Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Winter is in the air and that means the 2020 legislative session is fast approaching. Our last session wrapped up in April. Since then, I've been visiting schools, community groups, and businesses in our district to stay in touch with members of our community and learn about the issues you care about the most.
We also just wrapped up our Committee Assembly Days in Olympia, last week. I met with numerous individuals that are concerned with the direction of our state's government. I share their concern.
These meetings – along with our caucus and committee meetings – will play a key role in how we focus our priorities during the upcoming session. But before I get into those issues, let's recap some of the results from the most recent election.
- I-976: The biggest headline was the passage of the car-tab ballot measure (I-976). Your voices have been heard. The people of Washington are tired of watching the government misuse their tax dollars. We don't want or need additional taxes, either. But this battle isn't over. Multiple parties have filed lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of the bill. So, we'll be keeping a close eye on this in the Legislature.
- Affirmative Action: Voters also narrowly defeated I-1000, which would've reinstated Affirmative Action in the state. However, it's likely that proponents will try again in two years. Regardless of your position on this issue, it's obvious the majority party in the Legislature was not in tune with the desires of the people. We must do better as a body. This is an issue that I'll be keeping my eye on because it's a question of basic fairness. The people of Clark County made their opinion known. Discrimination should have no place in our state government.
These initiatives made a lot of headlines. But I'm also focusing on other important issues for the 2020 session that are very important to our district and the state. Fiscal responsibility and government accountability continue to be two of my top priorities. I'm also very concerned with occupational licensing and regulatory issues. They have a grave impact on an individual's ability to pursue the career of their choice and to earn a living for their family. They also affect small businesses, including people trying to start a new business.
- Occupational Licensing Reform: In simple terms, before you can do business or enter certain fields of employment, you must get a license saying you're qualified to perform the general duties of that business. Occupational licensing has some benefits including public health and safety, but there are also several negatives. One of the biggest problems is occupational licensing often fails to achieve its defined objectives. For example, studies suggest that certain occupational licensing requirements do not improve the quality of public health and safety, which is one of its main objectives. Occupational licensing is supposed to help consumers, too. But the reality is it often hurts consumers at large, as well as the general workforce. I want to reform occupational licensing standards, so they benefit the individual instead of hurting them. Look for more details to come as the session kicks off in January.
- Government Accountability: One of my biggest issues with government has always been accountability. If we don't hold our lawmakers accountable for their actions, they can get away with anything. We must hold lawmakers to a higher standard. I plan to introduce legislation that will force lawmakers to respect the will of the people based on their votes. I'm still drafting various pieces of legislation, but I'm happy to share the general themes. First, if voters oppose or reject an initiative on the ballot, the Legislature would be barred from implementing that same idea for at least two years. Second, I want to prevent government entities from being able to use public funds to sue for a ballot result that they disagree with. And third, I'd like to see more stringent and meaningful penalties for government officials and bureaucrats who use public resources to campaign for, or against, ballot initiatives. We must rebuild faith in government, and we must follow the will of the people. I'm confident these ideas will help put us on the right track.
Please Reach Out to Me
These are some of my top priorities, as we get closer to the 2020 session. As always, I want to know your top priorities, as well. I'm here to represent the people of the 18th District. I care about the issues that matter to you and I want to hold lawmakers in Olympia accountable for their decisions. This will be my last email update before session begins. But if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I enjoy meeting you, hearing your input, and learning about the issues that affect you the most.
It is an honor to represent the 18th District.