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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This has been a busy interim and we have a lot to work on in the coming session, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 10, and last 60 days. I have enjoyed getting out to meet with many of you in our district and seeing the positive things going on in our communities. Thank you to all who have reached out to me with your input and ideas. It makes it possible for me to serve you and be your voice in Olympia.

Energy and Environmental Bills for 2022

As this session approaches, I have several bills in the works aimed at ongoing energy and environmental issues. I will have a lot more details in the coming weeks as these bills are officially introduced and heard in the House Environment and Energy Committee.

One of those bills has to do with alternative energy and the other bill would help counties and cities to protect the environment by incentive-based solutions. Again, I will be sharing more about these bills in the coming weeks, as well as the other bills I'm currently working on. Stay tuned to my website and sign up for my email updates for more details.

Police Reform Must Addressed

During the interim I've had numerous conversations with the public, as well as law enforcement officers regarding the new policing laws that went into effect this past July, including my son who is a police officer. I've heard dozens of concerns about these extreme and unbalanced police reform laws.

Police chiefs, sheriffs, and officers have expressed their confusion and frustration over these new laws and how they have often tied their hands when it comes to doing their jobs and keeping our communities safe. Criminals are taking advantage of their opportunities to commit crimes and simply walk away without accountability or punishment. Crime continues to increase in Washington and many of our law enforcement officers are frustrated.

Most law enforcement officers are hard-working, honorable professionals who risk their safety every day for the rest of the community. Like anyone else, officers should be held accountable if they act in a way that's inconsistent with their professional expectations. But they should not be held to an impossible standard.

House Republicans are united in our efforts to improve these police reform laws and find fair and balanced solutions for all involved. We can't put our communities at risk of more crime and leave our officers' hands tied to do anything about it. Our goal is to restore the tools law enforcement officers need to do their job and preserve public safety.

Long-Term Care Payroll Tax Is Another Burden for Washingtonians

I have also heard from many of you regarding the new long-term care tax going into effect Jan. 1, 2022. This is a poorly written law that hurts our entire state, while benefitting almost no one. When the House majority in the Legislature passed HB 1087 back in 2019, we fought against this effort, pointing out the many flaws in the program, including:

  • The lifetime benefit of only $36,500 is much less than what many people will pay into the program over the course of their lives, and it may only pay for a few months of services.
  • People who live outside of Washington but work in the state will have to pay into the program but will not be able to use it.
  • The plan is not portable, meaning if you choose to move from Washington after you retire, you cannot use it.
  • The opt-out window of just a couple months was way too short for many people to act.
  • Many people who wanted to purchase a private plan were not able to before the deadline.
  • Many high earners having already opted out and the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Commission has expressed concern whether the program is actuarily viable. That could mean the majority will have to raise the tax even higher to fund the program.

There's no question that long-term care insurance can be very important for many people, but it should not be mandated by the government. I believe everyone should be able to make that choice. House Republicans are working on legislation to stop the tax and repeal HB 1087. Additionally, we have called for a repeal of this payroll tax, and recently several opponents of the mandatory tax filed a class action lawsuit seeking to stop the January start of the program.

This is just another example of state government overstepping its bounds and taxing people unnecessarily. It's time to stop asking for more.

2022 Session Operations – More Remote Work Ahead

As you know, the entire 2021 session was done remotely. While Republicans and some Democrats have been pushing for the Legislature to get back to a full in-person session in 2022, that is not going to happen.

We just recently learned, that like last year, all committee hearings will be remote. As for floor action, representatives who can verify their vaccination status will be allowed in the House chamber and their offices. However, offices in the John L. O'Brien Building (JLOB) and House offices located in the Legislative Building will remain closed to the public and guests. The public can be in the gallery if they have provided verification of vaccine or a negative test within 72 hours of attending.

Although this arrangement will be better than a complete remote session, it will still present challenges as we work to do the business of the people of Washington. However, together with my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus, I will do whatever it takes to see that your voice is heard in Olympia this session.

Please make sure your voice is heard during House and Senate committee meetings. If you want to participate, you can testify on any bill from anywhere you have internet access. I encourage you to do so! Use this links to sign up to testify remotely:

Remote committee testimony

Stay Connected with the Legislature

You can also track everything going on in the Legislature. Here are some links that will help:

My legislative website | Here you will 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. Click on the link to subscribe. 
The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
The Ledger| A legislative news aggregator.
Legislature's website | Here you can find bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
Tracking a BillClick here to find information on specific bills. In addition, when you visit my website you can easily view the legislation I'm sponsoring or co-sponsoring by clicking Sponsored Bills.”

Thank You and Please Reach Out

As your state representative, I value your input and feedback. I'm here to represent everyone in the 16th District. I really hope you'll reach out to me throughout the upcoming session. If you have any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns, my door is always open. You can connect with me via the contact information below. I also have a legislative assistant who is always available to assist you during business hours. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.

It's my honor.

Sincerely,


Mark Klicker

State Representative Mark Klicker, 16th Legislative District
representativemarkklicker.com
410 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
mark.klicker@leg.wa.gov
(509) 240-1638 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000