Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're approaching the midway point of the 2022 legislative session. Today, Thursday, Feb. 3, is policy committee cut-off. That means, by the end of the day, bills need to be passed out of their respective committees in the chamber in which they originated. If a bill does not make it through committee, it's unlikely to be approved this year.
Bills with fiscal notes affecting the budget have longer to go through the process. Monday, Feb. 7, is fiscal committee cut-off. Except for bills necessary to implement the budget, all fiscal-related bills must be approved by their committee in their chamber of origin.
Click here to see other 2022 session deadlines.
14th District Virtual Town Hall | Sen. Curtis King, Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, and Rep. Chris Corry
This short 60-day legislative session is moving fast. It's important that members of our district get information on what's happening in Olympia. That's why, along with Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, I'm co-hosting a 14th District virtual town hall on Saturday, Feb. 19, from noon to 1:30 p.m.
This 90-minute town hall meeting is our opportunity to hear from you about the public policy issues and topics that concern you the most. We also plan to share information on the bills, discussions, and debates taking place at the state Capitol.
You can register for the event by clicking here or on the image above. Space is limited, so register early. Attendees can submit their questions early when they register. If you have any questions about this event, please contact me. I'm happy to help.
Emergency Powers Reform | House Bill 1772
My emergency powers reform bill, House Bill 1772, got a public hearing this week. On Monday, Jan. 31, I testified in favor of this crucial change to our state government. So did more than 5,200 constituents from across the state. Only 118 registered their opposition.
Emergency powers reform is a bipartisan issue. But Democrats and Republicans want to see better checks and balances put in place, with the people — in the form of the Legislature — given more of a voice during long-lasting emergencies, like the pandemic.
House Bill 1772 would still allow the governor to act quickly during an emerging crisis, but it also sets some common-sense limits on that executive authority. If a state of emergency goes beyond 60-days, it would require approval by the Legislature or its leaders to extend it.
Watch my testimony in committee by clicking here or on the image below.
2022 Supplemental Budget | Tax relief
We live in historic times, and I'm not just referring to the pandemic. The Legislature has an extraordinary amount of surplus tax revenue this year — more than $8 billion.
Along with surplus tax revenue, the state has approximately $1 billion in the Washington rescue plan transition account, $1.2 billion left of the state's share of the federal coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery fund, and more than $1.1 billion in the budget stabilization account.
Considering the financial hardships endured by individuals and families during the pandemic, it seems logical that at least some of that surplus should be returned to taxpayers.
That's why I'd like to see some meaningful tax relief offered to Washingtonians this legislative session.
I was encouraged to see that Democratic Sen. Mona Das, 47th District, a leader in the majority party, sponsored legislation this session that would reduce the state sales tax. That simple change would give Washingtonians about $2 billion in tax relief. Senate Bill 5932 would make everything more affordable, with the vast majority of the benefit going to working families.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Senate Bill 5932 is very popular with the senator's Democratic colleagues. The bill has yet to get a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. That delay is not a good sign on the long road to approval. We only have a short few weeks to hear bills. It looks like this bill will be allowed to “die” before even being considered.
Republican Sen. Lynda Wilson, 17th District, has also introduced Senate Bill 5769 that would reform the state tax system by providing direct tax relief to residents, employees, and employers. There's better news on this bill because it was given a public hearing on Jan. 25 in the Senate Business, Financial Services and Trade Committee.
Working Families Tax Credit | House Bill 2015
Another good tax relief proposal is one I've co-sponsored with my colleague Rep. Drew Stokesbury, R-Auburn, that would expand the Working Families Tax Credit. House Bill 2015 would give households with low and moderate incomes across the state an annual financial boost. Researchers, policymakers, and recipients have long known the positive economic benefits tax policies like the Working Families Tax Credit can provide. Expanding this crucial tax relief would help thousands of individuals and families across the state.
Stay-tuned. I'll be discussing these and other budget-related items in my next email update.
Please let me know if you have questions, comments, or concerns about items in this email update and/or the legislative session. Your input and feedback are always appreciated.
It is an honor to serve the great people of the 14th Legislative District!