Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now more than half-way through the session that is scheduled to end April 28. Three major deadlines (cut-offs) have happened – February 22, last day for bills to be passed out of policy committees; March 1, last day for bills to pass budget committees; March 13, last day for bills to be passed off the House floor. You can see a calendar of all the cut-offs here. Because of these deadlines, many of the bills introduced this session are now dead. Culling bills is positive since more than one thousand bills were introduced in just 52 days. Technically any bill can be revived but it is difficult and unlikely.
My fellow Republicans and I spent many long days voting and amending bills in order to prompt a more thoughtful approach. Even if voting goes late into the night, educating other House members and the public (via TVW and in-person) is critical to pass bills and, maybe even more importantly, to keep bad legislation from passing.
Our hard work paid off. Among many other bills, House Bill 1313, House Bill 1023, House Bill 1440 and House Bill 1588 failed to gain the support necessary for a floor vote. Without the hard work of Republican legislators these bills likely would have passed the House.
- HB 1313 would have placed a costly new mandate on small businesses in the form of paid leave. By increasing the financial burden on small business in this economy employers could have ended up cutting jobs in order to give more vacation.
- HB 1023 would have required the use of apprentices on public projects which is not imposed in other regions, would have increased costs significantly and risked hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment.
- HB 1440 would have eliminated independent contractors thereby driving them out of our state and hurting our economy further; and
- HB 1588 would have created a new law enforcing universal background checks for the purchase of firearms and unfairly targeted law abiding citizens. I heard from many of the 18th District citizens and would have voted against this legislation. However, hard work by Republicans and 2nd Amendment supporters ensured that this bill did not have enough support to receive a vote.
I was also proud to vote for some good legislation in the last week. A bill that I co-sponsored, House Bill 1818, would streamline regulatory projects, help small business and encourage job creation. And, other legislation I co-sponsored, House Bill 1733, would require that capital and transportation project investments be made available to the public on the website in an accessible format. Both of these bills passed unanimously out of the House.
Last week the Washington House Republicans proposed six economic and transportation reforms before they consider a House Democratic package to raise the state gas tax by 10 cents. Our plan would create jobs, make state gas tax dollars go further, ensure accountability, and protect taxpayers.
The reforms include: changing the state's unpredictable permitting process and cumbersome Growth Management Act (GMA); exempting future state transportation projects from state and local sales and use tax; requirements for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to report on engineering errors and mistakes that exceed $500,000 and protect taxpayers by limiting WSDOT's tort liability based on the amount of the department's actual fault. You can read a more in-depth analysis of these proposals by clicking here.
Also, last week the Washington House Republicans unveiled our Fund Education First budget. The stand-alone, K-12 education budget would: meet the expectations of the state constitution and state Supreme Court's McCleary decision; focus on high standards, innovation and accountability with flexibility; and protect taxpayers by not raising taxes.
Last weekend I was pleased to participate in two town halls in Battle Ground and Camas. The town halls were well attended and I appreciated hearing from our communities about the issues and concerns that are important.
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. If there is any part of state government that I can help you with please contact me. I am here to be a resource for you.