Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have reached our first two deadlines of the 2023 legislative session. Friday, Feb. 17 was policy committee cutoff. That means all bills needed to pass out of their respective policy committees in their house of origin to still be “alive” this session. The next big date is fiscal committee cutoff, which is today, Feb. 24. Any bills that don't get voted out of committee by this date are considered “dead” for the 2023 session, except for bills considered “necessary to implement the budget” which is determined by the Speaker of the House.
Next week, we start 10 consecutive days of all day floor action where we will vote on bills, sometimes working late into the night or the wee hours of the morning. By Wednesday, March 8, we'll have a good idea as to what bills introduced this session are going to become law.
Thank You for Coming to Our Town Hall
We recently held an in-person town meeting in our district. Sen. Chris Gildon and Rep. Kelly Chambers joined me on Saturday, Feb. 18 in Puyallup to meet with constituents from the 25th District. Thank you to everyone who joined us. We always appreciate hearing from you. If you missed this town hall, we will be holding additional meetings later this year. I will keep you posted as we get those dates and locations on the calendar.
Thank You for Taking Our Legislative Priorities Survey
Speaking of sharing your input, we recently asked you to share your opinions by taking the 25th District legislative priorities survey. Here are the results of that survey:
Obviously, public safety is still a top priority for you. In fact, most of the concerns shared at our recent town hall were regarding public safety. Me and my fellow House Republicans share your concerns.
House Republicans continue to offer real solutions to make our neighborhoods and communities safer. Click here to learn more about our efforts to:
- Confront substance abuse by getting people the help they need.
- Get more officers on the street and allow them to pursue people who have committed crimes.
- Address the rise in auto thefts and other property crimes.
- Close homeless encampments and help people dealing with mental illness.
- Make drug possession a crime again.
We continue to push for change because we know the people of Washington deserve better. However, it is an uphill battle. Many Democrat lawmakers continue to be soft on crime and instead of holding people accountable, crime victims are forced to stand by and watch. But you can still let lawmakers know how important public safety is to you by sharing your input. Please click here to get involved and make your voice heard.
The standard for initiating vehicle pursuits is one of the top issues this session. House Republicans have been working to restore reasonable suspicion as the standard since last session. This year, 40 Republicans and Democrats signed onto House Bill 1363, which would correct the flawed bill passed in 2021 by the Democrat-controlled Legislature. According to our survey results, nearly 80% of you agree with this idea.
HB 1363 would authorize police to pursue criminal suspects based on “reasonable suspicion” rather than the much more stringent “probable cause.” Unfortunately, despite so many lawmakers from both sides pushing for this change, this bill was amended and weakened before it passed out of the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee and later the Transportation Committee. However, as it moves forward, we will offer more amendments to try to make it better. Stay tuned.
Republicans are also still trying to repeal – or at least improve – the long-term care trust act and payroll tax. Unfortunately, Democrats haven't made this a priority. But we will continue pushing for changes to this law and we encourage you to share your opinion with state lawmakers.
If you didn't have the opportunity to answer our survey, but you'd still like to share your opinions, please reach out to me by using the contact info at the bottom of this update. I always enjoy hearing from you and value your feedback.
Update on My Legislation
I introduced several pieces of commonsense legislation this session and two of my bills have passed out of committee.
House Bill 1401 would empower all cities and counties to adopt a simple, low-cost, expedited permit process for development of single-family, duplex, triplex, or accessory dwelling units with less than 1,801 square feet per unit. This simple legislation would help ease our state's affordable housing shortage and give the people of Washington more housing options. This bill is now waiting for a vote from the House.
House Bill 1561, which is also waiting to for a vote on House floor, would increase the public utility tax (PUT) exemption threshold and annually adjust the threshold for inflation. Under the current law, a business would have to pay public utility taxes on gross income above $24,000 per year (or $2,000 per month). This legislation would double the threshold – and increase the threshold yearly with inflation – so businesses who engage in activities that are taxable under PUT would have to collect over $48,000 per year (or $4,000 per month) or more to have to pay taxes on their business income.
House Bill 1064 is also still alive and could still be passed out of the Capital Budget Committee. The bill would allow the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to administer a school safety capital grant program. Grants could only be awarded for school safety projects that make physical improvements intended to advance the safety or security of a school facility.
Please Continue to Reach Out
As we continue this session, I hope you will keep sharing your input. I'm honored to be your voice in Olympia and grateful for your support. I'm here to listen and represent you. Please continue to stay involved. Click here to learn how. Thank you!