Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature has officially passed the halfway point of the scheduled 105 day session, and the first cutoff dates are history. Cutoffs are the Legislature's self-imposed deadlines to keep the timeline of the session on track.
The Feb. 17 cutoff required that all policy bills be approved, or as we say, “reported out” of committee.
Budget-related bills had a few more days for consideration, but had to clear their committees by the close of business on Friday, Feb. 25.
At that point, our focus shifted from mostly committee work to exclusively floor sessions where all 98 House members debated, amended, approved or rejected the proposed legislation.
The next cutoff was Monday, March 7 — the deadline for bills to win approval in their house of origin. In other words, House bills not passed by the House, and Senate bills that didn't win Senate approval, are off the table for the year. Daytime hours were not enough to get the work done, so we had some long night and weekend sessions to make all of this happen.
As a side note, measures considered necessary to implement the budget are exempt from the cutoff dates and may be considered until the end of session.
More than 1,000 bills were introduced in the House this year, of which 351 passed and were sent to the Senate. Of that number, 280 were Democrat-sponsored measures, and 71 were introduced by Republicans.
You can see an overview of the “Dead or Alive” list of House bills on our House Republican Web site by clicking here.
After March 7, it was back to committee work to consider Senate-passed legislation.
Getting Washington Working Again!
House Republicans have made private-sector job creation our top priority this session. Some of our solutions include:
• Reforming workers' compensation and unemployment insurance programs to reduce costs to employers;
• Placing a moratorium on (most) new regulations;
• Eliminating all state health insurance mandates not required by federal law;
• Providing a training wage for new workers (for employers with 50 or fewer employees); and
• Streamlining the state's permitting process to remove barriers for small businesses looking to expand or locate in Washington.
Here are just a few of the policy proposals we introduced, and I have co-sponsored, to get Washington working again:
• House Bill 1150 – Would allow a business seven days, instead of two, to comply with an agency before they can issue a fine or penalty.
• House Bill 1151 – Would require that regulations drafted by an agency have specific statutory authority.
• House Bill1156 – Would create jobs by putting a freeze on new rules or regulations by state agencies until 2014, or when the economy recovers.
• House Bill 1388 – Would prohibit implementation of new energy building codes until April 1, 2012, giving the construction industry a chance to get back on its feet again.
• House Joint Resolution 4213 – Would make permanent the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes by passing a constitutional amendment.
Join us for a town meeting!
I'm pleased to be heading back home this weekend to join with the other members of the 8th District legislative team – Rep. Larry Haler and Sen. Jerome Delvin – to host four in-district town meetings Saturday, March 12, at four locations in Benton County.
During each meeting, my colleagues and I will present an overview of what's been accomplished so far during the 2011 Legislature. Following our presentations, we'll open up the forums for questions and comments from the audience. There also will be time afterward for people to talk with us individually.
Holding in-district “Town Hall” meetings where citizens can voice their opinions is one of the most important outreach services we can offer as legislators. The personal exchanges with constituents are a part of the job that I always look forward to and welcome.
The 8th District town halls are scheduled March 12 at the following locations and times:
8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
City Council Chambers
601 7th Street
10:30 a.m. – 12 noon
Kiona-Benton High School
Performing Arts Center
1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
City Council Chambers
505 Swift Boulevard
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
210 W. 6th Avenue
Everyone is welcome, and I hope you'll consider attending the meeting that's most convenient for you.
A thank you to my legislative page
Kaitlyn Landoe, an 8th grader at Kiona-Benton Middle School, recently served as a state House page. She is the 14-year-old daughter of Sig and Terri Landoe of Benton City.
As a page, Kaitlyn was responsible for delivering messages and documents to legislators in their offices, committee hearings and the House chamber during floor sessions.
In addition to her assigned duties, she also continued her regular studies for two hours a day, and attended page school learning about state government.
In my role as School Resource Officer for the Kion
a-Benton School District, I get to know a lot of the students, and Kaitlyn is one of the young people who really stands out. She's on the Honor Roll, plays on the volleyball and softball teams, and always has a cheerful attitude. I appreciate her willingness to come over to the Capitol to serve the state and community. She did a fantastic job and it was a pleasure to be her sponsor.
Legislative page program
Young men and women have come to Olympia to serve as legislative pages since 1891. To become a page, a student must have a grade-point average of C+ or better and obtain permission from their parents and school. Applicants must also have a legislative sponsor.
Additional information about the House page program can be found at: http://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Pages/HousePageProgram.aspx
Keeping in touch
Providing the people of the 8th District with conscientious and dependable leadership in Olympia is one of the greatest honors of my life.
If you have any questions, comments or ideas, please contact me. I place a high value on your thoughts and opinions, and thank you for keeping in touch as the session unfolds. It's a privilege to serve you!
Have a great Washington day!