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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's the end of Week Five of the scheduled 105-day session! For those keeping track, 819 bills have been introduced in the House and 757 in the Senate since the 2023 session began on Jan. 9. Only 52 House bills have passed the House and 32 Senate bills have passed the Senate.
We are now in the process of hearing bills in their respective committees and passing those the committee chair will allow to be brought forth for executive session. It's a busy time for me as ranking member of the House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee. I am also the assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, which considers the state operating budget. Plus, I serve on the House Innovation, Community and Economic Development and Veterans Committee.
Our next big deadline is Friday, Feb. 17. That's the last day for committees to take action on non-fiscal bills in their house of origin. Between now and next Friday, our days will be primarily involved in our committees and some floor action. You can get more information about our schedule from the 2023 Session Cutoff Calendar.
Watch my video update!
I am working hard to address the statewide workforce shortage. In my video update, I discuss House Bill 1568, legislation that would make it easier for certified nurse assistants (CNAs) and home health aides to return to the long-term care profession. I also have legislation, House Bill 1669, to provide ongoing revenue from the general fund to support the state's Auto Theft Task Force. Plus, I have introduced House Bill 1299 that would allow 18-21 year-olds to work in the manufacturing and production of liquor, which would help to alleviate a worker shortage in this area. And House Bill 1375 would allow curbside and door-to-door delivery of alcohol to continue, which has been so critical to restaurants throughout the pandemic. This would keep their doors open and people working.
I'm pleased to once again offer a video update of the bills I am offering this session. You can watch it here for more details, or click on the image below to watch it.
Join us for a 25th District Town Hall – Feb. 18, 10 a.m. – noon
Be sure to join me and my seatmates, Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen, and Sen. Chris Gildon for an in-person 25th District Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to noon. We will provide an update of the 2023 legislative session and take your questions.
The event will be held at the Fred Oldfield Western Heritage and Art Center on the Washington State Fairgrounds. It's near the “Red Gate.” The address is: 4th Street Southwest and 9th Avenue Southwest in Puyallup.
Read our press release for more information.
We hope to see you there!
Washington Wine Country license plates are now available for sale
I am thrilled to report the Washington wine license plates are now for sale through the state Department of Licensing. This is a result of multiple years of work to pass legislation to create the plates. Nearly 4,000 Washingtonians signed a petition in support of creating the specialty plate.
Last year, the Legislature approved, and the governor signed House Bill 1530. Under my bill, a fee of $40 is charged for the plate, which features a scenic landscape of Washington wine country. All funds generated from the sales of the plate, as well as the $30 renewal fee, will go to State of Washington Tourism to advocate, promote, develop, and sustain destination tourism marketing across the state. Read more here.
Support passage of the police pursuit bill to keep our families safe!
Two years ago, the Legislature approved a number of police reform bills that I believe went too far toward preventing our police officers from doing their jobs to keep us safe. Last year, we were able to roll back some of those measures, but one that failed to get fixed was the law that set a higher bar for law enforcement to engage in vehicular pursuits. To pursue a suspected criminal, law enforcement must have probable cause. “Probable cause” means facts would cause an officer to believe the person had committed that crime. Without those facts, suspects can leave the scene of the crime and police officers can do nothing to stop them.
This has created a serious chain of car thefts, criminal actions, and even the death of a young girl last year in our local area near the Midland Elementary School. Immaculee Goldade, age 12, was walking home after playing outside the school with a friend, Kathleen Olson, also 12, when a stolen commercial landscaping flatbed truck struck the girls near school. Kathleen Olson was severely injured, but survived. Sadly, Immaculee died at the scene.
Immaculee's mother, Amber Goldade of Tacoma, gave heartbreaking testimony on Jan. 31 in front of the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, in favor or House Bill 1363, a bipartisan bill that would restore the ability of law enforcement to engage in vehicle pursuits of suspects. You can watch her testimony here.
The committee is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 a.m. to consider both House Bill 1363, which would restore “reasonable suspicion” standard police pursuit policies; and House Bill 1586, which would have the state's Criminal Justice Training Commission establish a committee to study a statewide pursuit policy. We are hearing there may be some reluctance from the majority party to bring it up for a vote. I am urging citizens to comment on this bill here. We need a committee vote on restoring the ability for police to pursue criminals, not just a study!
As I said earlier this week, during the Republican Media Availability. . .
“This is not just about broken windows and stolen vehicles. This is about lives. And it is deadly for us not to address this vehicle pursuit issue, this year, this legislative session, and THIS week!”
Watch the Republican Media Availability in which the bill's sponsor, Rep. Eric Robertson, and I comment on the importance of passing this bill.
Become informed and get involved!
Please contact my Olympia office any time you have questions. comments, suggestions or ideas about legislation and state government. I am here to serve as well as represent you. Here are some websites to help you become informed and involved:
- My legislative website: You will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- How you can be involved in the legislative process: This includes a citizen's guide to effective legislative participation.
- How to comment on a bill: You can send legislators comments on legislation.
- Committee Sign-In – Remote Testimony: Testify on legislation during public hearings.
- TVW: The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- Capitol Buzz: Sent out each weekday, featuring stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, and television.
It is an honor to serve you!
426 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7948 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000