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First, I want to thank everyone who participated in the Zoom virtual town hall event Sen. Jeff Wilson, Rep. Jim Walsh and I held Jan. 26. I appreciate you taking an hour of your evening to talk with us. We had a good turnout from constituents all across the district and folks were very engaged. We were able to touch on a variety of issues. Your questions, input and feedback are important to us. I encourage you to stay engaged.
What is 'equity?'
During a recent public hearing in the Postsecondary Education and Workforce Committee there was legislation that would establish a Native American scholarship program, House Bill 1399. I simply tried to add the Chinook Nation to the qualifying group of tribes eligible for the scholarships. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated. I was very frustrated with the amount of talk we hear in Olympia about “equity.” To see my response to the amendment's rejection, click “here.” For the full context of what happened click “here.”
Public safety remains a top priority
Keeping our families, neighborhoods, and streets safe continues to be a high priority for many this session.
The vehicle pursuit issue continues to get a lot of attention. This issue needs to be fixed. Local government officials, businesses across Washington state, and law enforcement are asking to address this serious public safety matter.
In the House, HB 1363 is a strong bipartisan solution that has about 40 sponsors, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. It is scheduled for a vote in committee next week. While it looks encouraging in the House, the battle may be in the Senate. I will keep you informed on this important issue.
Some of the other public safety solutions we are focusing on beyond vehicle pursuit include:
- House Bill 1380 would add more police officers on our streets.
- House Bill 1415 would recriminalize hard drugs to a gross misdemeanor.
- House Bill 1682 would address the rise in auto thefts.
- House Bill 1456 would redefine retail theft.
Public safety should not be a partisan issue.
The majority party is considering tax increases again this session. Despite unprecedented taxpayer revenues coming in the last few years, there apparently is still a thirst to increase taxes. Below are some of the bills scheduled for public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
- House Bill 1473 – would implement “wealth” taxes;
- House Bill 1795 – would increase the death tax;
- Senate Bill 5618 – would increase local property taxes; and
- House Joint Resolution 4205 – would remove property tax uniformity clause; This is concerning. If this tax protection for property is removed from the constitution it could open the door for an income and/or wealth tax, but also other tax policies that treats taxpayers and property differently.
House Republicans have introduced legislation to reduce taxes and improve affordability for Washington citizens this session.
A reminder, below 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, videos, 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.
While it is not a virtual session, you can still testify remotely. You can use the links below to sign up:
Please do hesitate to reach out to me with questions, concerns or comments. I appreciate your input and feedback.
It is an honor to serve the great 19th District!
Your Humble Servant,
409 John L. O’Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7870 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000