GAC Goes to Olympia!
On Monday, January 19th, (Martin Luther King Holiday), the GAC trekked to Olympia to meet our lawmakers and to discuss upcoming legislation for the 1998 Session. The trip was made possible by a donation from Amy Carlson, who posted the winning bid at last year's NowBike Auction for a day with NowBike lobbyist Michael Temple, who works in Olympia to advance the cause of bicycle transportation and safety.
We arrived at 8:30, and after a quick breakfast of lattes and croissants (hey, we're from Seattle, you know!), we hiked up to the Capitol building, where we met Michael and got the day's agenda.
A group of us first met with Sen. Eugene Prince, who is the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, to talk about the upcoming Bicycle Safety Bill and about Transportation Funding in general. While that meeting was going on, others met with Sen. Ken Jacobsen, also on the Senate Transportation Committee. Later, we met with members of the House Transportation Committee - Dow Constantine of West Seattle, as well as a staffer from Rep. Ed Murray's office, and Murray Seis of the Governor's office.
Our topics of concern included the Bicycle Safety Bill, which would provide for bicycle safety education in schools, and increase the visibility requirements for rear reflectors, and would require vechicle drivers involved in accidents in which there is a severe injury or death to be retested. Also on the docket for this year: A bill which would mandate bicycle helmet usage Statewide; a bill to regulate bicycle racing on State roads, and a bill which would allow local property owners to sue to close down rail-trails. In addition to all this, we also talked to our legislators about the need for continued State funding for non-motorized projects through funds available from the Federal Transportation Bill ("ISTEA").
After a wonderful lunch at the Budd Bay CafÈ, we returned to the Capitol for Martin Luther King Day speeches. Several of us stopped by our own legislators' offices to leave personal notes before carpooling back to Seattle. All in all, it was a very successful and informative day.