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Dear Friends,

We are wrapping up the third week of the 60-day legislative session. In this email update are the details of our upcoming Virtual Town Hall, the latest on the initiatives to the Legislature, some of my bills moving through the process, and some bad bills you should be aware of.

Virtual Town Hall

Join me, Sen. Jeff Wilson and Rep. Jim Walsh, as we hold a 19th District Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. This virtual event will be hosted on Zoom. I encourage you to register as space is limited. You will be able to pre-submit your questions when you register.

Sponsored legislation

I have sponsored, or am working on, several issues this session. Here is a partial list of some of the bills I have prime-sponsored that are moving through the legislative process.

House Bill 1044 passed the House unanimously on Thursday – for the second year in a row. This is the legislation I prime-sponsored last session that would provide funding for small school districts through a grant process based on need. Last year, the bill got hung up in the Senate, despite a vote of 46-3, due to an amendment the House did not agree with. I am working hard to get this to the governor’s desk this session. Click the photo below to watch my video on HB 1044.

House Bill 2004 that would require higher education institutions to provide early course registration for eligible military members and dependents. It unanimously passed the House Postsecondary Education and Workforce Committee last week. Providing early registration for our military and their dependents is the least we can do for those who put their lives on the line for their nation, state and communities. Click here to read my news release.

House Bill 2310 would create the Julia Butler Hansen State Park Heritage Center. The Capital Budget Committee held a hearing on this legislation on Thursday. Those of you in the 19th District know what an icon Hansen was, and the many things she contributed to our region and state. This bill would preserve and protect her home and state by establishing this center. The Wahkiakum County Eagle had a good article on the estate and my legislation.

House Bill 2381 would authorize the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to increase the number of schools with fewer than 1,000 students that could be eligible for a flexible school calendar. This has worked well with other schools, so the legislation would expand the amount of waivers available.

Initiatives before the Legislature

Since the Legislature convened, six initiatives have been officially certified by the Secretary of State’s office and have been introduced in the Legislature.

Initiative 2113 would amend the state’s police pursuit law. This is a critical initiative as we work to address our state’s public safety crisis. Click here for crime facts in Washington state.

Our House Republican leadership has offered a motion on the House floor, at the first available opportunity once the initiative has been filed with the Legislature. Each motion made is to request a public hearing be held promptly in the proper committee. This would give the more than 400,000 people who signed each initiative a voice in the public process. Unfortunately, House Democrats unanimously voted each motion down on a party-line vote.

House Republicans have pointed out the Washington State Constitution defines the priority given to initiatives in the legislative process. It explicitly states that initiative measures, whether certified or provisionally certified, “shall take precedence over all other measures” in the Legislature, excluding appropriation bills.

Three other ballot measures have been certified.

  • Initiative 2117 would repeal the state carbon tax or the Carbon Commitment Act (CCA), and the cap-and-trade program.
  • Initiative 2081 relates to a parents’ bill of rights. I-2081 would allow parents and guardians of public school children to request a review of instructional materials and access student records, including health and disciplinary records.
  • Initiative 2109 would repeal Washington state’s capital gains income tax by the majority party in 2021.
  • Initiative 2111 would prohibit state and local personal income taxes.
  • Initiative 2124 would opt out of the state-run long-term care act.

If no action is taken, the initiatives will be on the November ballot for the voters to decide. If the Legislature does take action on the initiative before the end of session, it would become law without a vote of the people. We could also propose a different version, and both measures would go before the voters in November. Stay tuned.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns, questions or comments you have regarding the session or our state government. I appreciate your input and feedback.

It is an honor to serve the great people of the 19th District.

Your Humble Servant,

Joel McEntire

State Representative Joel McEntire, 19th Legislative District
409 John L. O’Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7870 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000