2008 brings some new and welcoming lawsBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Dialing a phone is not considered texting, but reading a text-message is no different under this law than typing and sending one, which simply means you can be fined for reading your messages as well.
Not every driver is bound by this new law, emergency vehicle drivers, and transit drivers are exempt from being fined.
Also, using your cell phone to text-message an illegal commotion or to text-message for an emergency vehicle or help will be exempt from the new law as well.
A measure which was passed in the last legislative session and goes hand-in-hand with the text-messaging law goes into effect July 1, 2008.
This law requires individuals operating a vehicle to use a hands-free headset if they want to talk on their cell phones while driving.
Another new law which is helpful and has been a long awaited welcome for many young voters and web savvy citizens has been dubbed motor-voter.
This will allow Washington state residents who have a Washington state driver’s license or state ID to register to vote online.
The statewide voter database has been online since last year, and is connected to the Washington Department of License (WDOL).
The WDOL keeps records of signatures, photos and addresses of all registered driver’s in Washington making it the most likely and best way to verify Washington state residents and their eligibility to vote.
People of voting age who apply for a driver’s license can register to vote under the federal motor-voter law.
The motor-voter website registration went live on Jan. 7, 2008 and can be found at: http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections.
Perhaps the most significant change for 2008 thus far and especially for young people and minimum wage earners is the minimum wage has increased 14 cents to $8.07 per hour making it one of the highest in the nation.
Each year since voters in 1998 approved Initiative 688, it is required that the Department of Labor and Industries evaluate and recalculate the state’s minimum wage every September.