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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
At the beginning of the 5th week of the legislative session, committees are busy hearing bills, and the House has already passed several non-controversial pieces of legislation over to the Senate.
I have been busy fighting for the interests of residents in the Spokane-area on the House Capital Budget Committee, as well as on the House Innovation, Community Economic Development and Veterans Committee. Unfortunately, on the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee, where I serve as the assistant ranking member, we have seen some misguided bills come up for hearings that prioritize criminals and would infringe on citizens' rights.
Bills of concern
On State Government and Tribal Relations, we've seen several bad bills move through the process. I am particularly concerned about the following:
- House Bill 1158 would abolish advisory votes which were approved by voters through I-960 in 2007.
- I would support a bill that would make them binding to the will of the voters.
- House Bill 1174 would require each city, county, and tribal jail to establish a “Jail Voting Plan” to provide resources to help incarcerated individuals vote.
- This bill would require jail staff to spend valuable time escorting candidates around the jail to campaign.
- House Bill 1220 would require anyone who is legally eligible to register to vote in Washington state to do so and submit a ballot.
- Last I checked, America is a free country, and you have the right not to vote.
- House Bill 1333 would establish a government taskforce to investigate citizens' political speech by the partisan Attorney General's Office.
Over a thousand constituents have contacted me about House Bill 1333 – the bill to establish a government taskforce to investigate citizens' political speech.
I believe this taskforce could be used to target groups that are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Under this bill, parents simply voicing their concerns at a school board meeting could make them a government target. There are simply no clear guidelines for who might be the target. We need citizens to be more engaged with government, not afraid of it.
I believe this taskforce is counterproductive, sends the wrong message, and prompts a host of questions: Who decides which groups to target? What does the state plan to do with the information it collects? What safeguards are in place to protect privacy? We already have an amazing law enforcement system. Let's provide them the resources they need to enforce the law, not create a new big-brother style government taskforce.
Upcoming town hall meeting
On Saturday, Feb. 11, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Argonne Library, you are invited to join Representative Suzanne Schmidt and myself for an in-person legislative town hall meeting. We welcome your questions, concerns, and suggestions about the 2023 legislative session.
Proposed delay of Spokane's North-South freeway
Fellow Spokane-area legislators and I are working diligently on reversing Gov. Jay Inslee's budget proposal that would once again significantly delay construction of Spokane's North-South freeway project. We are urging the House Transportation Committee to restore funding for this critical project.
As many of you know, delaying the project is another broken promise that will mean continued higher vehicle emissions from stop-and-go traffic, longer commutes, slower economic growth, and continued pothole-filled roads for Spokane-area residents.
Bills I am sponsoring
- House Bill 1331 would provide tax incentives for the development of public use airports.
- Our public use airports contribute over 400,000 jobs, $26.8 billion in labor income, and $107 billion in total economic impact to our state's economy and communities.
- This bill will help Washington remain competitive nationally and globally to attract and retain new businesses and encourage investment.
- House Bill 1330 is a bipartisan bill that would adjust the threshold for requiring candidate contribution certifications relating to foreign nationals and encourage more exceptional candidates to run for office.
- House Bill 1330 passed out of committee and is waiting for action from the full House of Representatives.
- House Bill 1660 would set a minimum $1,000 bid for abandoned recreational vehicles sold at auction keeping them off our streets.
- House Bill 1660 is scheduled for public hearing in the House Transportation Committee Feb. 8, at 4p.m. You can view it live at https://tvw.org/live/
- House Bill 1761 would increase the personal property tax exemption helping small business save time and money while streamlining government.
How you can get involved
- My legislative website | Find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans.
- TVW | TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
- Legislature's website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
- State agencies | Lists of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
- Participating in the Process | Information about how you can participate in the legislative process.
Government works best when citizens are actively involved, so please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I am here to serve you and everyone in the 4th Legislative District.
I will do my best to answer messages from constituents first, so please be sure to include your home address and phone number in your correspondence. It's an honor to serve you.
122C Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7984 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000