Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Three weeks into the session and there are a lot of hot button issues. The focus in the House Finance Committee last week was a bill to tie Boeing tax breaks to Washington jobs. For more information watch Condotta week three video update: Two-thirds tax increase, charter schools, the Boeing jobs bill and more.
A recurring theme in Olympia seems to be addressing overreaching court decisions. Last week during the floor session, House Republicans tried a procedural move to bring up a bill that would send a constitutional amendment to the voters requiring a two-thirds legislative vote to raise taxes. Voters in Washington have approved this idea six times! However, our attempt failed on a party-line vote of 48-49.
Also during floor debate last week, House Republicans proposed adding an amendment to an education measure that would save public charter schools in Washington state. The amendment was scoped, meaning it was not allowed to be voted on by the full House chamber. You can read more about that here. Despite the fact the Senate passed the same “fix” with bipartisan support, House Democrats still would not allow a vote on it.
Men in women’s locker rooms and restrooms
I have been keeping you updated on the Human Rights Commission’s locker room/bathroom issue. I mentioned last week, the chair of House Judiciary Committee has no intention of hearing any bills on this issue. We’re still trying to determine if proper procedures were followed in adopting this new rule. Unfortunately, the commission has not provided us very straightforward answers. Please watch this very short video of my colleagues asking the head of the commission some very pointed questions about the process. As you can see, clear and concise answers were difficult to come by.
A number of bills I have prime-sponsored have had public hearings.
- House Bill 2552 would establish the statewide Tourism Marketing Act. It would create an account for statewide tourism promotion, but it is strictly voluntary for businesses to participate.
- House Bill 2551 would allow a local government impacted by a qualifying disaster to create a designated disaster area within its boundaries, and to use designated disaster area financing to pay for public improvement projects that would spur or draw private development.
- House Bill 2642 would provide some tax relief for some of our small wineries.
- House Bills 2548 and 2549 would rein in the Department of Labor and Industries on their appeal process, as well as some of their elevator, or conveyance, rules.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments about any of these issues or others before the Legislature, please let me know.