Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today is day 40 of the 60-day legislative session. We are almost two-thirds through the session, which is scheduled to end March 10. This past Tuesday marked house of origin cutoff. House bills that have not passed out of the House by now, except for those necessary to implement the budget, are likely dead for the year.
My House Republican colleagues and I have spent many hours on the virtual House floor fighting to keep your taxes low, keep your lights on, keep excessive regulations out of your life, keep working families working, and bring public safety back to our communities again. This newsletter provides an update on these and many other issues. For a further update, be sure to join your 14th District team tomorrow (Saturday), Feb. 19 at noon for a virtual town hall. Details are below.
Join us tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 19) for a virtual town hall
Typically, I conduct “Listening Tours” at coffee shops, elementary schools and other gathering places throughout the 14th District before session begins. This year, with COVID restrictions, it simply wasn't possible. My seatmates and I are doing the next best thing. We are holding a virtual “Zoom” town hall tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 19), from noon to 1:30 p.m. I hope you will join us.
During the event, we will provide an update of the 2022 legislative session from both the House and Senate perspectives. And then, we will take your questions. Be sure to sign up for our town hall by going to https://bit.ly/3KM456A. After registering, a confirmation email will be sent about joining the webinar. I look forward to seeing you there!
Five alive! Mosbrucker bill status
The entire legislative process is designed in a way to stop proposed legislation so that only the most scrutinized bills become law after being thoroughly debated and voted on. It is even more difficult for those like myself who are in the minority party because we have to convince majority party leaders to allow our bills to advance when they are trying to move their own bills forward before the cutoffs. I have worked hard to establish solid working relationships with majority Democrats. I also frequently ask them to sign onto my bills, and many times they do. This creates a bipartisan atmosphere that helps my bills move forward. At the end of the day, I work for all of you, Republicans and Democrats, and the legislation I sponsor frequently comes from constituent requests as we work to provide solutions for the problems facing our district and the state.
In my last email update, I noted that 10 of my prime-sponsored bills had made it out of committee and were either in the Rules Committee, waiting to be pulled to the floor, or were on the floor calendar for a vote. Five of my bills are still alive and passed the House following Tuesday's cutoff. They are now in the Senate. Here's a quick list:
- House Bill 1357 – Overseas voters: Would require county auditors to mail a statewide and local voters' pamphlet to registered Washington voters overseas, including military voters. According to the Office of the Secretary of State, the measure is not an unfunded mandate. This bill passed the House on Jan. 12 with a unanimous vote. A public hearing was held on Feb. 9 in the Senate Government and Elections Committee.
- House Bill 1497 – Telephone solicitors: Would prevent telephone solicitors from making calls before 8 a.m. or after 8 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. This bill passed the House last Thursday, Feb. 10, with a vote of 90-5. A public hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. in the Senate Business, Financial Services and Trade Committee.
- House Bill 1571 – Missing, murdered indigenous persons and survivors of human trafficking: Also known as the “Bring them home bill,” this measure would allow tribal members to pray over a deceased indigenous person without compromising the scene before an autopsy is conducted. It also creates a receiving center to provide help for trafficked victims. This bill passed House early Tuesday morning with unanimous approval. It is scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 21, 9:30 a.m. in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
- House Bill 1622 – Increasing availability of sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) in rural areas: SANE nurses play a critical role in the detailed forensic investigations necessary for the prosecution of sex crimes. This bill would increase the availability of these nurses 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. This bill passed unanimously from the House floor on Wednesday, Jan. 26. A public hearing was held in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee yesterday. The committee is scheduled to take action next Tuesday, Feb. 22.
- House Bill 1623 – Electric grid adequacy: The measure would address the real risk in Washington of rolling blackouts and inadequate electric supplies. It requires 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. This bill passed the House unanimously on Feb. 10. It is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee next Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 10:30 a.m.
There's still hope for the others!
My prime-sponsored bills that passed their respective House committees, but did not make it out of the House before the Feb. 15 cutoff, included: House Bill 1621: Creating a stipend to cover sexual assault nurse examiner training fees; House Bill 1624: Modifying the motorcycle safety education board; House Bill 1715: Sentencing Guidelines Commission; House Bill 1844: Creating the offense of unlawful branding of another; and House Bill 1845: Body camera grants.
Although these bills did not pass out of the House, there are other ways to move good ideas and solutions through the process to enact good policy, including amending bills and adding budget proviso language. It's often said in Olympia, “nothing is dead until the final gavel falls.” Whenever possible, I will seek ways to enact these pieces of legislation.
Reforming police reforms
As ranking Republican of the House Public Safety Committee, I have been at the center of negotiations to fix the problems the majority party created when they passed anti-police legislation, House Bills 1310 and 1054 last session. Crime is up across our state, and we are reading nearly every day about the consequences of these bills in the daily news. Read more about the effect of these bills here.
Democrats have promised to provide fixes, but they are conflicted about how far they can go to roll back last year's legislation and keep their own Seattle-area constituents happy. This made for some interesting negotiations and a rare opportunity for minority Republicans to provide the votes to get important police reform legislation over the finish line. We convinced the majority party to bring House Bill 2037 to the floor for a vote. This is an important measure that would provide a clear definition of the use of physical force when law enforcement detains a suspect. While I don't believe it goes far enough, the bill is a step in the right direction.
I am disappointed that Democrats did not allow the vehicular pursuit measure, House Bill 1788, to come to the floor for a vote. This measure would allow police officers to engage in vehicular pursuits when there is reasonable suspicion that someone in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense, and is attempting to escape, or is driving under the influence. With three weeks remaining in session, I am still hopeful we can address this issue.
I was also among the Republican leaders to introduce a comprehensive legislation package early in the session we believe would address many of the concerns we have heard from law enforcement and our communities during the interim. The Safe Washington Plan is focused on preventing crime, supporting law enforcement, putting victims first, and addressing the State v. Blake decision. Unfortunately, the majority party has not allowed those bills to come forward.
New revenue forecast boosts state budget surplus to $14 billion; Time to give some of that money back
The state of Washington is projected to collect a record surplus of tax revenue over the next four years, according to a report Wednesday from the state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. The council projects Washington will collect nearly three billion additional tax dollars over the next four years. In total, the state has a record surplus approaching 14-billion dollars.
Meanwhile, many working Washington families still struggle to make ends meet in this COVID economy. That's why I believe, along with most of my fellow legislative Republican colleagues, that a portion of this enormous surplus is returned to you, the taxpayers of Washington. You are the first to have earned these dollars. It doesn't seem fair for the state to be flush with money while its citizens struggle financially.
Republicans have several proposals to reduce taxes, including expanding the Working Families Tax Credit, reducing state property tax levies, and lowering the manufacturing business and occupation tax rate. So far this session, the majority party hasn't seemed too interested in discussing or considering tax relief. In these final weeks of the session, supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets will be emerging. I hope we can have a robust conversation soon about providing meaningful tax relief to Washington citizens.
For a list of tax increases the majority party has passed since 2019, click here.
Sign up for legislative text alerts
You can now get the latest news and information from the Legislature directly to your cell phone. We have a new text alert system that was activated just days ago. Click here to sign up.
Contact my office
Please contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about legislation and/or state government. My contact information is below. Go to my website, RepresentativeGinaMosbrucker.com, to get the latest local legislative news and information.
Thank you for allowing me the amazing honor of serving you and the citizens of the 14th Legislative District.
Honored to serve you,