Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We just wrapped up budget week here at the Capitol. That’s when all three House budget proposals – operating, capital, and transportation – are rolled out. Each proposal has a public hearing and is then voted out of committee.
The best news for the Spokane Valley area is that House Bill 1125, the House transportation budget, contains an additional $176 million for the North-South freeway without the governor’s scheduled delay. This happened thanks to the tireless advocacy of folks in our area, including a diverse, bipartisan coalition of private and public sector community leaders who publicly supported this critical project.
This funding will put the project back on schedule for 2027-2029 instead of pushing it back six years to 2033-2035.
House Bill 1147, the bipartisan House capital budget, proposes significant investments statewide for housing, behavioral health, K-12 schools, and infrastructure. It also contains about $10 million in projects in the 4th District, including:
- $5.8 million for Spokane County Avista Stadium;
- $1.849 million for Spokane Valley Summer Theatre;
- $1.03 million for the HUB sports fields in Liberty Lake;
- $500,000 for LP Greenacres Park Phase 2;
- $350,000 for synthetic turf at the HUB sports fields in Liberty Lake;
- $100,000 for a public food business incubator expansion;
- $100,000 for Pinecroft natural area preserve interpretive trail construction;
- $30,000 for Pinecroft natural area preserve site protection fence; and
- $20,000 for ADA bathrooms for Northwest Center in Spokane Valley.
I was pleased to see funding for two projects I requested – the HUB sports center and ADA bathrooms for Northwest Center – in the proposal.
The House capital budget is a starting point. It must still be voted on in the House, reconciled with the Senate’s version of the capital budget, and then signed into law by the governor.
State funding non-resident abortions
I was deeply disappointed to learn that the state is using our tax dollars to advertise abortion services to out-of-state residents and to pay for their abortions.
Washington state funds abortions in two primary ways – through the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) for Medicaid clients and through the state Department of Health (DOH) for uninsured or underinsured individuals. People who move here can access Apple Health (Medicaid) with no waiting period if they meet the income eligibility requirements. They can then use that coverage for abortion.
Similarly, DOH covers abortion costs for uninsured or underinsured individuals with no in-state residency requirements.
An attack on parental rights
Senate Bill 5599, a proposal exempting youth shelters from parental notification requirements if a child is seeking or receiving “gender affirming” treatment or reproductive health care services, was passed out of the House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee on March 24.
This bill is an unconstitutional attack on parental rights. Unless there’s genuine abuse, parents have a fundamental right to know where their children are, and I plan to fight against this terrible proposal.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment secures parental rights that would be eliminated under this bill.
SB 5599 is currently in the House Rules Committee and could be brought up for a vote any day.
Update on anti-gun bills
The following three bills affecting the right to keep in bear arms are still in play:
- House Bill 1143 would impose training, permitting, and waiting period requirements on gun owners and firearm dealers with large fines and possible jail time.
- Passed to the Senate Rules Committee for second reading on March 29. This could be on by the full Senate any day.
- House Bill 1240 would outlaw the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any so-called “assault weapon” with an emergency clause to go into effect once signed.
- Like HB 1143, this was also passed to the Senate Rules Committee for second reading on March 29. This could be on by the full Senate any day.
- Senate Bill 5078 would hold gun manufacturers legally responsible for how individuals misuse their products.
We’re planning another in-person town hall meeting after session. Stay tuned for more information in future updates.
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 | List of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
- Participating in the Process | Information about how you can participate in the legislative process
Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments. I encourage you to provide feedback and get involved. I am here to serve you and everyone in the 4th Legislative District.
It’s an honor to serve you.