Dear Friends and Neighbors,
State lawmakers reached their first deadline of the 2023 legislative session today: policy committee cutoff. This means all bills needed to pass out of their respective policy committees in their house of origin by today, or they are considered “dead” for the legislative session. Although, no bill is ever officially “dead” until the gavel drops on the last day.
These deadlines are helpful to state lawmakers, constituents and stakeholders engaged in the legislative process. Each one helps narrow down the universe of legislation being considered. You can find the 2023 Session Cutoff Calendar here.
Issues I hear about the most
New major airport site
Many of you have contacted me to share your thoughts on various issues and bills. One of the issues I hear about the most is the new major airport sites being considered for our state. I’ll reiterate what I said in my video update last Friday — at this point, major airport proposals for Pierce and Thurston counties are unlikely to proceed. Opposition to these sites continues to be organized and effective. I think you know where I stand.
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced to basically restart the process. House Bill 1791, which would study the need for increased commercial aviation services, received a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee yesterday.
Abolishing advisory votes | House Bill 1158
House Bill 1158, and its companion Senate Bill 5082, would repeal the requirement that advisory votes for tax increase legislation appear on the ballot and in the voters’ pamphlet. While House Bill 1158 did not move forward, Senate Bill 5082 passed the Senate — on a mostly party-line vote — and is now in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.
I oppose these measures. First, advisory votes that appear on the ballot were established through I-960 in 2007. I respect the will of the voters. Second, I believe Washingtonians should not only be apprised of tax increases passed by the Legislature but have an opportunity to weigh in on them. These results inform state lawmakers. For example, in 2019, nearly 63% of voters said a new tax on wages to fund a new state program for long-term health care services should be repealed in Advisory Vote No. 20.
Establishing the Domestic Violent Extremism Commission | House Bill 1333
House Bill 1333 would create the Domestic Violent Extremism Commission. I join my Republican colleagues on the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee in opposition to this bill.
Does our state face threats of domestic extremism? Yes. Let me be clear on that. We face threats from people on all sides who want to tear us down. However, this does not create the need for a new bureaucratic commission that would likely be politicized.
We have local, state and federal law enforcement to identify and address threats. We also have state and federal court systems to prosecute those involved in criminal activities. I think anyone looking at this objectively will see this bill for what it is and understand why state lawmakers vote “no.”
House Republican priorities
House Republicans understand people are struggling with inflation and higher costs. And that’s why we have again proposed meaningful, broad-based tax relief.
We know crime is rampant in many communities and important tools have been taken away from law enforcement. House Republicans have again introduced bills to make communities safer, including measures to combat auto theft, fund law enforcement and restore the previous standard for vehicular pursuits — to name a few.
House Republicans have also put real solutions on the table to address our state’s housing crisis, a crisis exacerbated by both the actions and inaction of the majority party. We are optimistic progress can finally be made on this issue this year. I talk about some of these proposals in my weekly video update.
Finally, we want to empower families — all families. This includes expanding the Working Families Tax Credit, helping students recover from learning loss and providing school choice.
I welcome you to contrast these priorities with those of the majority party. While it’s true that most bills in the Legislature pass with bipartisan support, it’s the controversial measures that pass — and other legislation that gets ignored — that ultimately define legislative sessions and our state’s trajectory on critical issues.
Participating in the legislative process
One of my colleagues, Rep. Peter Abbarno, recently created this video which explains how to communicate with state lawmakers and participate in the legislative process. This new webpage has both Peter’s video and simple, step-by-step instructions. Both are great resources.
The week ahead
Next Friday is fiscal committee cutoff. That means a lot of work and possibly late nights in the House Appropriations, Capital, Finance and Transportation committees next week. You can find our week ahead calendar here.