Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now more than a third of the way through the 2017 legislative session, and our first major deadline — policy committee cutoff — is almost here. As of 5 p.m. tonight, any non-fiscal bills will need to have passed out of their respective committees or they'll be considered “dead” for the year.
In this update, I wanted to provide you with a list of key House Republican bills and where they're at in the legislative process. While some will not make it out of committee this year, I am proud of the many pieces of legislation we've put forward to emphasize our three main priorities as a caucus:
- 1. Provide students with a world-class education
2. Empower families and strengthen communities
3. Protect taxpayers and hold state agencies accountable
Provide students with a world-class education
House Bill 1021 (Rep. MacEwen) would create a standalone budget for K-12 education, fully funding basic education with existing revenues without relying on new taxes.
House Bill 1017 (Rep. McCaslin) would allow for the building of schools and school facilities in all land-use zones, including rural lands.
House Bill 1310 (Rep. Manweller) would provide students with a safe, anonymous reporting system to tell teachers and administrators of any concerns about unsafe or violent school-based activities.
House Bill 1375 (Rep. Van Werven) would require community and technical colleges to: 1) include the costs of required textbooks and course materials in the online course catalog during the registration process, or 2) provide a direct link to a bookstore so students can view cost information.
House Bill 1768 (Rep. Stambaugh) would reduce the cost of textbooks for college students by expanding access to open education resources (OER) at the state's four-year colleges.
Empower families and strengthen communities
House Bill 1525 (Rep. Griffey) would establish the Economic Revitalization Act, providing common-sense direction for the application of the Growth Management Act by reaffirming that local governments have broad authority to make decisions that will provide family-wage jobs and increase opportunities for hard-working taxpayers in communities with deteriorating economies.
House Bill 1123 (Rep. Condotta) would create the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority to manage financial resources for the development of a statewide tourism marketing plan.
House Bill 1051 (Rep. DeBolt) would provide public infrastructure grants for rural counties.
House Bill 1457 (Rep. Irwin) would ease the tax burden on working families by providing a “back-to-school” sales tax holiday.
I recorded a video update earlier this week that provides an overview of the Hirst Decision and how it is already impacting families in our rural communities. Take a look.
Protect taxpayers and hold state agencies accountable
House Bill 1817 (Rep. Stokesbary) would establish a zero-based budget review process to provide more thorough analysis of the programs and services provided by state agencies and to better prioritize the expenditure of public resources.
House Bill 1818 (Rep. Stokesbary) would require bills that enact a new statutory state spending program to include a state spending performance statement.
House Bill 1287 (Rep. Chandler) would requires certain collective bargaining sessions involving contract negotiations to be open to the public.
House Bill 1005 (Rep. Taylor) would require state agencies to justify the rules they already have in place and decreases their authority to create new ones, except in emergencies and with fish and wildlife regulations.
House Bill 1120 (Rep. Smith) would correct the serious issues uncovered by the Washington State Auditor's Office regarding the implementation and impact of Washington's Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA) on our state's small businesses.
Please continue to contact me with your questions, comments and concerns about the 2017 legislative session. It is an honor to serve you.