Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Since session began I've been honored to have many guests and constituents visit me in Olympia. A couple of weeks ago a Korean exchange student named Yewon Lee shadowed me as I performed my duties and attended various meetings – it's always great to have students involved here at the Capitol.
On Thursday, people from the city of Cheney traveled to Olympia to share their concerns about issues considering cities and towns (pictured at right). I also visited with students from Assumption School, pictured below.
This Friday, Feb. 22 is the deadline for bills moving through policy committees to pass, otherwise they are considered “dead” for the year. Bills moving through fiscal committees (Appropriations, Finance, Capital Budget and Transportation) will have more time to be moved – through March 1.
I recently introduced House Bill 1902 to allow owners of recreational trailers to purchase a lifetime license for these trailers. This proposal was brought to me by Rick Rydell, a radio host on Spokane's KXLY and a recreational boater. This is a reasonable exemption, because people who use trailers seasonally or for a few events are not significantly affecting the condition of our roads. The bill has been referred the House Transportation Committee for consideration.
My proposal to extend the statute of limitations for victims of child sex crimes is moving forward. House Bill 1352 was passed by the House Public Safety Committee, where I serve, on Feb. 13. Next, the Rules Committee will determine if the entire House chamber should vote on it.
Bills to keep an eye on
- House Bill 1044 would require all health insurance plans to cover abortions. Unfortunately, this bill passed the House Health Care & Wellness Committee. Planned Parenthood will be lobbying legislators this week to vote for this bill as we expect to debate it in the House chamber. I will be voting 'no', not only because I am pro-life, but also because our state doesn't need more mandates driving up the cost of health insurance for working families.
- House Bill 1588 would require universal background checks for purchasing firearms, even between private parties. While I appreciate the original provision to require an application for private gun sales was removed, I think it would be difficult to enforce and only hurt law-abiding citizens. This won't prevent criminals from owning guns.
- The House Judiciary Committee will be hearing and voting on other bills addressing public safety and firearms. View this week's agendas here. My goal if these bills come to a vote on the House floor is to ensure we protect our 2nd Amendment rights while enforcing the laws we already have on the books to ensure firearms stay out of the hands of criminals.
Improving the economic climate for more and better jobs
There are 263,000 people unemployed in our state. We need better opportunities for people to earn a paycheck for their families. The Legislature can address this by creating a more favorable economic climate for small businesses to thrive. House Republicans have released their list of bills to get Washington working again – I encourage you to check it out here.
What do you think? Please complete this one-question survey to share your opinion. Also, contact my office with the information below to share your stories or ideas about how we can get Washington working again. I appreciate hearing from you.
It's an honor to serve you.