Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you are well and safe, and staying positive during this ongoing governor-ordered shutdown. This has been a trying time for our entire state. My prayers are with you and I continue to work on your behalf in the Legislature to bring real solutions to our state's most pressing problems.
This session has been very different than any other we've ever experienced. It's my greatest desire to be in Olympia meeting with you in-person and conducting the business of the people I represent in a fair and proper manner. However, by unconstitutional “temporary” House rules, we are confined to a remote session until the majority party says otherwise.
Speaking of session, it's hard to believe, but we have already reached the policy cut-off point, meaning today is the deadline for bills to pass out of committee in their house of origin, except for fiscal committees. If you'd like to see a video about how our Capitol calendar works, click on the image below.
So far, lawmakers in the House have introduced nearly 550 bills and passed 35. That means we still have numerous bills to vote on, including new operating, transportation, and capital budgets.
We also have several controversial bills from the majority party to consider that would be bad for Washington state, including a capital gains tax, a low-carbon fuel standard and cap and trade proposals, and another gas tax increase or road user charge that leverages GPS tracking of your vehicle. These are all bad bills that we will work to fix or stop. However, they aren't the only bills we need to worry about.
- Defunding Police – We've seen another very concerning trend this session, as the majority party has introduced a litany of bills being pushed by Seattle area legislators to defund our police force and water down their ability to protect our communities and families. We knew that some of these bills were coming, but the sheer volume and animosity expressed in these bills toward our first responders is unprecedented. This is one of the reasons Republican leadership and I chose to move me to the Public Safety Committee this session. It was part of our caucus's strategy to help protect our community against this leftist, Antifa push. As your state representative, I will always honor and respect those who serve and protect our communities and oppose all efforts to defund the police. We will continue to work to keep our streets, neighborhoods, and families safe, with a focus on compassion, enforcement, and accountability.
- Revenue and Taxes – The majority party has already introduced several pieces of legislation that will raise your taxes. Additional taxes are never good, but there couldn't be a worse time than now, when we are still trying to recover from 2020 and this governor-ordered shutdown. The Legislature doesn't need to make major cuts to programs and services, and we definitely don't need to increase taxes. We have enough money to pay for essential state services. The Legislature can create an operating budget that provides relief for COVID-19, funds important services, and does not require any new taxes – let alone taxing those hurting the most. House Republicans will show how this can be done when we unveil our operating budget proposal. We are doing everything in our power to stop these bad proposals.
- Legislative Authority – Another major issue we've faced this session is limiting the governor's power during a declared government emergency. Unfortunately, the majority party introduced a purely partisan resolution, rushed it through with little transparency and NO PUBLIC comment, and then voted to relinquish some if it's legislative power by passing Senate Concurrent Resolution 8402. Giving away legislative authority and allowing the governor to act alone is not only bad policy, but it also prevents the people from being heard. The Legislature should never give the executive branch of the government the freedom to rule unchecked.
- Behavioral Health
House Bill 1296 – would allow health or social welfare organizations to take a B&O tax deduction on amounts received as compensation for providing mental health services or substance use disorder treatment services under a government-funded program. This bill was unanimously passed out of the House Finance Committee and now waits for a vote from the full House.
- Veteran Support
House Bill 1314 – would require a facility to inquire about a person's veteran status after arrival in a behavioral health facility and coordinate with Veterans Health Administration facilities if the person is a veteran or eligible for veteran's services. It also unanimously passed, out of the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, and now awaits a vote in the House.
- Protecting Police
House Bill 1394 – would increase felony penalties for discharging a laser knowingly and maliciously at a person and causing any form of visual harm to one or both eyes. It would also establish sentencing enhancements for committing the offense against law enforcement officers acting in the course of their duties.
Thank You and Please Stay in Touch
Lastly, I want to say thank you for your support as I work to represent you in the Legislature. Please continue to reach out to share your ideas and input. You can contact me via email, phone, or virtually over Zoom. And, of course, I'm always available for an in-person meeting in district. I look forward to meeting with you again in person.
In strength and honor,