Last week we passed the house-of-origin cutoff, meaning bills not passed out of their respective chamber by the deadline are likely “dead” for the session, unless they are deemed necessary to implement the budget or (NTIB). The NTIB bills are exempt from the cutoff dates.
I often mention the volume of bills before us. Here are some numbers for you, as of March 8:
- 1,388 bills introduced in the House.
- 376 House bills passed and sent to the Senate.
- 890 bills introduced in the Senate.
- 282 Senate bills passed and sent to the House.
For a recent historical perspective on the number of bills introduced click “house of origin-cutoff, bill activity.”
Here is also a list of notable bills, dead or alive.
This week in the House, it is back to the committee process, as we are holding public hearings on the Senate bills that were sent over to us.
Small business ‘bill of rights’
Improving the business climate in Washington continues to be my goal in Olympia. The House Republican Caucus took the lead on some small-business legislation we were able to get passed before the cutoff date.
One of the bills, House Bill 1352, would define what specific rights or protections small business owners have when selected for an audit, inspection or other government agency enforcement action. Through these definitions, the state would set up a process to inform business owners of their rights and protections when selected for an audit or inspection, as well as identify what rules the government must follow.
One of the concerns I repeatedly hear from small-business owners is the number of state agencies involved in rules and regulations for employers. They often feel like they are left in the dark. This legislation would help state agencies do a better job of communicating with small businesses about their rights and protections.
Regulatory Fairness Act
We know small businesses are disproportionally impacted by the rules created by state agencies. And, the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) found our state agencies have been chronically non-compliant with its requirements. House Bill 1120, passed by the House, would address those compliance issues and add some transparency to agency rulemaking, to help ensure our small employers do not lose ground in the rulemaking process. The bill would do five things including:
- agencies proposing a rule that would only affect small businesses would be required to consider mitigation options to reduce the cost to small businesses.
- agencies whose proposed rules would impose more than minor costs on small businesses would be required to mitigate those costs if the agency did not have sufficient data to calculate disproportionate impacts.
- agencies able to demonstrate a proposed rule would have no effect on small businesses would be exempt from completing a small-business economic impact statement.
- the Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance would be required to act as the state’s central entity to assist agencies with meeting the Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA) requirements.
- beginning June 30, 2020, the State Auditor’s Office would be required to conduct performance reviews of agencies to assess their compliance with the RFA.
In the past few weeks, both House Democrats and Senate Republicans have passed “McCleary” education funding proposals. The behind-the-scenes negotiations have begun. An eight-member team, with two state lawmakers from each caucus, are meeting on a regular basis. Rep. Paul Harris is the lead for our caucus and is doing great work. He is part of a small House Republican team that has been refining our solutions for the last 10 months. A few of our ideas and solutions we are bringing to the table include:
- No school district should receive less money under any new plan compared to what they would receive under current law.
- Our state should increase state salary allocations to ensure all teachers are paid market rate.
- Using the new salary allocations, each district should have a “box” and total spending on salaries should not exceed that box.
- Local collective bargaining should be preserved, but subject to new constraints.
- Local enrichment levies should be preserved.
- Smaller K-3 class sizes should remain a priority, with funding tied to the actual class-size demonstrated.
- Increased spending should be covered through existing revenue and expected revenue growth.
Rep. Vick gets some assistance on the House floor from Makena on Children’s Day.
Bills in the Senate
I have three bills making their way through the Senate after being voted out of the House of Representatives.
House Bill 1593 would expand on the crowdfunding legislation we passed a few years ago. We are expanding options for entrepreneurs to gain access to or raise capital. It should improve start-up businesses access to capital, drawing more businesses to Washington. Passed the House 95-2.
House Bill 1845 would simplify insurance transactions and align insurance industry standards with standards for other types of commercial transactions. Sometimes we run into issues when our laws are not keeping up with technology. This streamlines the insurance transaction process by establishing an electronic signature is equivalent to a digital signature. Passed the House 98-0.
House Bill 1893 relates to how the spirits and wine industry and restaurants do financial transactions. This streamlines the process, benefitting both the distributors and restaurants. Passed the House 98-0.
Right to Try, House Bill 1242, would allow terminally ill patients access to experimental treatments and investigational medical products. The bill did not advance in the House, but the companion bill, Senate Bill 5035, made it out of the Senate. It isn’t about which bill gets passed, it is about getting the policy passed that would benefit terminally ill patients.
I will continue to keep you updated on this bill and other issues before us this session. Please let me know if you have any questions.
It is an honor to serve the 18th District!