Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is Thursday, March 2, the 53rd day of the scheduled 105-day session. We are now at the halfway point of the 2023 session. Stay tuned because some of the most important issues, including the final two-year budget proposals, are yet to be debated.
Cutoffs, long hours of floor voting. . . and so much more!
To date, 858 bills have been introduced in the House, and 778 in the Senate. We have also passed 168 bills from the House and the Senate has passed 149 bills.
Last Friday, Feb. 24, was the Legislature's fiscal committee cutoff. And a week before that, it was policy committee cutoff on Friday, Feb. 17. Policy and fiscal bills that did not pass out of their respective committees by those dates are often considered “dead” for the session. Bills necessary to implement the budget are exempt from the deadlines.
If you are interested in a good and bad House bill list House Republicans are tracking, click here. It is not an exhaustive list and will continue to change as the session progresses.
The next major deadline is next Wednesday, March 8. By 5 p.m. on that date, all bills (except those necessary to implement the budget) must be passed out of the chamber where they originated, or they are considered “dead” for the session. However, no bill is completely dead until the final gavel falls on the last day of session, April 23.
To meet this upcoming “house of origin” cutoff, we are working long hours on the House floor and in our caucus rooms. There's a possibility we may be on the House floor this weekend, voting on bills.
Most of the legislation I have introduced and sponsored was brought to me as suggestions and ideas by local citizens. I am honored to have had the help and support of my esteemed colleagues to move these bills forward through the committee process, and I'm working hard to move them through the full House to the other side of the rotunda, Here's a list of those bills.
MY BILLS THAT HAVE PASSED THE HOUSE
- House Bill 1114 – Sentencing Guidelines Commission: This bipartisan-sponsored bill addresses the state's Sentencing Guidelines Commission membership, including adding four voting members to give more representative voices. I am a member of this commission. This bill passed the House unanimously on Feb. 8. It is now in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
- House Bill 1512 – MMIWP and Lucian Act: The bill is recommended by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People (MMIWP) Task Force and the Office of the Attorney General. It would provide resources for immediate actions that need to take place when a person vanishes. The bill recognizes missing and murdered indigenous people, an issue I first brought to the forefront in 2018 legislation. It is also named after four-year-old Lucian Munguia, who was reported missing on Sept. 10 from Sarg Hubbard Park and drowned in the Yakima River. This bill passed unanimously from the Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee on Monday. Feb. 13. The measure passed the House yesterday with a unanimous vote. Read my press release for more information.
- House Bill 1564 – Would ban over-the-counter sexual assault kits: Do-it-yourself at-home rape kits can mislead survivors to believe they have evidentiary value, when in fact, they are not admissible in a Washington state court. A New York company teamed up with a University of Washington sorority to offer its “Early Evidence Kits,” which Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says deceives a Washington consumer to believe they have equivalent value to a free sexual assault evidence kit administered by a medical professional. Several states, including Washington, have written cease and desist, and/or warning letters against the sale of the kits, often stating unlawful business practices. My bill would prohibit the sale of these DIY kits in Washington state. It's wrong for companies to profit from sexual assault survivors. Congress is also addressing the issue. The bill passed the Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee on Feb. 16. Passed the House on Monday, Feb. 27, with a vote of 96-0. For more information, read my press release.
MY BILLS AWAITING A HOUSE FLOOR VOTE
The following bills I prime-sponsored are on the floor calendar awaiting a vote by the full House of Representatives:
- House Bill 1117 – Power supply inadequacy: This bill passed the House and Senate unanimously last year, but when it arrived 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. The bill passed the House Environment and Energy Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 14, with a small amendment. I have met with the governor's office to address his concerns.
- House Bill 1150 – Unlawful branding of a person: This bill would make it a Class B felony to brand/tattoo someone in Washington without their will. A forced tattoo is often the way for a sex trafficker to identify the victim as the trafficker's property. This symbol of ownership is traumatic for victims who are able to escape their traffickers but must live with the marks and scars from the physical markings forcibly placed on them. A Class B felony is punishable by up to 10 years in confinement and a $20,000 fine. This bill passed the Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee on Jan. 26.
- House Bill 1171 – Motorcycle Safety Board: This measure would add two certified motorcycle riders to represent motorcycle safety instructors, one from the east side of the Cascade mountain range and one from the west, to Washington's Motorcycle Safety Board. This bill passed the House Transportation Committee on Jan. 26.
- House Bill 1635 – Fentanyl police dogs: This measure provides for the training and certification of canine teams to detect fentanyl. It also limits the liability of canine handlers from using trained police dogs. This bill passed the Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee on Monday. Feb. 13.
- House Bill 1779 – Reducing toxic air pollution: Also known as “Mary's Law,” this bill was brought to me by a constituent who was harmed by breathing carbon monoxide through the vents of a vehicle. The measure seeks to convene a state interagency carbon monoxide work group to investigate how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. The measure passed the House Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday, Feb. 16.
Watch my Legislative Video Update!
Click here or on the photo below to watch my video update discussing the bills that survived the Legislature's first two cutoffs.
Listen to my radio interviews
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to present a legislative update on two radio stations in the 14th District. I invite you to listen in.
More work remains on public safety
As the ranking Republican on the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, public safety is among my top priorities of the 2023 session.
Good and bad news – Restoring police vehicular pursuits
The good news is that the bill that would once again allow law enforcement officers to engage in vehicular pursuits of suspected criminals, House Bill 1363, as amended, made it out of policy and fiscal committees and remains alive. The disappointing news is that it is still far from the original bill that sought to restore the “reasonable suspicion” standard in place before the law was changed in 2021.
Under the amended bill, an officer may not engage in a vehicular pursuit unless they have a reasonable suspicion of one of six particular crimes – either a violent offense, a sex offense, a vehicular assault, an escape, assault in the first, second, third or fourth degree that involves domestic violence, or driving under the influence.
This still restricts law enforcement officers from doing their jobs to protect the public. It also doesn't allow police to pursue a suspected stolen vehicle unless they have solid probable cause to believe it was stolen. That's disappointing, given the increase in vehicle thefts since 2021. Still, we hope to amend the bill back to its original form that 40 lawmakers, including 20 Democrats, sponsored.
Questions? Comments? Contact my office!
It is my highest honor to serve and represent you and your neighbors across the 14th Legislative District. As we roll into the second half of the 2023 session, please remember to stay informed and involved. Your voice counts as we vote on bills and the budgets. Please call, write or email my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about legislation.
Honored to serve you,