Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this email finds you safe and healthy. We are now at the end of the second week of the 2022 session, which began Monday, Jan. 10. This is a 60-day session, which means we have a lot of work to complete in a very short time, including approving the supplemental operating, capital, and transportation budgets. However, before all that takes place, we are busy working in our separate committees to move policies through the legislative process to eventually be voted on, on the House floor.
Before I share our top priorities, I want to first thank you for your input and feedback throughout the interim and this session, so far. Please continue reaching out to me to share your questions, concerns, and bill ideas. I value your input immensely and I want to hear what's on your mind.
Environment and Energy Bills I'm Sponsoring
Coming from a long history of family farmers and as the assistant ranking member of the House Environment and Energy Committee, I've introduced three bills this session that focus on improving policies in these sectors.
Perhaps the most important one is House Bill 1871. This piece of legislation would help create equity between Washington counties producing clean energy and the counties consuming that energy. As the push for clean energy continues to grow in the state, there are numerous counties producing large amounts of non-emitting clean energy. However, there is little equity in the siting process of this clean energy movement.
The problem is most of these counties are rural and slow growing, and don't need more energy production facilities for their own use. This bill would establish a short-term moratorium on the siting of alternative energy facilities. Additionally, during that time, a legislative task force would be set up to investigate possible solutions to the current inequity between clean energy producing counties and clean energy consuming counties.
Developing a solid strategy to create a quality, clean, and transmittable energy grid for both the short- and long-term is essential for all Washingtonians. Citizens who live in rural areas are becoming frustrated and discouraged that their viewsheds are being disturbed and are concerned that environmental damage is occurring. They are not seeing local benefits or local jobs from the clean energy transformation.
Additionally, I'm sponsoring House Bill 1870. This bill would make it legal to operate a wheeled, all-terrain vehicle upon any public roadway in Washington, not including nonhighway roads and trails, having a speed limit of thirty-five miles per hour or less, subject to certain restrictions and requirements. This would help farmers and others who live in rural areas in several ways, including giving them the ability to cover more territory in less time, as well as cut fuel costs to do their work. The public hearing for HB 1870 is scheduled to be held on Monday, Jan. 24 in the House Transportation Committee.
I've also introduced House Bill 1869, which would encourage salmon recovery through voluntary stewardship. It would provide a voluntary option for cities and counties that plan to incorporate salmon recovery into their planning under the Growth Management Act. It would also do it in a way that provides for meaningful and measurable improvement in the protection and enhancement of habitat for anadromous fish.
Additionally, the bill would accomplish this without increasing the liability of cities and counties and their taxpayers, and in a way that encourages rather than discourages the voluntary participation of private landowners in projects that will improve habitat in a watershed.
We Need to Stop House Bill 1838
Speaking of helping salmon in our state, I also want to make you aware of House Bill 1838, which is very alarming. The bill, titled: “Protecting, restoring, and maintaining habitat for salmon recovery,” goes way too far.
This piece of legislation, which received a public hearing earlier this week in the House Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee, would require landowners to set aside large, mandatory riparian buffers on each side of streams on their land to help salmon. Additionally, landowners who don't plant trees along waterways crossing their property would be subject to $10,000 daily fines.
However, as the dozens of farmers and other opponents testified in committee, passing this policy would devastate agriculture in Washington state. Huge chunks of farmland would be taken out of production, which would severely damage state food systems. Opponents also point out that HB 1838 was created without stakeholder input, and as a result is an unfunded mandate that would nullify the Voluntary Stewardship Program.
This legislation does not consider the impact on farmers' ability to make a living, on their property, or to Washington's food supply. It simply goes too far. Please continue to make your voice heard regarding HB 1838.
House Republican Priorities
House Republicans are focused on several other urgent priorities this session, as we continue to offer real solutions to the many issues and problems our state is facing. You can learn more here. The following are our top priorities and the legislation we have introduced to address these issues:
Providing tax relief and making life more affordable for all Washingtonians:
- House Bill 1898: Reducing state property tax levies
- House Bill 1594: Repealing the long-term care trust act and payroll tax
- House Bill 1913: Repealing and replacing the long-term care trust and payroll tax
- House Bill 2015: Expanding the Working Families Tax Credit
- House Bill 1858: Reducing manufacturing tax rates
Strengthening communities by making public safety a priority and supporting effective community policing:
- House Bill 1737: Restoring balance and common sense to police reform
- House Bill 1788: Allowing law enforcement to chase suspects
- House Bill 1787: Putting more police officers on the streets
- House Bill 1656: Protecting our retailers from theft
- House Bill 1873: Stopping catalytic converter thefts
Holding state government accountable, improving outcomes, and enacting emergency powers reform:
- House Bill 1772: Adopting emergency powers reform
- House Bill 1541: Increasing funding to cities for homelessness solutions
- House Bill 1177: Implementing the periodic review of state spending programs
- House Bill 1178: Improving state budgeting through zero-based budget reviews
- Transportation solutions: Reprioritizing Existing Appropriations for Longevity (REAL) Act
Empowering parents by providing transparency and the necessary financial and educational flexibility to help their children succeed in school and in life:
- House Bill 1973: Requiring school board meetings to be recorded
- House Bill 1633: Promoting school choice through the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program
- House Bill 1215: Establishing an education scholarship program to promote equity
Being a Part of the Legislative Process
Meeting remotely is not easy, but you can still share your input. Every legislative committee will be offering remote testimony options. You can testify online via Zoom, by phone, or submit written comments, from the comfort of your home, or anywhere you have Internet access.
Here are some helpful links:
Stay Connected with the Legislature
You can also track everything going on in the Legislature with the following links:
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 Bill| Click 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
I appreciate all those who reach out to me and offer their input. Your comments and ideas are extremely valuable as I do everything I can to be your voice in the legislative process. It's an honor to represent you and I thank you for your trust. Whether it's in-person or virtually, my door is always open. Please use the contact information below to connect with me. Thank you for your support.
It's an honor to represent the 16th District.