Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We recently hit another milestone on the legislative calendar: “House of Origin” cutoff. The days leading up to this deadline require long hours and late evenings on the House floor working to stop bad legislation and helping to approve the good. Bills that did not get approved in the chamber in which they originated by Tuesday, March 9, will probably not see further action this legislative session.
The House passed 216 bills off the House floor. Those proposals will now go to the Senate for further consideration. Seven bills have already arrived on the governor's desk for signature or are waiting on further action by his office.
Click below to watch my recent legislative video update on bills recently voted on in Olympia:
For the next few weeks, lawmakers will face the biggest challenge of the session: debating and deciding on the state's financial plans for the next two years. All three of the state's budgets—operating, transportation, and capital—must be approved before the final gavel of session falls on April 25.
In a previous update, I shared that from a state revenue perspective, we've made it through the pandemic with very modest deficits. As our state grapples with the economic fallout from the pandemic, there's simply no good reason to raise taxes on individuals and families.
The idea that we need new taxes to solve “budget shortfalls” is false. In fact, financial reports reveal that we have a slight surplus in state revenue. And now, with billions of dollars in funding from the federally supplied American Rescue Plan, we're in an even better position financially.
Although we are waiting on the state's current revenue forecast, due to arrive on March 20, from the numbers I've seen, we've got more than enough to fund the state's priorities without raising taxes. And yet, some legislators keep pushing for tax increases, including a capital gains income tax.
As the assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, I'll continue to support the better budget plan proposed by the House Republicans, which includes no new tax increases.
In fact, the framework has several cost savings items—most of which were recommended by state agencies as part of their budget evaluation exercise directed by the governor in 2020. And even more importantly, for the first time in its 12-year history, the plan fully funds the Working Families Tax Credit. Enacting this effective program would put money directly in the pockets of hard-working, low-income people across our state.
All of that, and no new taxes—including no income tax on capital gains—is another great reason to support this proposal. It's sustainable, responsible, and just plain common sense. Click here to learn more.
14th District Virtual Town Hall Meeting
Along with my seatmate, Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, we'll be hosting a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 17 starting at 6 p.m.
We'll share an update on bills approved or defeated in the House or Senate and other information on the 105-day session.
If you have any questions, or need help to register, please contact my office.
Phase 3 | Reopening Washington
As vaccination rates continue to climb and COVID-19 cases decrease, Republican legislators have pushed hard for the governor to ease his coronavirus restrictions and start the next phase of re-opening the state. In fact, several days ago we introduced our own version of what that plan should look like.
While the governor and his office criticized the Republican plan, I'm happy to announce our hard work paid off. Despite the governor's opposition, his office recently adopted the majority of our recommendations effective March 23—moving all counties in Washington to Phase 3 of his “Healthy Washington” reopening plan.
Under Phase 3, indoor spaces, like restaurants and movie theaters, can have 50% occupancy with up to 400 people for indoor and outdoor activities, such as concerts and high school graduations, as long as physical distancing and masking are enforced. Outdoor events with permanent facilities can have 25% occupancy for spectators.
The governor also announced an emergency proclamation requiring all K-12 schools to provide in-person instruction by April 19. To read more about getting our children back in school, click here.
Stay in touch!
Feel free to call, write or email my office with your comments, concerns or ideas about legislation and state government. My contact information is listed below.
It's an honor to serve you!