Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Police reforms passed in the 2021 legislative session resulted in the tying of the hands of law enforcement and limiting their ability to protect us. As a result, crime has increased.
It took 92 days, but House Democrats finally brought police pursuit legislation to the floor for a vote late Monday night. It was the watered-down measure from the Senate — Senate Bill 5352. This bill is not strong enough to help keep our neighborhoods safe, and our communities are asking for more. I voted “no.”
While it’s a small step in the right direction, the bill would not allow police officers to utilize vehicle pursuits for offenses such as auto theft, residential burglary, stalking, and reckless and aggressive driving — to name a few. I encourage you to read this letter I received from the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs, an organization I have worked closely with over the years. The letter lists other offenses that law enforcement will not be able to pursue.
Drug use, possession and treatment | Senate Bill 5536
A surprising Washington State Supreme Court ruling in 2021, the Blake decision, basically decriminalized hard drugs in our state. The Legislature’s inadequate response to that ruling in the same year set people up for failure. We now see the tragic results of those decisions, including drug addiction and overdoses.
This crisis has escalated to a point where the Department of Health has launched a new opioid and drug overdose dashboard, and cities such as Bellingham are passing their own drug-related measures. This is what happens when the Legislature fails to address a major problem.
When Senate Bill 5536 passed the Senate, there was optimism. While not perfect, the measure had support from law enforcement, treatment providers and three out of the four caucuses — including House Republicans. The legislation changed the possession of a controlled substance to a gross misdemeanor — a concept I proposed earlier this year through House Bill 1415.
Unfortunately, House Democrats made significant changes to the bill that weakened it — including making possession of a controlled substance just a misdemeanor. I voted “no” on the measure and explained why in my floor speech.
Everyone wants to help those who are in the grip of addiction. We understand how difficult this process can be. Our state is trying to build the infrastructure needed for these services, but it is taking time. If someone refuses help or continually commits crimes to fund their addiction, there must be consequences. These consequences could help save lives. And that’s the goal. We want people to survive, recover and lead healthy lives.
Advisory votes | Senate Bill 5082
Advisory votes were established by voter-approved I-960 in 2007. They allow voters to weigh in on the decisions of the Legislature relating to tax increases.
While non-binding, I find the results of advisory votes informative and important. For example, in 2019, through Advisory Vote No. 20, nearly 63% of voters said they did not want a new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax. I fought against this bill in the 2019 legislative session. It’s important to have this voter participation.
Democrats don’t share my belief. Senate Bill 5082, passed by the majority party and expected to be signed into law, will abolish advisory votes — effectively overturning an initiative. The result: You will no longer be able to share your opinions on tax increases like you could before.
I appreciate The Spokesman-Review’s coverage (see below) on this issue. They used part of my floor speech for their story: “(Voters) should have a right to tell us we are affecting their lives,” said Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic. “That doesn’t come from a Tweet, it doesn’t come from an email. It comes from participating in the most important document in this democratic republic, and that is voting.”
- ‘It’s time to end the failed experiment’: Bill to repeal advisory votes heads to Inslee’s desk | The Spokesman-Review
Possibility of new taxes increases
Despite record state tax collections, the majority party is considering passing new tax increases again — something they have done several times since 2019. It’s simply unnecessary and would add to the economic anxiety so many individuals and families feel.
House Bill 1628, which passed out of the House Finance Committee this morning, would increase both state and local real estate excise taxes. This would result in housing costing more and rent payments going up — at a time when our state is facing a housing crisis.
Senate Bill 5770 was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday. It would raise the limit on increases in state and local property taxes to 3% per year. This tripling would devastate people who live on fixed incomes or are just struggling to get by. Many families are barely hanging on with high inflation and this would add to their problems. You can learn more here.
Our state has enough revenue to pay for its priorities. The Legislature does not need to raise taxes on anyone. In fact, state lawmakers should be looking for ways to ease the financial burdens of Washingtonians — including tax relief.
Update on my bills
My legislation to create regional apprenticeship programs for high school students passed the Senate and is headed to the governor’s desk. I call it “Running Start for the Trades.” You can learn more by reading this news release or watching my floor speech on the bill.
Another bill I sponsored, House Bill 1682, would direct more funding to local law enforcement efforts to combat auto theft. This is desperately needed. The Senate amended the measure before passing that chamber. Some details still need to be worked out between the two chambers, but I’m confident either the bill or the policy will advance in the upcoming days. You can learn more in this news release and floor speech.
I’m honored to represent the 7th District. Please call or email me if you have any questions or concerns.