and Senate, meeting with lawmakers to pitch their ideas for bills.
But this isn’t a one-day project. Students spend months learning about how laws are made, and then spent more time crafting their proposals.
Before the 2012 session began, Dunshee spoke to the students at Tuck Gionet’s classroom in Snohomish High School. He gave them insights and tips about the legislative process.
On Thursday, he saw the results.
The students presented him with their bills, which ranged from requiring the completion of a firearm safety course before a gun purchase to increasing the penalty for texting while driving. (Please see sidebar on the students’ proposed legislation.)
Dunshee advised them on how to best to fine tune and present their bills to other lawmakers.
“It is always great to hear ideas from students” said Representative Dunshee. “For a teenager to spend their entire day trying to persuade lawmakers to support their idea is not an easy task. We have got a great group of future legislators in Snohomish County.”
A few years ago, one group of students did achieve the ultimate goal – their idea became law.
A group of students came to Dunshee with a proposal based on the death of a fellow student who had been killed in a low-speed car accident when an unsecured speaker crushed her. In response, Dunshee sponsored Courtney’s Law, which passed through both chambers and was signed by the Governor.
“It was very hard on these students that one five-cent bolt could have saved their friend’s life,” said Dunshee. “Their commitment to honoring their friend has resulted in change that could save the life of another and I am proud to have been a part of it.”