Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this email finds you and your family well! One of the most intense 60-day sessions concluded on March 10. We worked on policy surrounding public safety, emergency powers reform, the long-term care insurance program and payroll tax, transportation, and a historic $15 billion operating budget surplus.
As the minority party, we did our best to work across the aisle with our majority party colleagues on all issues by offering practical, common sense, and fiscally responsible solutions to the challenges brought before the Legislature. Our solutions were meant to make policy better and give tax relief to you – the taxpayer.
Parents matter. As a member of the House Children, Youth and Families Committee, one of my passions and priorities is empowering parents and the decisions you make on behalf of your children. I believe transparency is crucial to ensuring trust in our K-12 education system. Parents deserve a say in your children's education and have a right to know what is being taught in the classroom. You also deserve the financial and educational flexibility necessary for school choice to become a reality.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit several schools throughout our district and present my House Resolution 4649 to parents, teachers, and students. My resolution honors the parents and families of Washington state's students. I will always be a voice and advocate for parental rights!
My House Republican colleagues also offered legislation this session to:
- Establish regional apprenticeship programs through Educational Service Districts (ESDs) | House Bill 1536
- Promote school choice through the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program | House Bill 1633
- Establish an education scholarship program | House Bill 2042
- Require school board meetings be recorded | House Bill 1973
- Increase transparency in the classroom | House Bill 2056
2022 Legislative Session Review
If you haven't already received your 2022 Legislative Review newsletter, it should be hitting your mailbox soon. This newsletter will give you a comprehensive breakdown of the major highlights from the 2022 session.
Funding for projects coming to the 8th District through the capital budget
We must continue to improve, find real solutions, and have access to more funding for the issues and projects that matter most to the people of rural Washington. For these reasons, I supported the $1.5 billion bipartisan supplemental capital budget.
The 8th District received approximately $2 million in additional funding through this budget for local projects, including:
- $500,000 for the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic. Funding will allow for an additional 2,000 dental appointments to be made by residents.
- $270,000 for a replacement boat for Columbia Basin Dive Rescue, a not-for-profit, all-volunteer agency that provides water rescue and recovery services to law enforcement, fire, and other emergency service agencies.
Our region remains the only metropolitan area in Washington state that lacks the proper detoxification inpatient residential facility for those suffering from substance abuse disorder. I remain proud of our communities' hard work and partnerships to secure $2.75 million in the 2021-23 capital budget and an additional $1.5 million in this supplemental budget for the Three Rivers Behavioral Health Recovery Center. This facility will provide life-saving resources, services, and treatment. When we work together, we can achieve great things!
End of session wrap-up
- As a co-sponsor of House Bill 1785, we ensured Washington State Patrol troopers and sergeants are paid comparable wages to top law enforcement agencies in the state.
- We provided clarification and definitions for our law enforcement professionals as minor fixes to the flawed police reform bills of 2021 through House Bills 1719, 1735, and 2037.
- We established programs and measures to prevent suicide among veterans and military members through House Bill 1181.
A few disappointments:
- It has now been over 800 days since the governor has been the sole decision-maker in our state. Unfortunately, during the 2022 session, there was no movement to reduce the governor's emergency powers authority. Two bills were introduced to restore balance and trust in state government – House Bill 1772 and Senate Bill 5909. Unfortunately, neither bill was passed during the 2022 session.
- Despite a historic $15 billion surplus, there was no meaningful tax relief, including a one-time sales tax holiday. Plus, the supplemental operating budget is the largest in state history.
- There was a lack of bipartisanship and working across the aisle to enact policy that affects everyone in our state. The $17 billion transportation package is partisan, raises fees on all Washingtonians, and ignores many parts of our state.
- Even though we made some progress in fixing some of the flawed police reform policies, there was one area we failed to provide clarity and fix – vehicular pursuits.
I'm heading into an election-year cycle which means my legislative communications will be put under what's known as an election-year freeze beginning Monday, May 16, until the election is certified by the Secretary of State in late November.
It's important to note that the freeze does not restrict me from responding to your emails, phone calls, and messages. I'm also not restricted from having in-person meetings with you, so don't hesitate to contact me as you usually would.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My legislative office phone number is (360) 786-7882. My remote district phone number is (509) 317-8471.
Stay in touch!
Even though the session has ended, I am still your State Representative year-round. Please continue to reach out with any questions, concerns, or ideas you might have. I hope to see you around the great 8th District this interim!
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!