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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With the 2022 legislative session only weeks away, the state Capitol is preparing to kick into high gear. Last week, legislators from around the state met virtually for Committee Assembly Days, holding work sessions and planning for the upcoming legislative session. Over 40 hearings took place as both House and Senate committees provided brief previews on bills and key policy issues we are likely to hear more about come January.

The upcoming 2022 session | Prefiled bills

The short 60-day session starts on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. There are still many questions about how exactly this session will work. Will it be another “Zoom” production? Will House committee hearings be in person and open to the public? Will the Capitol galleries be open to the public? Will all legislators be allowed on the House floor? For that matter, will all legislators be allowed in their offices?

Many 19th District constituents have told me they want the session to be uniform, in person, and open to the public. I agree. In government, transparency is essential.

On a separate note, prefiling of bills starts on Dec. 6. Prefiling allows bills to be prepared and introduced before the regular session begins. This helps committees organize their agendas prior to the first week of the session. Prefiled bills are then “officially” introduced on the first day of session.

If you would like to review prefiled bills, after Dec. 6, you can do so by clicking here.

19th District Virtual Town Hall | Saturday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m.

I'll be co-hosting a virtual town hall meeting the first week of the 2022 legislative session. Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, and Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, will join me on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. for the hour-long event. We will answer your questions and share our thoughts on what debates and fights we are facing ahead on various public policy topics.

19th District Virtual Town Hall
Saturday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m.
Register
here.

**Space is limited, so register now. The virtual event will be conducted using Zoom and can only accommodate the first 500 attendees.**

Washington state will follow Biden/OHSA COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Last week in Olympia, the governor announced that he'll follow the president's private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which has been stayed by the courts. The governor said that although he is waiting on the court's decision, for now, the state will follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) criteria, except where it may be necessary to make adjustments for Washington state laws.

The president's OSHA vaccine regulations force companies with 100 or more employees to require workers to be vaccinated, or submit to COVID-19 testing. Similar to the governor's state agency vaccine mandate, workers who refuse to get vaccinated risk losing their jobs — with one key difference. Unlike the governor's mandate on state agencies, the Biden/OSHA requirement allows employees to be tested for COVID in lieu of receiving the vaccine.

The governor's office has hinted for weeks that he planned on putting even more stringent requirements in place than the Biden/OSHA criteria. It is good, in my opinion, that the governor changed his mind and stated publicly that he will not increase the mandate above what the president is doing.

Click here to watch the governor's recent press conference.

Only families should decide whether 5-year-olds get COVID shots

The Daily News recently published an article I authored about vaccine mandates for children. Parents and families from the 19th District and throughout the state have reached out to me, worried that the governor may soon mandate that children as young as 5-years-old get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend public school.

As I share in the article, unlike COVID shot mandates for adults, there is a long-established Washington law describing how certain vaccines can be required for children who attend public school. This law contains clear guidelines families can follow to request exemptions to those requirements. 

The governor must not waive or suspend this long-established law or evade its wisdom by using his emergency powers to force children to get the COVID vaccine. I believe parents, grandparents, and guardians must have the full authority to decide whether their little ones get the vaccine.

To read the full article, click here.

Staying informed

Reading the news can be a perilous business. It's more important than ever for citizens to get updates and information on the state Capitol straight from the source. That's why I'm including a set of resources and links that can keep you updated on my legislative activities.

Thank you!

Because of certain state restrictions, I will not be sending another email update until the second week of January. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about state government-related matters, please contact my office.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia.

Sincerely,


Jim Walsh

State Representative Jim Walsh, 19th Legislative District
RepresentativeJimWalsh.com
428 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
jim.walsh@leg.wa.gov
(360) 485-0547 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000