Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The beautiful spring season is here! It has been a busy time at the state Capitol. Many of my bills have passed the House and are making their way through the Senate.
This week, Washington state budgets were released in the House. We expect to be voting on them tomorrow on the House floor. This is an update as we begin our final month of the scheduled 105-day session which is scheduled to adjourn April 28.
Mosbrucker bills making great progress
My exceptional staff and I have put a lot of work into moving our legislative asks forward. I'm pleased to say we've made a great deal of progress. Here's a list of my prime-sponsored bills moving through the Senate:
- House Bill 1070 – Natural gas tax treatment – Would provide a public utility tax exemption for sales of renewable natural gas by a gas distribution business. Passed out of the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee last Thursday and now is pending in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
- House Bill 1486 – Delegation of inspection – Would save taxpayer money by allowing inspections of factory-built housing and commercial structures built out of state to be performed by inspectors other than the Department of Labor and Industries. Yesterday, the bill passed the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. It is now in the Senate Rules Committee, awaiting to be pulled to the Senate floor for a vote.
- House Bill 1532 – Domestic violence traumatic brain injuries – This would improve response to traumatic brain injuries suffered by domestic violence survivors. Passed the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Thursday and is now in the Senate Rules Committee, awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.
- House Bill 1056 – Domestic violence/workplace – Would create a task force to identify the role of the workplace in helping to curb domestic violence. The workplace is often the only place a victim of domestic violence can go to feel safe and share in confidence what has happened. The task force would work to explore ways in which the employer and employee community may help to curb domestic violence. A public hearing was held last Thursday on the bill in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.
- House Bill 1533 – Domestic violence resources in the workplace – Would help provide information/help resources in the workplace for domestic violence survivors. Yesterday, the bill passed the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. It is now in the Senate Rules Committee, awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.
- House Bill 1713 – Missing and murdered indigenous persons – Would provide two tribal liaisons within the Washington State Patrol to help in the investigations of missing and murdered indigenous persons. Passed the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee last Wednesday. It was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, where a public hearing was held March 25.
- House Bill 1919 – Animal abuse – Would increase penalties for animal abuse – and particularly against those who use dogs for sport blood fighting. – Passed the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Thursday. It's now in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
- House Bill 1436 – Snow bikes – Would create a single vehicle license that allows for the operation of a motorcycle as either a motorcycle or a snow bike. A public hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday, April 2, at 3:30 p.m. in the Senate Transportation Committee.
- House Bill 1166 – Rape kit backlog – This is a measure I co-sponsored with Rep. Tina Orwall which would address the backlog of more than 8,000 rape kits in police custody, prohibiting their destruction, and setting deadlines for submitting and testing the kits. A public hearing was held today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Action in the House:
- House Bill 2143 – Travis Alert funding bill – This is for the Emergency Management Division of the Washington Military Department to implement the Travis Alert system across the state. The Travis Alert Act was originally crafted with Travis King and other individuals with autism in mind. It is to improve the Enhanced 911 program so that first responders know before they arrive to the scene of an emergency that an individual with autism or special needs may be involved. Public hearing was held last Tuesday, March 19 in the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee. I've also added this as a budget proviso request.
- Budget provisos – In addition to the Travis Alert 911 funding I've requested, I also have budget proviso requests for expansion of the Klickitat Hatchery, which could help in the production of one million fall Chinook salmon, and for Washington State University to establish a regional sexual assault nurse examiner leader pilot program and provide for the training in WSU's College of Nursing to increase the availability of qualified sexual assault nurse examiners in Eastern Washington.
The state has three major budgets:
- Operating Budget – Pays for the day-to-day operations of state government.
- Transportation Budget – Pays for transportation activities, such as designing and maintaining roads and public transit.
- Capital Budget – Used to acquire and maintain state buildings, public schools, higher education facilities, public lands, parks and other assets.
The end of the state's two-year (2017-19) fiscal cycle is June 30. The primary function of the Legislature during the 105-day session is to prepare and adopt budgets for the coming two-year fiscal cycle that begins July 1. You can read all about our state's budgeting process in “A Citizen's Guide to the Washington State Budget.”
On Monday, majority House Democrats released their proposals for all three budgets. You can view details of each of the bills here.
New state operating budget — We do not need new taxes!
Many of my House Republican colleagues and I are astounded at the growth in spending and government proposed in the majority party's operating budget plan released Monday.
The current 2017-19 budget spends about $44.4 billion. The Democrat's 2019-21 operating budget proposal would spend about $53 billion, an increase of $8.6 billion (19.4 percent) over current spending levels. Despite historical revenue growth and $3 billion in available resources, their proposal includes a massive tax increase to generate more than $4 billion over four years through a capital gains income tax, a graduated real estate excise tax and increased business and occupation taxes on certain services. In addition, the proposal assumes an increase to local property taxes in order to provide additional funding to school districts.
Here's the eye-opener: Under this proposal, state spending will have increased by nearly $22 billion or 70 percent since 2013. This level of explosive growth is not responsible or sustainable.
Last week, the state's Chief Economist Steve Lerch said private sector economists expect an economic downturn in 2020 or 2021. There are already signs of a slowing economy. Unemployment figures released this week show Washington lost 8.700 jobs in February. Unemployment is up to nearly 10 percent in Yakima County and hovering near 8 percent in Klickitat County.
Raising taxes and increasing spending just before the economy declines is not wise. It will hurt our local businesses and the jobs our families rely upon. Plus, raising real estate and property taxes impacts constituents of all income levels.
In summary, existing revenues are more than sufficient to fund our state's shared priorities.
Watch and listen!
I am frequently asked to be on the local radio stations (KIT, Yakima; KVGD-LP, Goldendale; KLCK, The Dalles/Goldendale; and KIHR, Hood River), along with TV, TVW and YouTube, providing legislative updates and encouraging listeners to become involved in your government. Here are links where you can listen and watch to find out the latest information from the state Capitol:
- 03-01-19 – Capitol Report: Rep. Mosbrucker's bills heading to the House floor.
- 03-05-19 – KIT, Yakima: Rep. Mosbrucker discusses domestic violence bills and House Bill 1713 on missing and murdered indigenous people.
- 03-06-19 – Radio report: House approves Mosbrucker bill to further investigations of missing and murdered indigenous people.
- 03-08-18 – Capitol Report: Rep. Mosbrucker discusses domestic violence legislation and traumatic brain injury legislation.
- 03-12-19 – KIHR, Hood River: Rep. Mosbrucker talks about education funding.
- 03-15-19 – KLCK, The Dalles/Goldendale: Rep. Mosbrucker shares her concerns about the low-carbon fuel standard.
- 03-15-19 – Capitol Report: Rep. Mosbrucker talks about the negative effects of a low-carbon fuel standard.
- 03-22-19 – Capitol Report: Rep. Mosbrucker discusses her thoughts on the overwhelmingly positive state revenue forecast.
- 03-26-19 – KIHR, Hood River: Rep. Mosbrucker discusses concerns with the operating budget proposal and proposed taxes.
- 02-21-2019 – Legislative Update 2019 – Missing and murdered Native American women.
- 02-25-19 – KIRO-TV: Lawmakers confront price tag for rape kit.
- 03-15-19 – KIRO-TV: Bipartisan pair addressing missing and murdered indigenous women.
- 03-20-19 – TVW – The Impact: Discussion with Rep. Mosbrucker and Rep. Tina Orwall on clearing a log of untested rape kits, and Mosbrucker's domestic violence bills.
- 03-21-19 – Legislative Update 2019 – State revenue forecast and bill update.
Honored to serve you!
My signature line is a reflection of my daily service to you. It truly is an honor. Please contact my office, either through email, telephone, letter or in person with your thoughts. I want to hear from you and to learn what is important to you, so that together, we can build a better government, and a better Washington in which to live, work and raise a family. I look forward to your comments, questions and/or concerns.
I remain. . .
Honored to serve you,