Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this email finds you and your family well! I want to invite everyone to a virtual town hall hosted by Sen. Sharon Brown, Rep. Matt Boehnke, and myself. Please join us on Monday, Jan. 31, from 6-7:30 p.m. Registration is needed to participate in the event. If you'd like to submit a question before the event, please email my Legislative Assistant, LJ Rohrer. I look forward to our conversation on Monday!
I also want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to fill out my survey. Your voice, thoughts, and opinions are what drives the work I do on your behalf as your State Representative. Here are the results.
Question 1: What do you believe is the top priority the Legislature should address during the 2022 session? (The responses are in order from the most important to the least important.)
- Enacting legislation to bring back a balance of power in Olympia (reform the governor's emergency powers)
- Increasing public safety (hiring more police officers, increasing police department budgets, etc.)
- Lowering your cost of living (reduce your tax burden, cost of health care, etc.)
- Providing better care for the chronically homeless and mentally ill
- Improving the quality of K-12 education, special education, etc.
- Improving programs to prevent drug addiction and assist with recovery
- Addressing transportation (congestion, gas prices, fixing roads and bridges, etc.)
- Increasing the supply of affordable housing
Question 2: Would you support legislation to fix the police reform bills passed last year?
- Yes – 79%
- No – 12%
- Other – 9%
Question 3: Regarding the long-term care insurance program and payroll tax, what do you support?
- A full repeal of the program and tax – 72%
- Fixes to the program and tax – 15%
- No changes – 5%
- Not sure – 8%
If you did not have the chance to take the survey but have a question or comment, please reach out to me. My contact information is at the bottom of this email.
We just completed our third week of the 2022 legislative session. At this point, we spend most of our time learning about, debating, and moving legislation out of our respected committees. I proudly serve on the Public Safety Committee (as the assistant ranking Republican), Children, Youth and Families Committee, and the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.
Please click here for more details and a status update on the legislation I have sponsored this session.
In my current video update, I talk about the importance of the Washington State National Guard. The Legislature recognized and honored the Guard on Wednesday, Jan. 26, through Resolution 4639.
Public safety, including victims' rights, is one of my top legislative priorities. In my video, I also talk about my House Bill 1678, creating a public registry of individuals with a violent domestic violence history. The whole purpose behind this bill is to protect people from domestic violence. It is about giving hope. It is about acknowledging how serious a problem domestic violence has become in our communities, our state, and across the nation.
I also talk about our need to act on emergency power reform and stand up for our individual rights. We need to get out from under the umbrella of the mandates our governor continues to force upon everyone. We need to honor our military personnel and the job they do every single day to protect and serve our communities, state, and nation. These mandates should not be causing our service members to be discharged for their personal medical choices. My thoughts also include government interference in doctor-patient relationships because of these vaccine mandates.
You can watch my video here or click on the photo below.
I want to take this opportunity to highlight several pieces of legislation for you. I hope you will follow the progress of these policies. They are essential to our district and region.
House Bill 1871, a great bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Klicker of the 16th Legislative District, would help create equity between Washington counties producing clean energy and the counties consuming that energy. The bill would do three things to help protect rural counties and provide more equity as the push for clean energy continues to grow.
- It would establish a short-term two-year moratorium on the siting of alternative energy facilities.
- It would establish a legislative task force to investigate possible solutions to the current inequity between clean energy-producing and energy-consuming counties. The task force would also consider how that inequity might expand dramatically with the existing approval process that evaluates each project in isolation rather than as part of a cumulative impact that will occur over decades.
- It would ask the legislative task force to consider the costs and benefits experienced by communities that have hosted the renewable energy required by the Energy Independent Act of 2006 (Initiative 937) to benefit from any lessons learned. It also directs the task force to consider the forms of economic development assistance and viewshed impairment payments that might be made to restore balance and improve community consensus about whether the clean energy transition will be beneficial for rural Washington economies.
As per the request of Gov. Inslee, House Bill 1838 is about protecting, restoring, and maintaining habitat for our salmon recovery. I know most of us agree we could do more to protect our fish habitats. The bill in question goes too far. If passed, it would require public and private landowners with certain specified exemptions who own property adjacent to a body of water identified and mapped on a riparian management zone map to establish, maintain, and protect the riparian management zone.
The bill would not apply to land with buildings and roads but to farm and agricultural lands. It would require landowners to plant trees along waterways crossing their property. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife would determine the exact width of these 'buffers.' Landowners who do not plant trees could be fined $10,000 a day.
A similar bill, Senate Bill 5882, is moving forward through the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources, and Parks. It would clarify the existence of riparian stock watering rights.
Terrible policies, such as House Bill 1838 and Senate Bill 5882, could put farms and agricultural lands out of business. I am fighting against these bills. Rep. Mark Klicker and Rep. Tom Dent introduced House Bill 2106 to provide a more thorough clarification of the existence of riparian stock watering rights.
Here are some articles and media coverage on the topic that you might find useful.
- Proposed legislation punishes rural Washington, farmers | Pacific Northwest Ag Network
- Farmers give thumbs-down to Inslee's buffer bill | Capital Press
- WSDA: Farmers in one county would lose 11,000 acres to mandatory buffers | Capital Press
- Ag interests left out in formulating riparian bill | Column by Sue Lani Madsen in The Spokesman-Review
- WA state 'buffer bill' is anti-agriculture. HB 1838 forces farmers to sacrifice land | Opinion by Pam Lewison of the Washington Policy Center in the Tri-City Herald
And finally, after seeing your survey results above and the input you provided, I believe you will find that our priorities as House Republicans coincide with your thoughts on the top issues facing the Legislature. We have introduced legislation hoping to remedy or fix many of these issues.
- House Bill 1772 – Adopting emergency powers reform
- Transportation solutions – Instead of raising taxes, this suite of bills reprioritizes our current budget surplus to help pay for transportation projects and programs.
- House Bill 1541 – Increasing funding to cities for homelessness solutions
- House Bill 1177 – Implementing the periodic review of state spending programs
- The Republican Safe Washington Plan – A suite of bills prioritizing public safety; supporting law enforcement; preventing crime and property crimes; putting victims and public safety first; addressing State v. Blake and the decriminalization of drugs; and fixing the Department of Correction.
- House Bill 1656 – Protecting retailers from theft
- House Bill 1737 – Restoring balance and common sense to police reform
- House Bill 1787 – Putting more police officers on the streets
- House Bill 1788 – Allowing law enforcement officers to engage in vehicular pursuits
- House Bill 1858 – Reducing manufacturing tax rates
- House Bill 1898 – Reducing state property tax levies
- House Bill 2015 – Providing sales tax relief by expanding the Working Families Tax Credit
Priority: Empowering parents by providing transparency and the necessary financial and educational flexibility to help their children succeed in school and life
- House Bill 1633 – Promoting school choice through the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program
- House Bill 1973 – Requiring school board meetings to be recorded
- House Bill 2042 – Establishing an education scholarship program to promote equity
- House Bill 2056 – Increasing transparency in the classroom
Please click here for more information on our priorities and a complete list and description of our bills.
As always, thank you for the opportunity and the honor to serve you, your family, and our communities as your State Representative.
May God richly bless you all!