Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are rounding the corner of the last month of the 2021 legislative session. We are finishing up the last of our committee work for the session. We will then head back to the House floor for the remainder of session to vote on bills and pass the three main state budgets – operating, transportation, and capital. I will go into details on these budgets in my next update.
I am happy to announce my House Bill 1007 unanimously passed off the virtual House and Senate floors. This bill will help social workers across Washington state complete the required supervision hours needed to obtain their license. Distance supervision will allow people across the state, especially in our rural areas, to connect with supervisors who otherwise might have been too far away. The pandemic highlighted the problem with distance learning and this update to the current statute will allow social workers to get the supervision they need to obtain their license. I look forward to this moving on to the governor's desk and ultimately signed into law.
Unfortunately, we continue to see terrible policies on the virtual House floor. On Palm Sunday, March 28, we had a long floor debate on Senate Bill 5038. This bill would prohibit the open carry of certain weapons at public demonstrations and on the Capitol campus. Both the Washington state and U.S. Constitutions are very clear on your rights to bear arms and that those rights “shall not be infringed.” This bill restricts foundational constitutional rights. This bill also ignores current law and seeks to label and shame an entire segment of our population just for exercising their constitutional rights and a longstanding state tradition.
For more on this bill, and the many amendments House Republicans tried to incorporate into this bad bill to make it slightly better but were denied, please watch my recent video update. I also talk about how you can stay involved in the legislative process and help us stop this bill in its tracks before it reaches the governor. You can watch my video by clicking on the photo below or by clicking here.
Working Washington | Applying for small business grants
The Washington State Department of Commerce opened applications for Working Washington Grants: Round 4 on March 29. Business owners can find information about the program and a link to the application portal here. The application portal will be open until 5:00 p.m. on April 9.
In late February, Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1368 which approves $240 million in funds for this current round of the Working Washington small business grant program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These grants are aimed at for-profit small businesses in industries that have hard costs associated with their operations and faced the most significant challenges because they were required to close in response to the pandemic. Hard costs include but are not limited to rent, utilities, payroll or personal protective equipment.
Eligible applications will be reviewed based on the following priority criteria:
- Industries that had to close as a result of safety and public health measures.
- Size of the business (measured by 2019 revenue).
- Lost revenue between 2019 and 2020 as well as added expenses to maintain safe operations.
To ensure equitable distribution, Commerce will also consider businesses operating in a rural or low-income community or that is owned by someone from a historically underserved population. For more information, click here.
In closing, I wanted to thank everyone who participated in our recent 8th District virtual town hall. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to spend time with us. If you were unable to attend, or have a question, concern, or issue you'd like to discuss with me, you can always contact my office. I want to hear from you! My contact information can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.
Thank you again for the opportunity and the honor to serve you, your family, and our communities as your State Representative.
May God richly bless you all!