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I hope you and your loved ones are well.

Here in Olympia, we have been busy. There are just three weeks left in the short 60-day legislative session, and I have much to update you on.

First, I want to invite you to join me and the rest of your 14th Legislative District delegation, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, for our virtual town hall coming up this Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity for us to provide you with an update on what we are focused on in the final weeks of session. More importantly, it’s a chance for you to engage with us by asking questions or sharing your thoughts and concerns. I hope you can join us. Please see the details below. You can register here.

Bad Bills

As the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, I remain focused on stopping any bills that will cost you more money. Unfortunately, the majority Democrats have passed some very concerning bills out of the House that will only hurt our state.

Among the worst – House Bill 2114 – rent control. This bill narrowly passed the House last week despite every House Republican and four Democrats voting against it. This policy will push investors, developers, and landlords out of Washington while driving up housing costs. It is the opposite of what we should do to increase affordable housing supply. We continue to fight this policy as it moves through the Senate.

Click the image below to watch Rep. Corry’s “no” vote speech on rent control

Get Involved

The rent control bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee this Thursday, Feb. 22, at 1:30 p.m. You can watch the hearing here. You can get involved by providing in-person testimony at the committee hearing, testifying remotely, or providing written testimony.

Sign up to provide remote testimony here.

Sign up to provide written testimony here.

I am also very concerned about House Bill 1893, which would allow striking workers in Washington to receive up to four weeks of unemployment benefits. Despite five Democrats joining all House Republicans to vote against this terrible policy, the majority still had the votes to pass it in the House. It quickly received a public hearing in Senate Labor and Commerce Committee and passed out of the committee.

Click the image below to watch Rep. Corry explain his “no” vote on providing unemployment benefits to striking workers

Insurance Tax

I wanted to highlight House Bill 2476, a proposal from House Democrats that would create a “covered lives tax” on health insurance providers to cover the cost of a long-overdue increase to Medicaid reimbursement rates in Washington state. I strongly support raising the Medicaid reimbursement rates, as Washington state has one of the lowest rates in the nation and that is having a terrible ripple effect on our health care system. However, a new tax is not the answer.

I have teamed up with Rep. Spencer Hutchins, R-Gig Harbor, to propose an alternative – House Bill 2449 – using cannabis revenue to cover the Medicaid reimbursement rate increase. The majority party has ignored it despite a hearing being held on their covered lives tax proposal last week. So far, their bill has not been scheduled for a committee vote, but I will keep an eye on its progress and push for our bill to be heard.

READ: Reps. Corry, Hutchins propose funding Medicaid reimbursement rate Increase with cannabis dollars

WATCH: Committee hearing on the covered lives tax proposal here

Initiatives to the Legislature

On Friday, we learned three of the six initiatives to the Legislature will receive public hearings, and three will not. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have agreed to hold joint committee hearings on Tuesday, Feb. 27, and Wednesday, Feb. 28, for the following initiatives to the Legislature:

  • I-2113 (police pursuits)
  • I-2111 (prohibiting personal income taxes)
  • I-2081 (parents’ bill of rights)

Initiatives to the Legislature not getting a hearing:

  • I-2117 (carbon tax repeal)
  • I-2109 (capital gains tax repeal)
  • I-2124 (opt-out of long-term care insurance/tax)

The majority’s decision not to hold public hearings on three of these initiatives is disappointing and ignores the will of the hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians who signed them. That said, I am glad the people will be heard on the other three initiatives that will receive hearings. The hearings are not yet on the schedule. I will update you once the hearings are scheduled and let you know how you can weigh in.

Good News

One of the worst bills we have seen all session was Senate Bill 5770. As I mentioned in my previous update, it would have dramatically increased property taxes for everyone in Washington state to help cities and counties obtain the additional revenue they need. This was a tone-deaf proposal, which I also answered with an alternative proposal that was ignored by the majority. However, we were able to draw enough attention to the bill to get the people of this state to send a strong message to the majority to stop this bad policy in its tracks, for now. I anticipate Democrats will continue to push this dangerous proposal in future sessions.

Lastly, I wanted to share House Bill 2441, my bill that creates a pilot program for Heritage University in Toppenish to provide free College in the High School credits to rural and underserved public high school students. It was passed unanimously in the House and is quickly moving through the Senate. This will greatly benefit students in the Yakima Valley who can earn college credits while they are still in high school. I will keep you informed on its progress.

We will have more to share on these issues and many others at our 14th District virtual town hall this upcoming Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. You can register here.

I hope you can join us!

Sincerely,


Chris Corry

State Representative Chris Corry, 14th Legislative District
RepresentativeChrisCorry.com
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
chris.corry@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7810 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000