Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Tuesday marked the halfway point of the 60-day legislative session. To give you an update on the legislative session and answer your questions, I am co-hosting a 13th District virtual town hall meeting with my seatmates, Sen. Judy Warnick, and Rep. Alex Ybarra, on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m.
Preregistration is required for this Zoom-hosted event. During the hour-long meeting, we will answer questions and discuss some of the public policy topics being considered, debated, and decided in Olympia. You will be able to submit written questions during the registration process.
What: 13th District Virtual Town Hall Meeting
When: Thursday, Feb. 17, starting at 6 p.m.
Where: Click here to register.
**After registering, a confirmation email will be sent about joining the webinar. Space is limited, so it is best to register early.**
My bills moving through the process
The House of Representatives reached their first deadlines of the session the policy and fiscal committee cutoffs dates. I had a number of bills voted out of the policy committees and that are still moving through the legislative process.
- House Bill 1712 would change some operational aspects for municipal airport commissions, such as requiring reauthorization of a commission every two years and allowing municipalities to vest authority in a commission to apply for loans through the Public Use General Aviation Airport Loan program. This bill has been pulled from the Rules Committee and could be voted on at any time.
- House Bill 1945 would require the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to develop and implement a caregiver liaison program for improving communication between the department, caregivers, and primarily foster parents. The issue around the foster child Oakley Carlson has brought the lack of communication between the DCYF and foster parents to light. The bill is still in the Rules Committee waiting to be pulled to the floor for a vote.
- House Bill 1936 would adjust the membership of the Oversight Board to ensure we are filling these important positions with qualified individuals while still keeping youth involved through the subcommittees. The bill is still in the Rules Committee waiting to be pulled to the floor for a vote.
- House Bill 1993 would create a pesticide advisory board and ensure there is significant community and stakeholder engagement. Our ag industry continually faces increased rules and regulations, so it is critical we have input and feedback from those who use and are impacted by pesticides. This bill has been pulled from the Rules Committee and could be voted on at any time.
Mental health legislation
I am working to get my House Bill 2053 in the budget as a proviso. This is the bill that would create a behavioral health work group to study the root causes of rising behavioral health issues in Washington communities. I feel this issue is very important as mental and behavioral health is impacting just about every aspect of our communities. This bill would help us strengthen communities by providing appropriate resources for vital mental health services. We need to ensure services are accessible and operating efficiently and effectively now more than ever.
Bad legislation halted
Governor's salmon recovery bill – House Bill 1838: In my last email update, I discussed this legislation and how devastating it would be to farmers. I am pleased to report this bill is dead. It would have required landowners to set aside large, mandatory riparian buffers on each side of streams on their land to help salmon. Landowners who didn't plant trees along waterways crossing their property would've been subject to $10,000 daily fines. The impact on farmers' property and their ability to make a living would have been extensive. Large pieces of farmland would have been taken out of production, impacting our state's food supply.
Developing a forest plan – House Bill 1895: This legislation came from the Department of Natural Resources. It would conserve one million acres of forest land and reforest an additional one million acres by 2040, while incentivizing small landowners to sustain their forests. This legislation seemed more about carbon and halting working forests than a balanced conservation, deforestation and restoration plan. There was also concern about some of the vagueness in the legislation and what we would end up with if this passed. However, the bill died in in the Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Road Usage Charge (RUC) – House Bill 2026: I have heard from many of you opposed to a road usage charge. This bill had a public hearing, but it died in the House Transportation Committee. The legislation would charge drivers the greater of a gas tax or a RUC of 2.5 cents a mile, beginning with mandatory participation from those who own electric vehicles, and then expanding on a voluntary basis to those who own hybrids and all other vehicles.
Contact my office
Please contact my office if you have questions, comments or suggestions about the upcoming 13th District virtual town hall meeting and/or other state government-related matters. My contact information is below.
Also, sign up for text alerts from Washington House Republicans. This new service is a great way to stay informed about discussions taking place in Olympia.
It is an honor to serve the great folks of the 13th Legislative District!