Dear Friends and Neighbors,
There have been 1,036 bills introduced in the House as of Feb. 22. This is an amazing, and many would say unnecessary, amount of new legislation considering the expense of each proposal.
Several bills have died in committee as the policy cutoff date has passed. However, some good legislation is still alive moving. Unfortunately, the same can be said for “bad bills.” To see a list of impactful legislation that died click here. I've included a short overview of three bills (below) that are still being considered this week. I believe this will make you more knowledgeable about the decisions your government is making.
- House Bill 1301 would change the eligibility for the renewable Energy Investment Cost Recovery Incentive Program. I'm opposed to this legislation which subsidizes private individuals who already have the means to purchase solar panels for their homes, with potentially free solar equipment. The bill was heard in the House Finance Committee yesterday, Feb. 25.
- House Bill 1663 would extend a sales and use tax exemption for wood byproducts (“hog fuel”) until 2024. Hog fuel is used as a commercial energy source and is considered a type of bio-fuel. I support this bill which helps fuel parts of Washington State and aids with the workability of our forest resources. This bill will be given a hearing today in the House Finance Committee.
- House Bill 1693 would help the economy by providing a B&O Tax deduction for new businesses during their first three years. I support this legislation which will aid new business and promote economic growth in our community. HB 1693 was given a hearing today in House Finance Committee.
A bill can be revived after a cut-off date, but it's rare, and takes significant work. House Bills which are still alive are in fiscal committees, the rules committee or are passing onto the floor of the House. Fiscal committees are where we determine how much it would cost to implement new legislation. The cut-off for bills to be voted out of fiscal committees is Friday, March 1. You can see a reminder of how a bill becomes law here – and get a short list of the 2013 cut-off dates by clicking here.
Last Saturday I was pleased to speak with constituents at two meet-and-greets in Washougal and Ridgefield. There were a lot of great questions and a fantastic exchange of ideas which help me know what is important to you. We plan to hold more of meetings in the same relaxed format in the future. I will keep you posted of the dates and times – I hope you will join me.
If you weren't able to attend either of the meetings last weekend, you have another chance to participate. I will be holding a telephone town hall on Tuesday, March 5, at 6:30 p.m. I will send out a number you can call later this week. All you have to do once you are called is stay on the line. This telephone town hall is a great way to have your voice heard without making a drive to Olympia or another meeting location. I encourage you to join me a week from today.
If there is a bill listed here that concerns you or that you are interested in knowing more about, please feel free to contact my office. I want to be your voice in the Legislature.