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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's amazing what can happen when people get involved in the legislative process. The big story of these past two weeks was the incredible grassroots movement of small business owners storming the Capitol in huge numbers to protest two Democrat-sponsored bills that could threaten their livelihoods.
Hair stylists, cosmetologists and other independent contractors from a wide range of industries came in droves to speak out against House Bill 1515 and Senate Bill 5326, each of which could eliminate their ability to be self-employed by making it harder for them to be classified as independent contractors.
I was deeply moved by the emotional testimony I heard from so many individuals who spoke in the labor committees in both the House and Senate. I ended up grabbing coffee with a small group to discuss each bill and relay the message that House Republicans were standing with them. Most of these individuals were not Republicans, so it was a great opportunity for me to talk about my background, to share why I became a Republican, and to let them know that our party will always stand up for and defend small business owners. Many of them told me how proud they were to start their business because it enabled them to be self-sufficient, moved them from dependence to independence, and gave them the flexibility to better juggle the demands of being a parent.
As a small business owner myself, I fully understand how much hard work it takes to start and maintain a business. I have a great deal of respect for people who have an entrepreneurial spirit and choose to be self-employed. These individuals make up the backbone of our economy.
The good news is the sponsor of Senate Bill 5326 ended up withdrawing her bill at the end of last week. However, House Bill 1515 remains alive, as do a number of other anti-small business bills. We're in the political minority here in Olympia, but House Republicans are going to continue fighting for those who simply want to set out on their own, start a business, and work to achieve their dream.
My bills this session
I've introduced five bills this session that I briefly want to touch on.
House Bill 1764 would update storage requirements pertaining to lost and found items that are required to be stored by local governments—typically by local police departments. The law on this issue, which was written in 1988, requires the 60-day storage of items with a value of $25 or more. Since that dollar amount has never been adjusted for inflation, police departments have become inundated with lost and found items of very little value. The Puyallup Police Department is spending roughly $10,000 per year looking after such items. My bill would raise the value threshold to $100, which would enable police departments to spend their time and money on more critical priorities. HB 1764 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Local Government Committee next week.
House Bill 1956 would require the members of Sound Transit's Board of Directors to be elected by the people as opposed to being appointed by elected officials. This change would add much-needed accountability to a board with a $2 billion annual budget. The bill is currently in the House Transportation Committee.
House Bill 1957 would allow private companies to utilize Park and Rides to shuttle their employees to and from work, so long as they didn't interfere with public transportation operations. This could potentially keep thousands of cars off the road, which would help reduce gridlock in and around the Puget Sound area. This bill is also in the House Transportation Committee.
I introduced two other bills this week that don't yet have bill numbers. One bill would tie the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) to a vehicle's Kelley Blue Book value, and the other would create a dedicated account for culvert restoration that could be accessed by cities and counties.
Upcoming in-district town halls
On Saturday, Feb. 16, I'll be hosting two in-district town halls with my 25th District seatmates, Sen. Hans Zeiger and Rep. Chris Gildon. We'll be discussing the 2019 session and taking your questions. Details are as follows:
Poodle Dog Restaurant
1522 54th Ave. E, Fife, WA 98424
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
7511 Portland Ave. E, Tacoma, WA 98404
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
I hope to see you next Saturday! If you can't join us, we'll be hosting an additional town hall in March. I'll make sure to include the details in a future update.
I want to be of service to you, which is why I am so grateful that hundreds of you have taken the time to reach out to me this session. Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions and concerns. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is (360) 786-7948.
It is an honor to serve you. Stay safe in the snow this weekend!
426 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7948 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000