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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2022 legislative session is underway. The Legislature will be mostly virtual for the second year in a row.
It goes without saying the past couple of years have come with a flurry of public policy challenges. Remote sessions being one of them. But, if anything, those challenges have renewed my determination to advocate for common-sense solutions based on proven principles, values, and, most importantly, the guidance handed down to us from the framers of our state government.
Under the recently unveiled House plan, at least for the first few weeks of the session, only two members from each caucus and a presiding officer will be allowed on the House floor. Admittance to the floor for members and staff will not only require proof of vaccination, but also a booster. The public will be locked out of the House galleries, unable to observe, in-person, any floor debate. However, members of the press, unlike the public, will be allowed in the galleries if they show proof of vaccination.
For legislators and constituents, there will be a heavy reliance on Zoom meetings. Committee hearings will be held virtually and constituents allowed to testify remotely.
Read my recent statement after recently regaining entry to my legislative office in Olympia.
Online sessions are not good, primarily because the public is shut out from any in-person participation — or even observing — the state's lawmaking process. We need transparency and accountability in Olympia. I will continue to press for those things — from my office, on Zoom, on the House floor, and every other way.
19th District Virtual Town Hall | Saturday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m.
Please join me and my co-hosts, Sen. Jeff Wilson and Rep. Joel McEntire, for a virtual town hall meeting on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. We will discuss the 2022 legislative session and answer your questions about bills and public policy that affects our district and state.
Some topics we plan to discuss include fixing the anti-cop reforms passed during the 2021 session, repeal of the long-term care payroll tax, emergency powers reform, and others.
Space is limited, so register today! We will conduct this virtual event on the Zoom platform, which means it will be limited to the first 500 attendees.
Date: Saturday, Jan. 15
Time: 4 – 5 p.m.
Click here to register.
Legislative preview | 2022 public policy debates and bills
The next 60 days will be filled with discussions, debates, and decisions on some of the toughest public policy issues in our state. Here's a quick preview of some of those topics:
- Repeal of the Long-Term Care Act: This program is fundamentally unfair. The payroll tax is regressive and needs to be repealed. Learn more here.
- Emergency Powers Reform: The framers of our state government never intended for the current governor to wield the kind of power he's maintained for more than two years now. The public should have a voice in how to move forward. That's the job of the Legislature. Learn more here.
- Budget surplus of $8.8 billion + $2.2 billion in reserves + $1.2 billion in unspent federal stimulus: While many individuals and families continue to struggle, the government remains flush in cash. Tax relief is needed.
- Approving the work completed by the Washington State Redistricting Commission: Although the commission missed its deadline, the Washington State Supreme Court approved its bipartisan consensus on political district-making. The Legislature now has 30 days to review the maps and approve or disapprove the commission's proposals for congressional and legislative district maps for the coming decade.
- Reforming the anti-cop “reforms” put in place last session by the majority party: Our communities are less safe. Among other problems, the bills approved in 2021 prevented law enforcement from pursuing suspects and assisting with mental health calls. That needs to change. Learn more here.
Here's a peek at some of the bills I've introduced this legislative session. In addition, when you visit my website, you can easily view the legislation I'm sponsoring or co-sponsoring by clicking “Sponsored Bills.”
- House Bill 1807 would protect quality K-12 education and academic discourse;
- House Bill 1588 would restore authority to law enforcement to engage in vehicular pursuit when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law;
- House Bill 1589 would restore law enforcement's ability to use physical force against a person when necessary;
- House Bill 1633 would reform K-12 school funding by offering students' families meaningful choices in how their educational tax dollars are spent;
- House Bill 1695 and House Bill 1696 would make the legislative rules process in Olympia more transparent and accountable to the public; and
- House Bill 1720 would further efforts to ban vaccine passports and similar mandates.
Do you want to learn how to “track” a bill?
Here is a quick set of instructions:
- Go to leg.wa.gov
- On the left-hand panel, click “Bill Information.”
- If you know the bill number, enter it in the search field and hit enter.
- Don't have a bill number? Under the section “Standard Reports,” you'll find alternative tracking tools. You can search based on topic, legislative digests, cross-references and or within a specific biennium.
- If you click on the House Floor Activity Report, this helpful tool gives you a detailed list of all bills scheduled to be heard on the House floor each day.
Need help navigating the 2022 session?
Each of us has a part to play in shaping legislative outcomes that enable all Washingtonians to thrive. Despite the mostly virtual session, there are several ways you can stay informed on the activities of the Legislature:
- Read or sign up for the Capitol Buzz or the Ledger, a legislative news aggregator
- Watch TVW Coverage of House Sessions
- Watch TVW Coverage of Senate Sessions
- Testify in a committee (Virtually)
- Share your opinion on a bill
- Find ADA accommodation and information
Want to learn more about the legislative process? Here are resources that can help:
- Legislative Process (Video)
- How a Bill Becomes a Law (text)
- Overview of Legislative Process (text)
- Glossary of Legislative Terms
- Citizen's Guide to Effective Legislative Participation
While meeting remotely presents difficulties for both lawmakers and the people they represent, it does not mean you can't get involved. If you have any problems accessing the information listed above or need additional help, contact me. I'm happy to help.
Thank you for your steadfast support and encouragement.
428 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7806 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000