By Michael Sarko
– The Capitol Hill Times -
‘Tis the season for new legislation. Locally, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell introduced a new measure at City Hall that would place limits on the Seattle Police Department’s use of surveillance drones. Harrell has expressed concern for privacy with the unchecked use of drones by the SPD. His measure would require the police to obtain a warrant for all drone activity, except in the case of training exercises or “exigent circumstances.”
City Council also sent a message to the Washington State Department of Transportation by adopting a resolution to include a bike/pedestrian trail in the controversial SR 520 bridge development. The proposed Portage Bay Trail would create a dedicated path for cyclists and pedestrians between Capitol Hill and Montlake. WSDOT has been reluctant to include the trail in its plans so far.
On the statewide level, the Washington Senate has passed two bills that overhaul the implementation of worker’s compensation benefits. SB 5127 and 5128 permit citizens to take their worker’s comp benefits in a single, lump payment if they are of a certain age. Under 5128, an individual must be 55 or older to take the lump sum instead of a long-term, structured payment plan. 5127 lowers the minimum lump sum age to 40 and allows people to be represented by an attorney during worker’s comp proceedings. The bills also remove some medical benefits from compensation packages.