Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this email finds you and your family well! We are heading into the final weeks of the 2022 legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn on March 10.
We have finished the work in our committees for the session and will head back to the House floor this week to debate and vote on the bills that came over from the Senate.
In this e-newsletter, I will give you a policy update, including the bills that threaten your Second Amendment rights and how we can empower our law enforcement officers.
I know all of us don't always agree on everything all the time, but please know, I still value hearing from you! I enjoy our respectful dialogues, even when we disagree on the issue. I always welcome any feedback or thoughts on my priorities and the solutions I have introduced, my stance on issues, or anything else I've mentioned in this e-newsletter.
I want to thank everyone who continues to contact my office with your frustrations, concerns, and questions about the policies moving through the Legislature threatening your Second Amendment rights.
Senate Bill 5078 – known as the high-capacity magazine ban – would limit the number of rounds in a firearm magazine. The majority party has tried to implement this ban several times and has failed each time. Right now, this policy is moving through the Legislative process. It passed the Senate chamber on a party-line vote, and the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee also along party lines. I, along with my Republican colleagues, are ready for a significant fight and debate on the House floor should this bill come before the full chamber in the coming week.
House Bill 1705 would ban so-called “ghost guns.” Many politicians believe because of these firearms' inability to be traced entirely, they should be banned from existence. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize that “ghost guns” obtained by law enforcement officers at crime scenes are more than likely firearms that a criminal has etched off and removed the serial number. All this bill would do is empower criminals and those who do not care about the law and make criminals out of law-abiding citizens who enjoy putting together their own firearms, many of whom are former military personnel or retired law enforcement professionals. This bill passed the House chamber on a party-line vote, and the Senate Committee on Law and Justice also along party lines. This bill should advance to the full Senate chamber in the coming week.
House Bill 1630 would establish restrictions on carrying and possessing firearms and other weapons in areas used in connection with meetings of local governments, school district board meetings, and certain election-related facilities. This bill is not about public safety and making communities safer. I believe this will create horrible unintended consequences. This bill passed the House chamber on a party-line vote and the Senate Committee on Law and Justice also along party lines. This bill should advance to the full Senate chamber in the coming week.
With violent crime on the rise and the push for early release of violent criminals out of prison, we should not be taking away the constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding citizens! I am adamantly opposed to any legislation limiting your ability to defend yourself, your family, neighbors, community, or business.
During a time of increased crime and an attack on our public safety sector, the majority party continues to pass legislation to embolden criminal behavior and weaken our law enforcement officers' ability to do their jobs. I will repeat it: We should empower law enforcement professionals to keep our communities and families safe while holding criminals accountable for unacceptable and unlawful behavior.
I have talked at length about the devastating and life-threatening impacts the flawed police reform legislation enacted in 2021 has caused our law enforcement officers, communities, and the state. Alongside my Republican colleagues, public safety remains one of our top priorities.
There was a slight push to fix some of last year's legislation flaws. I supported House Bill 2037, sponsored by the House Public Safety Committee Chairman Rep. Roger Goodman provides definitions on the use of force standards so law enforcement officers can do their job. I do not think this bill goes far enough, but we need something.
The Senate has offered their version of House Bill 2037 in Senate Bill 5919. This bill would provide more precise definitions of the use of force standards and incorporate reasonable suspicion back into law enforcement officers' abilities to perform vehicular pursuits. I hope the provision of vehicular pursuit remains a component of this bill as it moves through the final stages of the legislative process. Law enforcement professionals support and prefer Senate Bill 5919 over House Bill 2037.
Washington state is fourth in the nation regarding catalytic converter theft, and the problem is only getting worse. I introduced House Bill 1873 that would require catalytic converters to be added to the list of items for which scrap metal dealers must keep sales records and prohibit the sale of catalytic converters by anyone other than a commercial enterprise or the private sector vehicle owner, and increases the seriousness of repeated offenses.
Rather than take a stand against these crimes, we passed a band-aid solution in House Bill 1815 to create a workgroup to study the problem and work with key stakeholders to find solutions. Again, this is another bill I do not think goes far enough to fix the problem and hold criminals accountable for their actions, but it is better than doing nothing, and that's why I voted yes.
I was disappointed these Republican-sponsored public safety bills will not see any further action this session:
- House Bill 1788 – Allowing law enforcement to chase suspects when there is reasonable suspicion a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a criminal offense.
- House Bill 1656 – Changing the definition of theft to include concealment to curb the rise in retail theft.
- House Bill 1787 – Increasing funding for law enforcement officers' recruitment, retention, and support.
- House Bill 1737 – Rolling back several harmful provisions passed in last year's police reform bills, restoring tactics and tools to help police bring criminals to justice and help keep communities safe.
We had a marathon floor, 9.5-hour debate on House Bill 1837. This policy would overturn a 2003 initiative prohibiting state ergonomic regulations beyond federal OSHA regulations. This terrible policy would make things more expensive for consumers and negatively impact every part of our state economy. I am proud of my Republican colleagues for not letting an all-night debate derail us from standing up and fighting for consumers, small businesses, and jobs across Washington state. This bill passed the House chamber in one of the closest votes we have had in a long time – 50-48. It would not have advanced if this bill had been a 49-49 tie. I commend my Democrat colleagues who joined us in voting against this bad bill.
House Republican-sponsored bills still actively moving through the legislative process include:
- House Bill 1973 – Requiring school board meetings to be recorded.
- House Bill 2044 – Protecting critical constituent and state operational data against the financial and personal harm caused by ransomware and other malicious cyberattacks.
- House Bill 1286 – Adopting the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact in Washington, removing a significant barrier to access and ensuring continuity of care is available for individuals struggling with mental and behavioral health challenges.
- House Bill 1877 – Reducing unnecessary regulations to ease the state's caregiver shortage.
Bad Democrat-sponsored bills still actively moving through the legislative process include:
- House Bill 1770 – Enacting net-zero energy reduction regulations to the state energy code for new buildings. This would make it harder for families to afford their first home.
- Senate Bill 5036 – Allowing criminals, including those serving life in prison, to apply for shorter sentences.
Bad Democrat-sponsored bills that did not pass the House include:
- House Bill 1692 – Eliminating drive-by shooting as a cause for elevating a murder charge to aggravated murder.
- House Bill 1838 – Creating riparian management zones, effectively killing much of the state's farmland.
- House Bill 1767 – Adopting a targeted electrification plan that would result in significant utility bill increases.
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!