New Washington Laws: New rules take effect in areas ranging from firearms to pickleball to licensing fees
Laurel Demkovich / The Spokesperson Review
OLYMPIA — Changes to gun regulations, new transportation fees and a new state sport are among the changes Washington residents may soon see.
Some of the bills passed by the Legislature this session went into effect immediately after Governor Jay Inslee signed it, while others went into effect June 9, 90 days after the legislative session. But a number of others became law last week, July 1.
Here’s a look at a number of important bills that have come into effect over the past month:
As of July 1, the manufacture, distribution or sale of firearm magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds is illegal in Washington.
The new law effectively prohibits the manufacture, distribution and sale of rifle magazines and a number of pistols containing more than 10 bullets.
Possession is not prohibited in the bill.
A number of gun stores, including Sharp Shooting in Spokane, have reminded their customers that starting Friday they cannot sell magazines with more than 10 rounds. None can be transferred or sold after last Thursday.
Washington became the 10th state plus the District of Columbia to enact similar legislation.
Another firearms regulation that came into effect on Friday restricts the use of untraceable firearms or weapons made after July 1, 2019 that are not antiques and cannot be found by law enforcement. order using a serial number.
“Ghost guns” are often bought online in parts and assembled at home by the buyer.
It is prohibited to manufacture, assemble, sell or buy untraceable firearms. By March 10, 2023, knowingly or recklessly possessing these firearms is prohibited.
Hobbyists can continue to build firearms at home if they use parts with serial numbers.
Part of a new transportation spending bill, which will fund maintenance, public transit and a number of other projects across the state, went into effect Friday.
The 16-year, $17 billion transportation program will help fund a rapid bus line on Division Street in Spokane.
Different parts of the package will come into effect over time, but from Friday a number of new driver fees are in effect.
License plate fees for cars increase from $10 to $50 for original fee and $30 for replacement fee. For motorcycles, the fee increases from $4 to $20 for the original fee and $4 to $12 for the replacement.
The stolen vehicle check fee applicants pay when registering a car in Washington from another state has been increased from $15 to $50. It will increase again to $75 starting July 1, 2026.
The temporary dealer permit fee, which is a combination of title application and temporary registration used by dealers when delivering a vehicle not currently registered, has been increased from $15 to $40.
A number of other fees, including one that increases the fee for an enhanced driver’s license, will come into effect later this year.
School vacations and public holidays are now aligned after a new law came into force on Friday.
This means that all state-recognized holidays are now school holidays. An example is Juneteenth, which was just added to the holidays this year and will now be included for all public schools.
Since June 9, pickleball has been the official sport of Washington State.
The effort to make it the state sport passed with broad bipartisan support.
Pickleball was founded in Washington in 1965 and has grown in popularity across the country ever since.
The sport was added to a list of state symbols, including petrified wood as the state gem and blue wheatgrass as the state grass.
Student loan program
A plan to implement a state student loan program with loans at 1% interest rates went into effect on June 9.
The plan establishes a program of issuing student loans at 1% interest, with no loan fees and discharged in the event of total and permanent disability or death of the borrower.
Loan amounts will range from $3,000 to $12,000 for undergraduates and $5,000 to $10,000 for graduates.
The loans will be granted to students in financial need starting in the 2024-2025 school year.
A new law that expands the state’s definition of hazing and requires colleges to provide hazing training to students and employees took effect June 9.
The bill, called “Sam’s Law Act” after Washington State University freshman and fraternity pledge Sam Martinez, who died in 2019, was passed unanimously by the ‘Legislative Assembly.
It requires that the findings of misconduct investigations of groups of students be published online by colleges. National social fraternity and sorority organizations must post a list of hazing violations on their websites. If an organization initiates an investigation of a local, it must notify the college and provide its findings to the school.
Unionization of legislative staff
Legislative staff may soon begin the collective bargaining process after a law comes into force on June 9, but it could still take a few years.
Legislative staff are not covered by state civil service laws that grant certain state employees the right to unionize.
The act creates an Office of State Legislative Labor Relations, which is responsible for conducting labor negotiations for the legislature and reviewing frameworks for grievance and disciplinary procedures. The office must complete a study on the implementation of bargaining and submit it to the Legislative Assembly by October 1, 2023.
If the Legislative Assembly does not pass additional legislation outlining the bargaining process, staff members will automatically gain bargaining rights beginning May 1, 2024. The agreements would come into effect July 1, 2025.