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Numerous new state laws now in effect

The New Year is the time for new beginnings and 2014 is no exception, with several laws and parts of laws going into effect as of Jan. 1 in Washington state.

Many of the laws involve technical changes or minor adjustments to existing laws, but some will be more noticeable than others.

Especially to fans of the Seattle Seahawks or Seattle Sounders FC, who will be able to purchase special team license plates. SSB 5152 allows the state department of licensing to sell the two new special plates with profits going to charity.

Funds from the sale of Seahawks plates will go to InvestED, an organization devoted to keeping disadvantaged students in school. Funds from the Sounders plates will be used to provide mentoring grants to foster positive youth development. Up to 30 percent of the Sounders funds will also go to a veterans group.

Another law (ESHB 1552) involves the licensing of scrap metal dealers. The new requirement is part of a more comprehensive law trying to combat scrap metal theft. While most of the law went into effect last July, the requirement for all scrap metal dealers in the state to be licensed and bonded was delayed until the start of this year.

SSB 5021 and SSB 5022 both make minor changes to the language of existing laws. The first defines rioting to be criminal mischief and the second changes the word “extenuating” to “special” in regards to retail theft in order to fix a grammatical error in the law.

SSB 5182 affects requests from businesses for information about vehicle ownership. A request for information about a vehicle owner will now cost $2. Another change is that while the agency providing information about the owner of a vehicle is still required to notify the vehicle owner if the requesting party is an attorney or private investigator, the agency can no longer provide the vehicle owner with the address of the attorney or private investigator.

Thanks to SSB 5256, coroners and medical examiners also have a little more leeway in publicly discussing deaths where the actions of a law enforcement or corrections officer have been determined to be a proximate cause of the death, except in cases of active investigations.

SSB 5568 prevents businesses that do background checks on potential tenants from disclosing to the potential landlord if the tenant is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

SB 5627 streamlines the collection of taxes from small commuter air carriers.

ESB 5699 tweaks the state law on recycling of electronics to make sure the state’s program is paid for by the manufacturers.

HB 1903 creates an exception for small employers from paying for some unemployment benefits while employing a claimant part-time.

SHB 2069 takes advantage of expanded Medicaid funding provided by the Affordable Care Act to streamline eligibility for certain services, including the medical care services program, the aged, blind or disabled assistance program and the essential needs and housing support program.

SHB 1093 requires more stringent reporting of lobbying using public funds.

ESSHB 1445 aims to protect people with complex medical needs by promoting access to technology that can assist such people, including wheelchairs and seating systems with the capacity to assist in basic activities of daily living that are medically necessary to prevent hospitalization or institutionalization.

HB 1003 prevents people who have been found guilty of abuse of a child or vulnerable adult from practicing medicine.

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