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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have almost reached the policy cutoff point of the 2022 legislative session. Thursday is the last day to pass any bills out of committee in their house of origin, with the exception of bills that affect state revenues.
We have been busy the last three and a half weeks considering many issues and offering real solutions. Next week, we'll begin several consecutive days debating and passing bills on the House floor. Before I get into some of those issues, I want to thank everyone that has participated in the process, whether through meeting with me or by testifying in committee. You are a vital part of the legislative process.
The Latest on My Legislation: Energy, Salmon, and ATVs
I want to give you an update on the three main bills I'm sponsoring this session.
House Bill 1871 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.
This bill has garnered a lot of attention from all over the state, including articles from several papers, with most people speaking in favor of the bill. It has not passed out of the House Environment and Energy Committee yet, but it could pass this week.
House Bill 1869 would encourage salmon recovery through voluntary stewardship. It would provide an option for local governments 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 local governments and their taxpayers, and in a way that encourages rather than discourages the voluntary participation of private landowners in projects that would improve habitat in a watershed. This bill has had a public hearing in the House Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee, however it has not passed out of committee at this time.
On the plus side, House Bill 1838, which would've required landowners to set aside large, mandatory riparian buffers on each side of streams on their land to help salmon, did not make it out of committee. Thankfully, this legislation did not go further because, among other things, it did not consider the impact on farmers' ability to make a living, on their property, or to Washington's food supply.
House Bill 1870 has also received a public hearing. It would make it legal to operate a wheeled, all-terrain vehicle upon any public roadway in Washington, not including non-highway roads and trails, having a speed limit of thirty-five miles per hour or less, subject to certain restrictions and requirements. The bill is still alive, and it could be passed out of the House Transportation Committee within the next few days.
Update on Emergency Powers Reform
There is some good news on the push to reform the governor's emergency powers. Republicans have been calling for reform for more than a year and have presented several ideas to restore the Legislature's voice to the decision-making process. Those pleas have gone mostly ignored.
However, this week, Rep. Chris Corry, R-Yakima, testified in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committeeon his emergency powers reform bill, House Bill 1772. This legislation would allow the governor to act quickly during an emergency but limit that extraordinary executive authority to 60 days. If more time is needed, the Legislature could add on another 60 days, and it could do that as many times as it wants.
Additionally, another bill regarding emergency powers reform from the Senate is also being considered. Lawmakers heard testimony last week on Senate Bill 5909 from Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, that would allow the four legislative leaders — the minority and majority leaders in the House and Senate — to cancel a state of emergency after 90 days. We will continue to push for reform, and I will keep you posted on any updates.
Positive Steps Forward in Police Reform Bills
There has also been some progress with our efforts to change the bad police reform bills passed last year. However, nothing has passed the full House that would fix House Bill 1054, which only allows pursuit in a few, narrow instances such as for a violent crime. There could be something coming from the Senate, but we won't know for sure until the end of the week.
There have been some bills to change House Bill 1310, which limits the circumstances under which police can detain suspects. This has led to negative consequences and hindered law enforcement's ability to help vulnerable people in need.
House Bill 1735 passed last week. This is on the civil side of use of force and mainly intended for vulnerable persons and those experiencing a behavioral/mental health crisis. However, it does not include a definition of what constitutes physical force. The good news is House Bill 2037, which provides these definitions, is scheduled for a vote in the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday.
Another bill we are still watching that would bring some “fixes” to the legislation passed last year, is House Bill 1788, which is scheduled to be voted on tomorrow. This would allow law enforcement officers to conduct vehicular pursuits with reasonable suspicion that a person has committed or is committing a crime.
Please stay tuned to my updates, and I will keep you posted.
New Text Alert System
You can now receive the latest news and information directly to your cell phone, via the House Republicans' new text alert system. Just click on the image below to sign up.
Please Stay in Touch
As your state representative, I value your input and I'm here to represent the people of the 16th District. I look forward to hearing from you, so please don't hesitate to reach out to me, if you have any questions, ideas, or concerns. I'm always here to listen. You can connect with me via email, phone, or Zoom. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
410 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000