Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am honored and grateful to be serving you in the 60-day legislative session, which began remotely today at noon. Tomorrow, the governor will give his state-of-the-state address. It is a busy week, as I have public hearings scheduled on six of my prime-sponsored bills.
As House minority vice-caucus chair and ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, I will also be busy negotiating key legislation and helping to provide solutions to real problems facing our state. In addition, I am continuing my service as assistant ranking Republican on the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee. Plus, I will be working to secure funding for important local public projects in my role as member of the House Capital Budget Committee.
Please take a few minutes to read on about session operations and priorities as we begin a new year in the Legislature.
Session operations mostly remote, public not allowed in House chamber, legislative offices
Much like last year, most session activity in the House will be conducted remotely via Zoom and Teams, and the public will not be allowed in the House chamber or legislative offices. Only a few designated House members will be allowed to access the House floor to vote and debate. Members participating on the floor are required to verify their vaccination status and have a booster shot at least two weeks prior to being allowed on the floor. Only security, rostrum and IT staff who have verified their vaccination status will be permitted on the House floor.
All members and staff who work on the Capitol campus will be required to undergo testing for COVID on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Credentialed press will have limited access to cover proceedings from the House gallery only after they have provided verification of vaccination.
Your involvement is crucial!
Although, the majority party decided the public will not be allowed inside the House chamber, nor in any of the House offices during the 2022 session, there are still ways you can and should participate.
The Legislature has implemented a system designed to allow the public to comment on a bill. Go to this page for more information: How to comment on a bill.
You can also sign in to provide written testimony on legislation or testify remotely during a committee public hearing. Go to this page for more information and to sign in: Committee Sign-In – Remote Testimony (House/Senate/Joint)
To learn more about citizen participation, the House Republican Caucus has set up a page with all the information you need. Go here: How you can be involved in the legislative process.
Finally, I will be sending out frequent email updates, videos and radio reports throughout session to highlight good bills and draw your attention to concerning legislation. Follow my website for this information at: RepresentativeGinaMosbrucker.com
Creating a 'Safe Washington'
As the House Republican leader on the Public Safety Committee, I've discussed my concerns many times in my email updates, on the radio, television and in the newspaper about the direction the majority party is leading our state when it comes to the safety of our streets, cities, neighborhoods and rural communities.
The majority party passed “police reform” legislation during the 2021 session that essentially handcuffed law enforcement officers from being able to protect our communities. A state Supreme Court decision in February struck down Washington's felony drug possession law, essentially allowing dangerous drug use to go on with little to no help for addicts and no consequences for drug pushers. Meanwhile, the state is letting felons out of prison before they've served their full sentences. There's a push to eliminate aggravating circumstances in drive-by shooting murders, meaning those convicted of that crime could receive lesser sentences. Violent gang and drug-related crimes, human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault are all on the rise, while we have fewer law enforcement officers per capita in Washington than nearly any other state. It's the WRONG direction!
That's why House and Senate Republicans have joined together to introduce our “Safe Washington Plan.” Our bills address fixes to the new police reform laws, including allowing police to detain criminals under “reasonable” suspicion and safe police pursuits to capture fleeing criminals. We provide stronger drug laws, crack down on catalytic converter thefts, hold criminals accountable for their crimes, ensure justice is served, and empower our law enforcement officers to do their jobs to protect our communities. That's the RIGHT direction for Washington.
I invite you to read more about our Safe Washington Plan here.
Public hearings scheduled this week on several of my prime-sponsored bills
I've spent the past six months meeting with constituents and working with staff to create, refine and prepare legislation for the 2022 session. That advance work helped me to secure public hearings this week on at least six bills that I have authored. I have several more bills that will soon be following these measures that I've listed below and will discuss those in subsequent email updates. Here are my bills scheduled for public hearings this week:
Bills heard this week
- House Bill 1621 would require the state Department of Health (DOH) to establish a stipend program of up to $2,500 per licensed nurse to cover fees and costs necessary to become a certified sexual assault nurse examiner (SANEs). It also would require DOH to establish a hospital grant program to increase access to certified SANEs for hospitals without sufficient access. SANE nurses play a critical role in the detailed forensic investigations that are necessary for the prosecution of sex crimes. A public hearing was held today at 1:30 p.m. in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.
- At the same time, the House College and Workforce Development Committee held a public hearing on a similar measure I introduced. House Bill 1622 seeks to increase the availability of SANE education in rural and underserved areas by requiring the Washington State University College of Nursing to establish a SANE online and clinical training program and a regional SANE leader pilot program.
Bills remaining to be heard this week
- Tuesday, Jan. 11 – 8 a.m. – The House Environment and Energy Committee will hold a public hearing on House Bill 1623. The measure would require the Washington Department of Commerce and the Utilities and Transportation Commission to hold annual stakeholder meetings through 2029 to discuss the adequacy of the state's energy resources for meeting electric needs and address steps to meet those needs. The measure also would require this year's meeting to specifically address which Washington residents are at risk of rolling blackouts and inadequate electric supplies, policy recommendations to prevent blackouts, and identify incentives to enhance energy resources for adequacy and reliability.
- Wednesday, Jan. 12 – 8 a.m. – The Consumer Protection and Business Committee will take public testimony on House Bill 1497. This is a measure I introduced last year that would place further restrictions on telephone solicitors. This includes no calls before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m., no selling of the called party's name and information, removal of the called party from the solicitor's list upon request, and no further calls within at least one year after that request has been made.
- Friday, Jan. 14 – 10 a.m. – The House Public Safety Committee will take public testimony on two of my bills: House Bill 1715, concerning membership of the state's Sentencing Guidelines Commission, and House Bill 1571, addressing protections and services for indigenous persons who are missing, murdered, or survivors of human trafficking. You can learn more about House Bill 1571, the “Bring them home bill,” in my news release from last year.
Capital budget requests
The House Capital Budget Committee is accepting submissions for 2022 local and community project funding requests. If your community group, non-profit, local government, or other local entity is seeking funding for a project that would have significant benefit to the public, you can apply through a competitive process for capital budget funds. Contact my office for the 2022 Local Community Project Information Form. Please do it soon as the deadline for submission is noon, Jan. 22, 2022.
Stay involved and in touch!
In addition to issues I've discussed above, we will also be working to reform the governor's emergency powers, repeal or fix the state's new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax, use part of the state's $8.8 billion surplus money to fix our roads, highways and bridges, address environmental issues of fires, drought and floods through the ORCA Plan, and provide tax relief this year, including expansion of the Working Families Tax Credit and lowering property taxes.
Your involvement and input is important to our legislative process. Should you have questions, comments or suggestions about legislation, committee hearings, the legislative process or state government, please call, write or email me. I am here to serve and represent you!
Honored to serve you,