Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This is the seventh week of the 2014 legislative session. Several significant deadlines have passed and a large portion of the legislation proposed this year is considered dead. For a reminder of how a bill becomes law, click here.
In my past legislative updates, you have read about five bills I sponsored this year. Four of those bills are still moving through the legislative process. This is an uncommon success rate for Republican measures. So far this session, 332 bills were voted out of the House, and only 79 of those bills were prime-sponsored by Republicans. I believe this is due to the non-political nature of these bills that are geared towards helping Washington citizens.
Currently, two of my bills have either had hearings in the Senate or are scheduled to be heard.
- House Bill 2099 would move the expiration date of timber tax reporting requirements and allow the Department of Revenue to use better methodology to simplify and add predictability in determining accurate tax stumpage values. This bill passed the House unanimously Thursday, Feb. 13. It was heard in the Senate Natural Resources Parks Committee on Feb. 20.
- House Bill 2371 would allow growlers (container brought by a customer to purchase beer) to be sold in grocery stores. This bill will help our breweries and businesses with increased sales and customers having the option of going to the closest store for purchases. This bill passed the House 77 to 20 on Feb. 17. It is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
I will update you on the progress of the remainder of my bills in the following email updates.
Other Legislation of Interest
There was a public hearing on Senate Bill 5141 which would allow motorcycles to stop and proceed through traffic control signals under certain conditions. I am in support of this legislation. It provides legal basis for a conversation with law enforcement if a motorcycle operator is pulled over for doing this activity – which many already safely do.
There was a public hearing on Senate Bill 6045 which would enhance transparency and predictability of state agency permitting and review processes. I am also in support of this legislation that would shorten the amount of time it takes to process licenses and permits and thereby reduce the cost of doing business and make our state more business friendly.
There will be a public hearing on Senate Bill 6179, authorizing workers' compensation group self-insurance plans, in the House Labor & Workforce Development Committee at 3:30 p.m. I support this measure that would level the playing field for small and medium-sized businesses who cannot self-insure because they are not big enough.
Town halls Feb. 23 and telephone town hall March 3
Thank you to all of the participants who attended my town halls last weekend. We had about 20 people in each location – Battle Ground and Camas (pictures at right).
There was healthy discussion on a variety of topics including the minimum wage, teacher salary and class sizes, campaign finance and transportation reforms. I appreciated hearing about the issues that top the priority list for the citizens of the 18th District.
If you weren't able to join us for the in-person town halls you still have an chance to ask me a question on March 3 at 6:30 p.m. while I host a telephone town hall.
The telephone town hall works like a radio call-in show. You can participate in this community conversation from your own home by calling toll-free at 1-800-290-2185. I encourage you to take part!
My door is always open and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve as your state legislator.