Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now in the final week of this year's 60-day legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn on Thursday. Before I get to the latest news from Olympia, I wanted to invite you to a town hall meeting Sen. Zeiger, Rep. Gildon and I will be hosting this Saturday, March 14, at the Puyallup Activity Center.
The town hall will run from 1-2:30 p.m. We'll be providing our thoughts on the session and then opening it up for your comments and questions. If you're under the weather or have concerns about gathering in large groups, please feel free to call or email us with your questions instead. We'll make sure to get back to you promptly.
- Sen. Zeiger can be reached at (360) 786-7648 or Hans.Zeiger@leg.wa.gov.
- Rep. Gildon can be reached at (360) 786-7968 or Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov.
- I can be reached at (360) 786-7948 or Kelly.Chambers@leg.wa.gov.
Comprehensive sex education bill approved by House Democrats
The biggest floor debate of the session took place last Wednesday. For six hours, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., House Republicans battled against a bill sponsored by the majority party to mandate comprehensive sex education in all grades by the 2022-23 school year. For me, this mandate goes way too far. It takes away our children's innocence, infringes on parental rights, and dismisses local control as irrelevant.
I have received thousands of emails on this issue from concerned parents, as have the majority of my colleagues. This is not something that should be taken lightly, which is why I was so disappointed to see Planned Parenthood tweet out a sex ed bingo card as the debate got under way:
No matter where you stand on this issue, I believe it is critical that we respect each other's views. It's unfortunate an organization would play sex ed bingo and mock those of us who have concerns about this bill. Rep. Michelle Caldier and I discussed that and more during our floor speeches, which are part of this six-minute debate mashup:
Majority party rejects House Republican tax cut proposals
One of the other major floor fights of the session happened on Feb. 28, when we debated the House Democrats' supplemental operating budget proposal.
One week prior, lawmakers had received good news when the state's revenue forecast revealed a surge in new revenue and a $2.4 billion budget surplus. While House Republicans immediately came together to discuss how we could provide tax relief for Washington families, House Democrats said they had no interest in cutting taxes and went to work drafting a budget that spends $2 billion.
Before we voted on their budget, House Republican Reps. Drew Stokesbary and Jim Walsh introduced alternative budgets. Stokesbary's budget looked to cut taxes by $1 billion through delivering voter-approved $30 car tabs and eliminating the sales tax on certain grocery items and personal necessities. Walsh's budget looked to provide $600 million in annual property tax cuts.
The majority party rejected both budgets, opting to instead pass their own. When the governor signs it into law, state spending will have increased nearly 75% since 2013. To increase spending by that much without providing any tax relief is astounding. That's just one of the many points we made during the four-hour floor debate on the budget.
Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions and concerns. I always welcome your feedback. My email address is Kelly.Chambers@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7948. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope to see you at our town hall on Saturday!