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ENVIRONMENT: WASHINGTON Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signs SB 5802, which authorizes the hiring of an independent consultant to review the Evergreen State's efforts to cut carbon emissions and for an associated group of legislators and other leaders to use that evaluation to recommend actions to reduce pollution associated with climate change (SEATTLE TIMES).
ENERGY: The ALASKA House endorses HB 4, which would give the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation broad power to continue building a natural gas pipeline to carry gas from the North Slope to the south-central part of the state. The bill, which would exempt the AGDC from the state procurement code, judicial review, Regulatory Commission of Alaska tariff regulation, and state hiring requirements, moves to the Senate (ALASKA DISPATCH [ANCHORAGE]).
VA TRANSPORTATION PLAN SURVIVES VETO SESSION: In their veto session last week, Virginia lawmakers assented to Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) amendments to the $6 billion transportation funding plan raising the state sales tax to 5.3 percent and converting the per-gallon gas tax to a wholesale tax.
Among other things, the governor lowered the alternative fuel vehicle annual fee in the bill (HB 2313) from $100 to $64. He also changed the language in a regional tax provision for Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia in response to constitutional concerns raised by Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli.
Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, said Democrats completely backed the transportation plan, while most Republicans "grudgingly" supported it, and there hadn't been "enough noise" to overturn any of McDonnell's changes. (WASHINGTON TIMES, VIRGINIAN-PILOT [NORFOLK], STATE NET)
ALL CRABBED OUT: Lest you think that Old Line State lawmakers are preoccupied with frivolous things these days, take heart. As the Washington Examiner reports, the good folks there in the Senate spent time last week debating the merits of dubbing the soft-shell blue crab sandwich the official state sandwich. While one might logically presume that good old Maryland crab cakes might be more worthy of an "official" state designation, think again. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Richard Colburn, noted that the blue crab is already its official crustacean. Besides, he said, the crab meat in an authentic Maryland crab cake may actually come from as far away as Thailand. That buzzkill aside, Colburn's proposal has at least one fan in Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who urged lawmakers to vote for the measure in spite of its wanting to honor "probably the ugliest sandwich in the history of the world."
- Compiled by RICH EHISEN
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