House committees hold public hearings on three Mosbrucker bills

Public hearings were held Monday afternoon in three separate committees on three bills authored by 14th District Rep. Gina Mosbrucker.

House Bill 2792, also known as “Cody's Law,” is being considered by the House Public Safety Committee. Named after 26-year-old Cody Turner, who has been missing from his Yakima home since July 2015, the measure would require law enforcement, county coroners/medical examiners in the state to submit a missing persons case and, if possible, DNA samples to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) within 60 days of the report.

“There are more than 1,900 missing persons cases and 172 unidentified remains in Washington state. NamUS is a national database where families can submit DNA of themselves and their loved ones for a possible match to the DNA of a missing person or unidentified remains,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale. “This legislation could help to solve these cases and, hopefully, bring closure to the families.”

The committee is scheduled to take action on the bill Thursday, Feb. 6.

Down the hallway, the House Environment and Energy Committee opened a public hearing on House Bill 2819. This measure would designate the proposed Goldendale Pumped Storage Project as a “Project of Statewide Significance.”

The proposal involves construction of a hydropower project eight miles south of Goldendale at the former aluminum smelter along the Columbia River. During periods of excess energy generated by wind and solar, water would be pumped from a lower reservoir near the river to an upper reservoir on the bluff about 2,400 feet above. When additional energy is needed, the water would be released through an underground pipeline that passes through three hydro turbine generators, allowing electricity to be produced to meet demand.

“This project is cutting edge. It would be one of the top in the country. We would create 1,200 megawatts of clean energy and power. The proposed project would be built using private dollars on private land with low, minimal environmental impact. And it would infuse more than $2 billion into Washington's economy and provide 3,000 jobs over the next four years,” Mosbrucker told the committee. “We see this as an incredible project that would benefit the state of Washington and our people in the rural part of the state who have struggled with low employment.”

Projects given the status of “statewide significance” are able to receive expedited permitting by local government jurisdictions in partnership with the Governor's Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance. The committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday, Feb. 4.

In another room, the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee took testimony on a third Mosbrucker bill clarifying the law regarding franchisors. House Bill 1757 provides that a franchisor is not the employer of a franchisee or its employees under workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, minimum wage and other employment laws.

“If we purchase a Starbucks or Oil Can Henry's franchise, for example, we assume that is our business and as an entrepreneur, we can control the hiring and firing of our employees or make decisions regarding donations to groups. However, some of the rulings from Congress have blurred the lines of autonomy,” noted Mosbrucker. “This bill seeks to protect the franchise model within the state of Washington. As many as 18 states have adopted similar laws. We're simplifying the test of who is the actual employer.”

Friday, Feb. 7, is the final day for policy bills to be reported from respective committees in their house of origin. Bills that have not passed those committees by that deadline may be considered “dead” for the year. Legislation necessary to implement the budget is exempt from the cutoff dates.

The legislative session began Jan. 13 and is scheduled to end March 12.


Washington State House Republican Communications