Dear Friends and Neighbors,
During a time of the highest inflation in decades, the majority party voted to increase the costs of living. During a time of housing crisis, they voted to increase the cost of building a home. During a time of public safety crisis and increased crime, they voted to decrease criminal sentences and attacked the Second Amendment and law-abiding gunowners. On contrast, I have been spending my time in Olympia fighting for safer communities, to protect your hard earned dollars, more choices for parents, and protecting the second amendment. Here is a quick update on several other important issues.
Bad bills to keep an eye on
House Bill 1837 overturns the vote of the people (Initiative 841 in 2003) and implements new, stringent ergonomics standards that go above and beyond federal OSHA regulations. It's bad for employers and the economy, and will increase labor costs. I was proud to lead the nine-hour floor fight on this bill that started around 9 p.m. on Monday and ended at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the bill narrowly passed, 50-48.
House Bill 1770 is the governor's new “net-zero” building code regulations. It requires new buildings to be prewired for solar, despite the National Renewable Energy Laboratory ranking Washington as one of the worst states in the nation for solar energy. This bill restricts energy choices for consumers and puts electric reliability at risk. It will drive up housing costs as well as heating costs.
House Bill 1705 would ban gun enthusiasts from putting together their own firearms. Proponents of this bill call it the “ghost gun” ban, but fail to acknowledge nearly all such “ghost guns” obtained by law enforcement officials at crime scenes are firearms that have had their serial numbers scratched or acid etched off. All this bill will do is make felons of law-abiding citizens, many of them former military personnel, who enjoy putting together their own firearms. I voted against this bill.
Senate Bill 5078 will limit the number of rounds in a firearm magazine. The so-called high-capacity magazine ban has been attempted several times in our state, but has failed each time. It passed the Senate this year and had a public hearing today in the House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary. You can contact members of the committee here to tell them what you think of this bill. I do NOT support limiting your right to defend yourself. With violent crime on a dramatic increase, and with some politicians wanting to let violent criminals out of prison early, it makes no sense to attack law-abiding citizens and their right to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Bad bills we killed
House Bill 1767 is the majority party's attempt at eliminating natural gas. It would rob consumers of choice and drive up heating costs.
House Bill 1904 is a bad landlord/tenant bill. It's the foundational basis for rent control.
House Bill 1486 is called the “voluntary quits” bill. It would allow workers to claim unemployment benefits in certain circumstances for voluntarily quitting their jobs. Of course this would drive up unemployment insurance costs for our small businesses.
House Bill 1692 would reduce the penalties for drive-by shootings. You can read my press release on this bill here. As I told one reporter: “House Bill 1692 is a tragedy in the making as our children and families will be less safe in their own homes and even their own beds.”
House Bill 1838 would have devastated the entire agriculture community in our state. This is the governor's bill to create riparian management zones along all waterways and potential flood plains. These zones could be up to 200 feet in some places with landowners covering the bulk of these costs (planting trees and other mitigation methods). Huge fines would be levied against any landowner not in compliance. Ranchers, orchardists and farmers I've spoken to say many of them would be out of business the day this becomes law. We were able to defeat it this year, but I have a feeling it will be back next year. We must remain vigilant.
Emergency powers reform is an absolute must. The governor has ruled the state since Feb. 29, 2020 – nearly two years! I have cosponsored House Bill 1772 that would help restore legislative balance to our state's emergency powers. It received a public hearing, but it appears the majority party will pass their own bill: Senate Bill 5909. Their bill doesn't do much. In fact, you can read more about their bill in the article below.
Repealing and replacing the long-term care tax that Democrats passed in 2019 is another absolute must. Currently, the governor and majority party are in agreement that the tax collections must be delayed under after the 2022 elections and passed legislation to do this. But I believe the plan must be repealed in its entirety. Nearly 63% of voters statewide rejected the idea of a mandatory tax on worker paychecks to fund long-term care insurance. To date, more than 460,000 people have opted out of the program by purchasing private plans on the open market.
What will the state do with the largest budget surplus in state history? When session began, our four-year budget surplus was around $8.8 billion, with another $2.2 billion in reserves, and $1.2 billion in unspent emergency surplus funds. The economic and revenue forecast council came out today with an updated revenue forecast that shows another $2.8 billion over the four-year outlook. Much of this surplus is due to increasing property values and thus a dramatic rise in property taxes. I believe we should give money back to taxpayers in the form of meaningful property tax relief!
Fixing problems stemming from the Defund the Police movement is another important issue. Last session's HB1310 and HB 1054 created many problems for law enforcement around the state. Even the majority party realizes the need for fixing these issues. We need to allow law enforcement to pursue suspects, put more officers on the street, and protect retailers from increasing theft. Violent crime in our state is at a 25-year high. Now is the time to focus on keeping our communities and families safe. Unfortunately, it looks like the solutions they propose will be an excuse for them to say “they did something,” rather than actually fix the issue. Stay tuned.
You can listen to my weekly three minute Capitol Report update here. Read our daily media clips service, the Capitol Buzz, here. And learn more about testifying remotely on legislation here or how to comment on a bill here.
Another way you can stay in touch is to sign up for text alerts from the House Republican Caucus. You can opt out at any time. It is yet another way for us to keep you updated on what's happening in the Legislature. Please consider signing up at this platform.
I continue to put my efforts into solutions that will make life more affordable for you, keep you safe, and give parents more options when it comes to successfully educating and protecting their children. Please feel free to contact my office with your thoughts, comments and concerns on proposed legislation or state government issues.
It is an honor to serve the great people of the 7th District!