Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last Friday was policy cutoff – the deadline for policy bills to pass out of committee in the chamber where they were introduced. Any policy bills that were not voted out of committee by the end of business on Feb. 17 are considered “dead” for the year. Unfortunately, several good bills that would have improved public safety, recriminalized hard drugs, and reduced homelessness, did not advance by this deadline.
Today, we have a similar deadline for fiscal bills.
To view a brief list of many of the good and bad bills in the Legislature this year, click here.
Police pursuit update
As many of you are aware, Washington state is suffering from a surge in crime and lawlessness, in no small part due to the anti-police measures enacted in 2021 by the majority party in the Legislature and Governor Inslee. Repealing these bad laws and restoring the ability of law enforcement to protect the public are my top legislative priorities.
On Feb. 16, House Bill 1363 – a key, bipartisan bill that restores the ability of law enforcement officers to engage vehicular pursuit if they have reasonable suspicion – moved out of the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee and just passed out of the House Transportation Committee yesterday. It's now on its way to the House Rules Committee.
Currently, officers can only engage in vehicular pursuit if the pursuit meets the unreasonably high standard of probable cause. That is, an officer cannot engage in vehicular pursuit unless:
- There is probable cause to believe that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense, sex offense, or an escape, or there is reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a Driving Under the Influence offense;
- The vehicular pursuit is necessary for the purpose of identifying or apprehending the person;
- The person poses an imminent threat to the safety of others; and
- The safety risks of failing to apprehend or identify the person are considered to be greater than the safety risks associated with the vehicular pursuit under the circumstances.
Restoring the reasonable suspicion standard will allow law enforcement officers to do their jobs, keep us safe, and restore law and order.
While the bill, as it stands, is a major improvement over the status quo, the majority party adopted a sunset clause, so that the reasonable suspicion standard expires on July 1, 2025. I do not agree with this change.
I will work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to get the strongest version of this bill passed and signed into law.
Watch the Feb. 16 committee action on TVW here.
Town hall meeting
A big thank you to those who attended our packed Feb. 11 town hall meeting at Argonne Library. Rep. Suzanne Schmidt and I enjoyed answering your questions and concerns, as well as listening to your suggestions about how we can improve state government.
We have been working hard to restore the ability of law enforcement professionals to pursue suspects in their vehicles; fix the Blake drug possession decision that makes most drugs legal in our state; find solutions to the housing crisis; ensure Spokane's North-South freeway project gets funded, after the governor cut it from his transportation budget proposal; and more.
Because the February town hall was so well attended, Rep. Schmidt and I plan to hold another in-person town hall meeting on Saturday March 18, at 10 a.m. at CenterPlace Event Center.
North-South freeway update
Legislators from the Spokane area are making progress behind the scenes on restoring funding for the North-South freeway project. Rest assured, we will continue to push for this priority with all of our combined efforts. This project is too important to the health, safety, and economic well-being of our region to delay any further.
Update on bills I am sponsoring
Out of the four bills that I was the prime sponsor on, three are moving forward:
- 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 on Jan. 31 and is waiting for a full vote by the House.
- House Bill 1660 would set a minimum bid for abandoned recreational vehicles sold at auction and keeping them from returning to our streets.
- This bill passed unanimously out of the House Transportation Committee on Feb 16 and is waiting for a full vote by the House.
- House Bill 1761 would increase the personal property tax exemption helping small business and streamlining assessor's offices across the state.
- This bill passed out of the House Finance Committee on Feb. 22.
Other legislative wins
In the House Innovation, Community Economic Development, and Veterans Committee, the committee voted to adopt my amendment to House Bill 1384 – a bill that would provide veterans in Washington state with free admission to state parks. My amendment ensures that service members who were given an entry-level separation, bad conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, or officer dismissal are not eligible for this free pass.
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
I welcome your input and feedback. Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments. 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.