Appleton leads local legislative pack in sponsorships

With the current Washington state legislative session entering its dog days of budget cutting and heated debates about what programs and areas should be trimmed, pared or possibly gutted, the six state representatives from Kitsap County will be doing their best to make sure their constituents’ wishes are given a fair shake.

Kitsap County includes parts of the 23rd Legislative District to the north, 26th District to the east and the 35th District toward the south, which gives it six members of the state House.

Of those six, 23rd District Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) managed to be the primary sponsor of 36 bills and secondarily sponsored another 158, bringing her combined total to 194 bills this session.

Fellow 23rd District state Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) put forth 18 bills of her own and co-sponsored another 109 bills, putting her as the third most active delegate from Kitsap County behind Appleton and 26th District state Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor), who was the prime sponsor of 22 bills and signed on to another 92, giving him a final tally of 114.

The 35th District Reps. Kathy Haigh (D-Belfair) and freshman state Rep. Fred Finn (D-Shelton) were either the prime sponsor or a secondary sponsor on a combined 121 bills; while the lone Republican legislator from Kitsap County, 26th District Rep. Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard) was the prime sponsor of four pieces of legislation and a secondary sponsor of 55.

Although Angel represents the minority party, she received support from the entire Kitsap County delegation for House Bill 1834, which would have required the electronic monitoring of all registered sex offenders who are classified as risk level III, have registered as homeless or transient; or have a prior conviction for failing to register as a sex offender.

The bill was referred to the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee chaired by 31st District state Rep. Christopher Hurst, but never made it out of the committee.

All of the county’s legislators also supported bills concerning ferry system accountability and other legislation aimed at improving the state’s much-maligned water transportation system.

All of Kitsap’s Democratic representatives co-sponsored a bill that would expand the rights and responsibilities of state registered domestic partners in HB 1727, while Angel did not.

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