Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am excited to be back at the state Capitol with other lawmakers representing you, our families, friends, and neighbors from the 14th District.
The opening gavel to the 2023 session fell at noon on Monday, Jan. 9. It was my honor to be sworn into office just after that to begin my fifth term as your state representative. Due to the pandemic, this is the first time all 98 state House of Representatives members have been in the House chamber together since March 2020. It was good to see friends and colleagues from both sides of the aisle.
Major issues to address
Going into this session, we know Washington has major challenges that must be addressed. Four of those issues stand out that my Republican colleagues and I are committed to improving:
- Reducing your cost of living
SOLUTION: Offer sales tax relief or property tax relief and repeal the regressive long-term care insurance program and payroll tax.
- Making communities safer
SOLUTION: Combat crime, restore vehicular pursuit, address drug addiction, and put more officers on the street.
- Fixing our housing crisis
SOLUTION: Expedite housing permits, expand development boundaries, and create housing opportunity zones.
- Empowering all families
SOLUTION: Help students recover from learning loss, offer school choice, and expand the working families tax credit.
To learn more about our real solutions for the 2023 session, I invite you to watch the Republican Perspective to the governor's State of the State address from Tuesday, Jan. 10.
This year, I will be serving as ranking Republican on the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee. This committee was formerly known as the House Public Safety Committee, and I have been the lead Republican on it for the past two years.
Some of the major issues we hope to fix include:
- the state Supreme Court's Blake Decision, which struck down the state's felony drug possession law;
- restoring the ability of law enforcement to pursue a vehicle based on reasonable suspicion; and
- providing more tools to fight the increase in crime related to vehicle theft.
Listen to my radio interview with Jason Rantz on KTTH about these and other anticipated public safety issues.
I have also been reappointed to the House Capital Budget Committee, which approves money for the construction and repair of public buildings and other local infrastructure. Plus, I am serving on a new committee this year — the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. With hospitals full of patients and a severe health care worker shortage, we will be looking at how to maintain and increase health care services in our communities and across the state.
Remote testimony is still available
I highly encourage you to participate in the legislative process. You can still sign up to testify remotely if you are unable to attend a committee hearing on a bill in Olympia. You may also submit written testimony to a committee and get your position on a bill noted for the legislative record. Go here to learn more about participating in the process.
I've worked very hard during the interim to prepare legislation on your behalf for the 2023 session. Many of these ideas came from local citizens like you. Some may seem familiar from previous sessions. Often, it takes several legislative sessions to get bills perfected and through the process and to the governor's desk.
Here are the bills I introduced last week:
- House Bill 1114 – Sentencing Guidelines Commission: This bipartisan-sponsored bill addresses membership of the state's Sentencing Guidelines Commission, including adding four voting members to give more representative voices. I am honored to be among the members of this commission. This bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Jan. 17 in the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee.
- House Bill 1116 – Juveniles and controlled substances: This seeks to help juveniles who have drug addiction issues. This bill has been referred to the Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee.
- House Bill 1117 – Power supply inadequacy: This bill passed the House and Senate unanimously last year, but when it landed on the governor's desk, he vetoed it. The measure would ensure the state continually addresses plans to help avoid energy blackouts, brownouts, or other inadequacies of the electric grid. We want to make sure Washingtonians don't experience the same kinds of brownouts and energy blackouts that we've seen in other states going green, such as Texas and California. I'm hopeful we can work with the governor's office to address his concerns so that we can get this bill passed and signed into law. A public hearing was held Thursday morning, Jan. 12, in the House Environment and Energy Committee.
- House Bill 1118 – School bus safety: This continues my work to address school bus safety issues, including seat belts. We require our children to buckle up when they get in a car, but then we let them ride unbuckled in a school bus. That makes no sense. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended all new school buses be equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts. This bill is self-funding and would use the paddle-stop penalties (those motorists who illegally pass school buses when the stop sign is pulled out) to fund seat belts and safety equipment on school buses to ensure our children are always safe. This bill has been referred to the House Education Committee.
- House Bill 1137 – Return to work opportunities: This provides a pathway for an injured worker with a workers' compensation claim to allow them to do light duty at a local community charity. This bill has been referred to the Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.
- House Bill 1150 – Unlawful branding of person: This is a reintroduction of my bill from last year that would make it a felony to brand/tattoo someone in Washington against their will. KING 5 News did a great story on this issue and the background of the bill last year. You can watch it here. The measure has been referred to the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee.
- House Bill 1171 – Motorcycle Safety Board: This measure would add a certified motorcycle rider to our state's Motorcycle Safety Board. This has been referred to the House Transportation Committee.
- House Bill 1196 – Criminal plea negotiation: This legislation asks the Sentencing Guideline Commission to research if there is a way to create a more transparent criminal justice system. The bill is in the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee.
Many thanks to all of you who participated in our 14th District Virtual Listening Tour on Jan. 3. We had more than 70 people join us and several reporters who covered the event. You can read more about it in the newspapers below:
- Mosbrucker, King address constituents concerns as legislative session looms – Yakima Herald-Republic
- Washington 14th District legislators discuss priorities – Columbia Gorge News
Legislative Page and Intern Programs
For the first time in two years, the Legislative Page Program has resumed. Pages, who are between the ages of 14 and 16, help deliver documents and provide assistance in the chamber during floor sessions, all while attending Legislative Page School. This has happened yearly since 1889. However, the program was suspended for the last two years due to COVID. The Legislature has made a one-time exception for students ages 17-18 years old who were unable to participate during the pandemic. Applications are available online here.
We also have some 70 passionate, inquisitive and hardworking college-age students serving members as Legislative Interns. Unfortunately, applications for the 2023 session are closed. But you can still learn information about this program here.
Visit your state Capitol!
Coming to the Capitol? Be sure to call my office and get an appointment so we can visit. The number is 360-786-7856. Tours of the capitol, the governor's mansion, and the monument and memorial sites on the Capitol campus are also available. You can get more details on the tours at www.leg.wa.gov.
I'm here to serve you as well as represent you!
Have an idea for legislation? Are you running into roadblocks dealing with a state agency? Have a question about a bill? I encourage you to call, email, or visit my office in Olympia. We can help in a variety of ways. You'll find my contact information below. It is an honor to serve and represent you!
Visit my website for more details: www.representativeginamosbrucker.com.
Honored to serve you,