Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As you may know already, Washington state imposes restrictions on various communications legislators can engage in during election years. That's a good thing. Those restrictions ensure state resources are not used for campaign purposes.
That's why, for the next several months, you won't be getting any legislative updates from me.
There are also restrictions on my legislative website, meaning no new content can be added beginning May 16, 2022, until after the general election in November is certified. Until that time, several other forms of communication are also restricted. The only exception would be if a special legislative session is called.
Despite these restrictions, you need to know I am still working hard for the people of the 19th District. During the interim — the weeks between the end of one legislative session and the start of another — I'll be busy in our community, attending various legislative events, meeting with constituents, and working for our region.
19th District Legislative Report
You may have recently received my 19th District Legislative Report in your mailbox. This informational report, co-authored with my legislative colleagues Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, and Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, gives an honest and balanced assessment of the bills approved and rejected during the recent 2022 legislative session.
To learn more, click the image below:
It's no surprise to Olympia-insiders that the Democratic majority, despite a $15 billion state revenue surplus, refused to cut any taxes during the recent legislative session. With a mountain of money and several bipartisan proposals to ease the burden on taxpayers, the Legislature side-stepped an enormous opportunity to give individuals, families, and employers meaningful tax relief.
Property taxes in Washington state continue to be a problem — often unfairly falling on the poorest homeowners. It's one of the many reasons people are leaving our state. That's why, during the 2022 session, I introduced two bills that would lower the tax burden on homeowners:
- House Bill 2125 would, for the purposes of calculating state property tax, ensure that all property be valued at 75% of its true and fair value and assessed on the same basis unless specifically provided otherwise by law.
- House Bill 2126 sought to cut the state's property tax levy to zero for one year, then restore the current formula. This would create a one-year “property tax holiday” for Washington state homeowners.
Both proposals would go a long way in resolving our state's regressive property tax policies. I will continue to fight for common-sense property-tax relief measures like these in the future.
To read more about the Democratic majority's failure to provide meaningful tax relief this legislative session, click here.
Law enforcement and public safety
As I travel around the 19th District, talking with constituents and hearing their concerns, crime continues to be a reoccurring theme. During the 2021 legislative session, the Democratic majority passed several anti-police “reform” bills. Those measures — including House Bill 1310 and House Bill 1054 — made our communities less safe and had several dangerous consequences.
During the 2022 session, there were opportunities to remedy those problems. Senate Bill 5919 would have provided better use of force standards — including allowing law enforcement officers to engage in vehicular pursuits when reasonable suspicion was present. Unfortunately, the bill was rejected by the majority party. They also rejected other similarly defined proposals, such as House Bill 1788 and House Bill 1588.
Numerous local police departments, including Hoquiam and Aberdeen, have had recent cases in which they were not able to pursue criminal suspects effectively under the current law. There's great frustration all around the state about these bad policies.
But don't despair! This is a fixable problem. We simply need the will and the votes to make the necessary changes during the next legislative session to ensure law enforcement has the right tools to keep our communities safe.
If you would like to meet with me or find out more about public policy topics that affect our district, please don't hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I'm always happy to hear from you.
It's an honor to serve as your state representative.