Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In my most recent video update, recorded this past Friday, I ended my remarks by urging viewers to get involved in the legislative process. However, I realize that can be a daunting task if you don't know where to start, so I wanted to provide you with some links that I hope will be helpful as this 105-day session progresses.
- Follow House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook, and please share our posts. Every share makes a difference.
- Sign up for the Capitol Buzz—a weekday summary of the biggest online news stories from across the state.
- Bookmark the News and Media page on the House Republican website. There, you'll find every news release, op-ed, radio interview and video update from all 41 members of our caucus.
- Watch TVW's “Legislative Review,” which airs nightly and gives viewers a 15-minute overview of what happened that day at the Capitol.
- Visit the Washington State Legislature's website to view a list of bills by topic.
First major session deadline arrives
We have now passed the first major deadline of the 2019 session, policy committee cutoff. All bills that did not advance out of their respective policy committees are now considered “dead” for the year unless deemed necessary to implement the budget. I wanted to provide you with a list of both good and bad bills that survived cutoff.
- House Bill 1106 would require hospitals to notify patients of the availability of sexual assault exam kits.
- House Bill 1231 would eliminate the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes involving children, including rape and molestation.
- House Bill 1348 would reduce the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturers, which would help bolster economic growth in small towns across Washington state.
- House Bill 1448 would establish the “Veteran Service Officer Program,” which would fund a full-time position for veteran services in rural counties.
- House Bill 1606 would give the Community Economic Revitalization Board the authority to make broadband loans and grants to any local government or federally-recognized tribe to finance infrastructure for high-speed, open-access broadband service.
- House Bill 1940 would require the Department of Natural Resources to place its emphasis on immediate response rather than cost when deploying firefighting assets within the first 48 hours of a wildfire.
- House Bill 1110 would create a low carbon fuel standard, similar to the one implemented in California. According to testimony on the bill, it would cost an additional 17 cents per gallon of fuel to achieve a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2028—the stated goal of the bill. We already have the second-highest gas tax in the nation. This bill would put us at #1.
- House Bill 1068, which was requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, would make it unlawful for Washingtonians to possess firearm magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
- House Bill 1211, which was requested by Gov. Inslee, would mandate that all electric utility companies be carbon-free by 2045, while creating stiff penalties for noncompliance. According to Puget Sound Energy, this bill could cause electricity customers' monthly utility bills to climb by at least $10 per month by 2025.
- House Bill 1523 is another bill that was requested by Gov. Inslee. Known as the “public option” bill, it would require the Washington State Health Care Authority to contract with an insurance company to offer a government-designed public option plan by 2021. Beginning in 2025, private insurance companies would be barred from offering plans that did not meet specific government guidelines, meaning only government-designed plans would be available. This bill, by design, would reduce choice for patients in the individual market. It wouldn't help fix the affordability crisis in health care, and the government-designed plans would likely require massive subsidies that would shift the cost of health care elsewhere in the market.
- House Bill 1515 is a bill I've talked about a lot this session. As originally written, it would have made it more difficult for many self-employed individuals to continue being classified as independent contractors for tax and benefit purposes, thus requiring them to work for an employer. After enormous pushback, it was turned into a study bill. However, the original bill could still be revived next year.
There are dozens of other bad bills making their way through the legislative process, while Democrats also continue to discuss massive tax increases. It's clear they're feeling emboldened with larger majorities in the House and Senate, and I expect them to continue to go as far left as they can this session.
Bigger government, higher taxes, more spending. That's the game plan.
The best way to stop them is by helping us spread the word about how much damage their proposals would cause. Send this update to your family and friends, post it on Facebook, follow us on social media and share our posts, etc. Republicans in the House and Senate can win these fights, but only with your help.