Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2022 legislative session ended late Thursday night after the Legislature approved operating, transportation and capital supplemental budgets. This year's session was short — only 60 days — as opposed to 105 days in odd-numbered years. However, it was just as intense.
It is an honor to represent your interests at the Capitol. I am very grateful to be among members who were able be inside the Capitol Building this year and to vote on your behalf on the House floor.
As ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, I spent a lot of time negotiating “fixes” to the majority party's controversial police reform bills they passed last year. As vice-caucus chair for the House Republicans, I helped to run caucus meetings. I am also honored to be a part of our leadership team that strategizes how to advance good bills and stop bad legislation that could impact citizens in our district and across the state.
Please take a few moments to read about the successes and disappointments of this just-completed 2022 legislative session.
Five alive! Legislature sends five Mosbrucker bills to the governor
I have an amazing support team of staff and legislators who helped me to move my prime-sponsored bills through the Legislature. At the end of the session, five of my bills had passed the Legislature and were sent to the governor. Many of these are ideas and proposals brought to me by citizens, like yourself. Nearly all of them had sponsors from both sides of the aisle and passed unanimously with bipartisan support.
Here is a list of those bills:
- 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. Passed the House and Senate unanimously.
- 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. Passed the House, 90-5, and the Senate unanimously.
- 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. Passed the House and Senate unanimously.
- 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 to prosecute 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. Passed the House and Senate unanimously.
- House Bill 1623 – Electric adequacy: Directs the Department of Commerce and the Utilities and Transportation Commission to hold yearly resource adequacy meetings through 2029 with utilities, regional planning organizations and other stakeholders to discuss the current, short-term and long-term adequacy of energy resources. The bill would ensure the state continually addresses plans to help avoid energy blackouts, brownouts or other inadequacies of the electric grid. Passed the House and Senate unanimously.
Additionally, I was able to secure funding in the state supplemental operating budget for several important provisions:
- Sexual assault response in schools: Amendment 1178 provides $80,000 to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to research best practices for responding to sexual assault survivors in schools, conduct listening sessions across the state, update model protocols, develop a training plan for school administrators and counselors, and review current legal reporting requirements concerning sexual assault. The amendment also requires OSPI to submit a preliminary report to the governor and the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2022.
- Body camera grants: Page 392 of Senate Bill 5693, the state supplemental operating budget, contains my requested proviso of $100,000 for body camera grant funding to local law enforcement agencies. This will help carry out the intent of House Bill 1845, a measure I introduced that sought to establish a body-worn camera grant program. When that bill did not advance, I was able to get this proviso in the supplemental budget to secure those grant funds.
- Sexual assault nurse examiner stipends: Page 436 of Senate Bill 5693, the state supplemental operating budget, provides $680,000 for 2023 to establish a stipend program for licensed nurses to receive reimbursement of up to $2,500 to cover eligible expenses in the training necessary to become a certified sexual assault nurse examiner. I was able to add this proviso to the supplemental budget that does essentially the same as House Bill 1621, a bill I sponsored that passed committee, but died during floor cutoff.
Reforming the anti-police reform bills
I have maintained that public safety must be the top priority of government. If we can't keep the public safe and provide the necessary tools for law enforcement to effectively do their jobs, nothing else matters.
As the ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, I was largely responsible for negotiating with the majority party to convince them of the need to fix some of the police reform bills from last year. Our negotiations were largely successful right up until the final hours of the session on one of the four fixes.
This year, the Legislature passed — with the help of Republican votes — bills that clarify when an officer can use physical force, when an officer can intervene and use force if necessary, when a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, and we reversed a ban on less lethal and certain calibers of ammunition. They include:
- House Bill 2037 – clarifying the definitions of when an officer can use physical force. Passed the Legislature. Delivered to the governor.
- House Bill 1719 – reversing ban on less lethal and certain calibers of ammunition. Passed the Legislature and signed by the governor.
- House Bill 1735 – allows an officer to intervene and use force if needed for the safety of the person and those around them when the person is experiencing a mental health crisis. Passed the Legislature and signed by the governor.
- House Bill 1815 – workgroup to study catalytic converter thefts. Passed the Legislature. Delivered to the governor.
I am also disappointed final agreement could not be reached to pass legislation that would allow law enforcement to pursue suspects when there is reasonable suspicion a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a criminal offense. House Bill 1788 and Senate Bill 5919 would have addressed this issue, but both of these bills died in the final hours of the session. That will be one of my first priorities of next year's session.
Budgets – It's YOUR money!
The state of Washington has three budgets: operating, transportation and capital. Our budgets run on two-year cycles, although we do have four-year outlooks to further project what they will look like and plan for them down the road. The two-year budgets are crafted during the long, 105-day legislative sessions that take place in odd-numbered years. In even-numbered years, such as this one, we pass supplemental budgets that are meant to fill unexpected expenses or pay for one-time expenses. However, this year was different because the state has so much incoming revenue. Here's a look at how the Legislature handled the supplemental budgets this year.
Despite Washington's $15 billion surplus in supplemental operating budget, sadly, record spending and no tax relief
We learned in February that Washington is expected to take in a record surplus of nearly $15 billion over the next four years. Although the state is doing very well financially, many taxpayers across the state are struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills. We think this surplus money should be returned to the taxpayers. My Republican colleagues and I supported numerous measures to provide tax relief, including reducing the state's portion of property taxes, lowering the business and occupation tax for manufacturers and other job providers, cutting the state's sale tax and expanding the Working Families' tax credit.
Unfortunately, our efforts to give some of this money back to the taxpayers were rebuffed by the majority party. Instead, the supplemental operating budget that passed increases spending by $6.1 billion in the current 2021-23 budget, without tax relief. State spending now has reached $65 billion under the 2021-23 supplemental operation budget – Senate Bill 5693. Here are some other observations:
- This supplemental budget is almost 10 times more expensive than any previous supplemental budget.
- Despite the pandemic, tax collections have skyrocketed. Revenue growth is 13.3% in 2021 and 8.7% in 2022.
- This budget leaves a small four-year ending fund balance of $348 million.
- Republicans offered a budget framework called the “SAFE Washington” plan that would have provided tax relief. For information about that plan, go to: https://houserepublicans.wa.gov/safe-wa-budget/
Supplemental transportation budget provides funding for local projects
This year, we voted on legislation that enacts both a 2021-23 supplemental transportation budget and a new long-term transportation funding package.
Senate Bill 5689, the supplemental transportation budget, provides $11.6 billion for transportation projects across the state. It provides just over $49 million for transportation projects in the 14th District, including $28 million for corridor improvements on State Route 14 in both Clark and Skamania counties, and another $28 million for the SR 14/Bingen underpass.
Capital budget brings money home to the 14th District
As a member of the House Capital Budget Committee, I'm very proud we were able to craft a $1.5 billion bipartisan 2021-23 supplemental capital budget that will pay for new infrastructure across Washington state, including more than $7.6 million throughout the 14th Legislative District.
There's more than $1 million to build a new behavioral and substance abuse health facility for Comprehensive Health Care in Goldendale. We have $670,000 for a new Klickitat County animal shelter in Goldendale. The previous facility was in bad shape, unsafe, and closed in 2020. This is a project Sheriff Bob Songer has worked on. The supplemental capital includes $3.2 million for Northwest Harvest to build a new 10-acre facility in Yakima that includes a cold-storage food distribution warehouse and food pantry. This will support food banks and meal programs to some 300 Northwest Harvest partners across the state. There's also some money to replace and repair three structurally deficient bridges in the district.
Click here to read further details about this budget.
Other notable 2022 session legislation
- Ammunition magazine restriction
I joined with other Republicans to protect your Second Amendment rights. We fought against Senate Bill 5078 — a measure that would prohibit the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. We offered 22 amendments in defense of constitutional rights and debated the measure for three-and-a-half hours, but the bill passed on a 55-42 vote. It's now heading to the governor's office for his signature.
- Emergency powers reform
Monday, Feb. 28, was the two-year anniversary of the governor's state-of-emergency proclamation. That proclamation continues, even though many restrictions have eased. We offered legislation to restore balance of power among the three branches of government. Unfortunately, those bills did not advance.
Please stay in touch!
Although the Legislature will no longer be in session, I work for you throughout the year. Please be sure to contact me any time you have questions, comments, suggestions or ideas about legislation and state government.
It is an honor to serve you and the citizens of the 14th Legislative District!
Honored to serve you,