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Inside Olympia — State Treasurer, Retiring Rep

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This week: in-depth interviews with State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti, and retiring State Rep. Jesse Johnson.

Treasurer Pellicciotti recently went back to Washington D.C. to press Congress to pass new banking laws that would help prevent robberies at cannabis stores. Under current laws, many cannabis shops operate cash only — making them a likely target for robbers. Pot shop robberies have averaged one a day this year, and have resulted in one death.

Pellcciotti also wants the state to provide “baby bonds” to children from low-income and marginalized communities. These are savings accounts granted to eligible children at birth, with the proceeds invested by the state, and the money used for higher education, entrepreneurship or home ownership with the kids become adults. Pellicciotti proposed a baby bonds bill this year — the bill did not pass, but language was included in the state budget that creates a committee to look at the issue and propose legislation for the 2023 legislative session.

State Rep. Jesse Johnson is stepping down for family reasons after three years in the state House of Representatives, years in which he played a key role in enacting changes to policing laws.

In the 2020 legislative session, Johnson was a leader in successful efforts to pass bills dealing with police use of force, police pursuits, and police use of military grade weapons.
Critics charge the bills have tied the hands of police, and in the 2021 session bills were approved that made changes to some of the policies approved in 2020.

Rep. Johnson said he’s stepping down for family reasons: his wife is attending medical school, and they have a 6-month old baby. But he said he remains interested in politics and public policy, and may run for elected office again in the future.