Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With about a month left in the legislative session, my seatmates and I want to give you the opportunity to discuss any of the legislative or state issues before us this session. Sen. Nikki Torres, R-Pasco, Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, and I are holding a virtual town hall on Wednesday. I hope you can join us for the one-hour event. Click here to register. More details are below.
What: 15th Legislative District Virtual Town Hall
When: Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: Virtual. Register for the Zoom-hosted event here: https://tinyurl.com/2bmm6t8b
I encourage you to register as soon as you can as the event is limited. You can also submit a question in advance for your lawmakers during the registration process. If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to contact my office. We look forward to visiting with you.
House cutoff reached
We passed the house of origin cutoff on March 8. That meant many late nights and long hours as we debated and voted on bills sent over to the Senate. There were some successes, but many disappointments as well. I breakdown the good and bad in this email update. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Vehicle pursuit legislation
The vehicle pursuit issue continues to get a lot of attention as House Republicans tried to bring House Bill 1363, bipartisan legislation concerning law enforcement vehicular pursuits, to the floor for a vote. Despite the 40 co-sponsors, 20 from each party in the House, the motion was defeated on party lines. This is frustrating, disappointing and maddening. To read my statement on our motion, click here.
This issue hits very close to home, as right here in the 15th District a couple of weeks ago, two young children lost their lives because of our state pursuit law.
I showed the news article to House Speaker Laurie Jinkins hoping it would help move the bill along. While she acknowledged it was tragic, it didn’t make any difference. That is one of the reasons for our motion.
To keep the issue moving, the Senate did what House Republicans had attempted to do. They brought their version of the bill, Senate Bill 5352, to the floor for debate and a vote. I commend the Senate Democrats who voted with Republicans to suspend the rules and bring it to the floor.
While the bill is significantly watered down to what many of us would prefer, it does keep the issue alive and provides us an opportunity to still amend the measure and get it through the Legislature. For more on this issue:
- Police pursuit bill faces tough path ahead in Legislature (Yakima Herald-Republic)
- Editorial: For community safety, state House must pass new police-pursuit law (The Seattle Times)
Good Republican bills I have co-sponsored
There were some positives that came out of the House floor action. Some bills I have signed on as a cosponsor are now in the Senate.
- House Bill 1019 would create the Pesticide Advisory Board. The board that advised the Washington State Department of Agriculture on pesticide-related actions was eliminated in 2010.
- House Bill 1573 would extend tax preferences for dairy, fruit, vegetable, and seafood processors.
- House Bill 1013 would establish regional apprenticeship programs.
- House Bill 1044 would provide capital financial assistance to small school districts with demonstrated funding challenges.
Bad bills we stopped
We did have some success is stopping legislation that was very concerning and would have had negative impacts on the citizens of Washington. Bills we killed included:
- House Bill 1333 which would have created a controversial Domestic Violent Extremism Commission;
- House Bill 1388 which would have put rent control in place;
- House Bill 1025 which would have allowed police officers to be sued for doing their job; and
- House Bill 1670 which would have allowed cities and counties to triple their annual increases in property taxes.
Bad bills still alive
The majority party was successful in getting legislation out of the House that is very concerning. Two bills threaten our Second Amendment rights and I would even question the constitutionality of one of them. Both bills would punish law-abiding citizens and would do nothing to decrease crime. The other bills I mention below, prioritize criminals over victims. That is wrong and must be rectified.
- House Bill 1143 would create new requirements for the purchase or transfer of a firearm, effectively a “purchase permit;
- House Bill 1240 would create a so-called assault weapon ban;
- House Bill 1189 would release incarcerated individuals from total confinement prior to the expiration of a sentence.
- House Bill 1268 would reduce criminal sentences by eliminating or modifying some sentencing enhancements; and
- House Bill 1169 would eliminate criminals from having to pay a penalty to fund services for crime victims and their families, effectively shifting these costs to taxpayers and letting criminals off the financial hook.
Again, this legislation looks to punish our law-abiding citizens, while making things easier on those who have committed crimes.
Grant writers for rural counties
I passed my first bill out of the state House of Representatives. House Bill 1783 would require the Department of Commerce (DOC) to establish a grant program to support associate development organizations (ADO) in the recruiting, hiring, and retention of full-time grant writers.
Grant writers are not easy to find, especially in the rural areas of our state. We want to make sure DOC has the resources available to assist those rural areas with their grant writing and bring more economic development to those areas.
You can read my news release here.
Following the Legislature
There are a number of ways you can follow what is happening in Olympia. I encourage you to do so. It is important for me to hear from you so I can represent you effectively.
Here are some websites and links that will help you stay engaged this legislative session.
- My legislative website | Here you can find contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, radio appearances, and much more.
- The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
- Capitol Buzz – Daily news clips | Daily news clips.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans.
- TVW | The state’s own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- Legislature’s website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
Please do hesitate to contact with any questions, concerns or comments. Your input is important to me.
It is an honor to serve the great 15th District!