Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Upcoming public hearings
Here are a few bills being heard in Olympia this week. Please note I do not necessarily support all of these. I share this information to keep you informed and give you the opportunity to testify or offer your comments:
HB 2016 — concerning the use of drones by law enforcement agencies. Public Safety @ 1:30 p.m.
HB 1994 — requiring 18-24 year-olds to complete a risk-prevention traffic safety course when applying for their first driver's license. Transportation @ 3:30 p.m.
Click on the bill links above and select “comment on this bill” to offer your feedback online.
We are entering into the sixth week of session, and the Legislature has made some progress so far. Since passing its first two bills in January, the House has now sent more than 20 bills to the Senate for consideration.
Each week I try to keep you informed on the latest policy discussions happening in the House by providing you information on upcoming public hearings. There are many more I could list in this update but what I have provided are some I thought you would find interesting. For a full list of committee action, click here.
Feb. 20 is House policy committee cutoff. All policy bills that do not make it out of their assigned committees are usually deemed “dead” for the session. However, there are a number of ways a bill can be revived. Feb. 27 is House fiscal committee cutoff, meaning all bills referred to a fiscal committee that are not passed out are also considered “dead.”
This week in review
On Thursday I had the pleasure of honoring 2014 National High School Heisman award winner Nolan Henry. Nolan is a senior at Union High School in Vancouver and is the quarterback of his football team. Beyond his success in football, Nolan maintains a 4.0 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is dedicated to community service. His success on and off the field is evidence that, without doubt, Nolan has a very bright future ahead of him. It was great to have Nolan and his parents in Olympia for the day to commemorate his achievements!
In addition to committee hearings, floor action and budget meetings, I make a point to meet with constituents from the 18th District as much as possible during session. This week I met with the Clark County Republican Women, members of the Washington State Dental Association, Washington State Nurses Association, a local business owner and several others.
Here's a quick update on some of my legislation's progress this session…
House Bill 2047 – this provides cause of action for property owners when their property is seized for power lines. Constituents have approached me with concerns regarding the proposed BPA power lines in east and north Clark County. This bill will ensure they're properly compensated for any land taken through eminent domain. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and is awaiting further action.
House Bill 1296 – this would expand economic opportunities and allow for cigar lounges to be established in Washington state. The bill was unanimously voted out of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee and has now been referred to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.
House Bill 1309 – this would permit real estate brokers to sell floating homes. It passed out of the House Business and Financial Services Committee and is now awaiting floor consideration.
House Bill 1659 – this bill allows grief counseling to be added to the list of benefits a group life insurance policy offers, and allows disability insurers to offer benefits similar to those offered in group life insurance policies. Members of the House Business & Financial Services Committee passed the bill on Friday.
House Bill 1884 – this would update current law regarding electric personal assistive mobility devices and help some of our high-tech companies in the 18th District continue their success in recent technological developments. The bill was heard in the House Transportation Committee and is scheduled for an executive session today.
House Bill 1884 isn't new to the Legislature. I introduced the same bill last year, House Bill 2404, to help two Camas-based companies continue to profit from their innovative transport devices. One company, Inventist, Inc., created the Solowheel, a one-wheeled, self-balancing device. Current law does not cover one-wheeled transport devices and my bill would make an exception to that outdated law.
This bill passed the House unanimously last session but was held up in the Senate. I hope we can get this legislation passed out of both chambers and to the governor's desk for approval.
Meet my intern, Joseph Orf
Washington State University junior Joseph Orf is my intern for the 2015 legislative session. Joseph is majoring in political science and minoring in German, and hopes to pursue a position in local, state or federal government in the future.
He has been busy this session assisting my office with research projects, casework, tracking legislation and more. He also interns for another legislator, so I am grateful for the work he's been able to do for us given his heavy workload.
The Legislative Internship Program, which Joseph is participating in, is a great way for undergraduates in our state schools to gain exposure and meaningful experience in the state Legislature. Many interns have gone on to serve as full-time staff in the Legislature, or have even become members themselves. For more information about the internship program, click here.
Telephone town hall Feb. 19
I invite you to join my live, telephone town hall Feb. 19 from 6 to 7 p.m. Anyone can participate by calling (360) 637-4775 at the beginning of the call. To raise a question during the call, press the star key (*) on your telephone, or simply listen in.
Besides contacting me directly at my legislative office, this is yet another way I can get in touch with folks back home during session. This gives me an opportunity to share the latest news from Olympia and hear what people in the 18th District think about the issues before the Legislature. I'm looking forward to the community conversation!
If you're not able to participate, I hope you will call, email or write to me about any concerns, questions or solutions you have for state government.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you!