Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On January 14, the 2013 legislative session began. The opening week was a busy, eye-opening and exciting seven days. Yesterday kicked-off my second week, and it looks to be just as full. Thank you for entrusting me to be your voice in Olympia. It's an honor that humbles me and one I do not take lightly.
We are scheduled for 105-day session. During that time I will be sending out e-mail updates, like this one, every other week. These e-mails will include highlights of what is happening in Olympia (like those you will find below) and specific work I am doing on behalf of constituents back home. Please feel free to pass this along to others you think would be interested, and encourage them to sign-up here.
We face many challenges and big decisions. After spending time with my fellow legislators, participating in 16 hours of committee hearings, and seven hours on House floor, I believe we can make progress toward government accountability and responsible budgeting this year. I am impressed the amount of hard work and dedication I have witnessed.
I encourage you to contact my office. The best ideas don't come from Olympia; they come from the citizens of Washington. My office is here to be a resource for you. If you have any questions please call me at (360) 786-7850, or e-mail me at Brandon.Vick@leg.wa.gov. You can also visit my Web site at houserepublicans.wa.gov/vick. I look forward to hearing from you.
In November, legislative leadership met and formed several newly-reorganized committees. I will be serving on three committees including the Finance and Technology and Economic Development committees.
I'm also honored to be assigned as assistant ranking Republican on the Business and Financial Services Committee which considers licensing and regulations, consumer credit and lending, consumer protection and insurance. These committees are a great fit with my experience and the needs of our district. I look forward to becoming well-versed in additional issues as the session progresses. As I am learning I will share my insights with you.
Legislation and Rules
I believe it is important to be judicious in the bills I sign and propose. Smaller government is more effective and better for the people. So, I have elected to only sign-on to a handful of bills thus far. A few of those bills are are especially impactful to businesses and our district:
- Legislative approval of agency rules – this amendment would require all agency rules, that create permanent substantive provisions of law, be subject to a vote of the legislature. This is a critical bill to ensure that the vote of the people is truly represented. All too often when laws are created agencies are left to implement the law – they can do so in a manner that isn't true to the spirit of the legislation or in the best interests of citizens.
- Delaying storm water requirements – among other things, this legislation will allow storm water general permits to be re-issued without modification.
My fellow House Republicans and I are going to propose changes to some specific rules in the House. One of these rule changes that I feel strongly about would require citizen testimony be prioritized in committee hearings. Citizens who take the time to come to the Legislature should be given priority over lobbyists and Olympia insiders. As someone new to participating in the hearing process, I feel it is crucial for legislators hear about the experiences, concerns and solutions of regular Washingtonians. This means, citizens would get to testify FIRST and be allowed more time while testifying.
The issues that impact our local businesses and residents determine the priorities I will focus on in Olympia. Therefore, in order to be a voice for you, my attention will be directed at these issue areas:
- Jobs: I have seen far too many of our friends and neighbors lose jobs. If we can reduce the number of regulations on businesses, we can make this state a place where employers want to be. Washington drives employers to locate elsewhere or suffer over-regulation, fees, taxes and long permitting times. If we can get government to stop putting up road blocks, more businesses will come here. With businesses come the jobs our citizens desperately need.
- Energy: Requirements to purchase certain types of energy must be realistic. Current mandates prevent our communities and families from receiving energy for the lowest cost possible. Additionally, inexpensive energy is appealing for employers. In order to make our state globally competitive, encourage exports and support businesses, we need to make use of our ample supply of inexpensive and renewable energy.
- Taxes: The majority of Washington citizens have made their voices heard about taxes. Proposed increases went down in flames in 2010 (64% no), 2004 (60% no), 1989 (66% no), 1975 (67% no) and 1973 (77% no). You should not be held responsible for the state's spending problem. You have tightened your belts and have learned to live within your means – the state must do the same. There is enough money in the budget to prioritize and fund necessities without taking even more money out of your pocket.
If you have an issue that you feel strongly about I would love to hear from you. I was elected to represent you and your thoughts are always welcome. The best ideas for how to run state government don't come from politicians and lobbyists they come from you – the people.
I'll continue to update you about the 2013 Legislative Session as it continues. If you have any questions or concerns about state government or proposed legislation, please don't hesitate to contact my office. It continues to be a great honor and privilege to serve you in the Washington State House of Representatives.