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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have now passed the first major legislative floor deadline. House of origin cutoff was last Wednesday, March 8 at 5 p.m. Bills that have not passed out of the chamber by that deadline will likely not advance further this session. Only legislation necessary to implement the budget is exempt from the deadline. It should be noted bills that have been introduced this year may also be considered during the 2024 session.
After working late nights and long hours, the House passed 329 bills — 77 of which were prime sponsored by Republicans.
We have now transitioned into a period in which House committees are considering Senate bills and Senate committees are hearing House bills. This process will continue through Wednesday, March 29, which is the last day for policy bills from the opposite chamber to be considered and passed from their respective committees. The opposite house fiscal committee cutoff is Tuesday, April 4 for fiscal-related bills.
These deadlines help the Legislature to stay focused as we work to accomplish our goals for the citizens of Washington within the allotted constitutional time frame this year of 105-days.
Revenue forecast and budgets are out next!
Aside from the legislative calendar, the next big event is the state's revenue forecast, which will be released at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 20 by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. The numbers released at this meeting will provide lawmakers with the information they need to craft a two-year 2023-25 state operating budget to go into effect on July 1 of this year.
We still must consider, debate and pass operating, transportation and capital budgets before the end of the 2023 session on April 23.
Mosbrucker bills pass House, now considered in the Senate
Here's an update on my bills that have passed the House before Wednesday's cutoff and are now in the Senate for consideration:
- 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 where a public hearing was held March 9.
- 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. I have met with the governor's office to address his concerns. The bill passed the House unanimously on March 4. It is now in the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee with a public hearing scheduled for 8 a.m. on Friday, March 17.
- 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 unanimously on March 3. It is now in the Senate Transportation 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 in Yakima and drowned in the Yakima River. The measure passed the House on March 1 with a unanimous vote. Read my press release for more information. It is now in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
- 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 House on Monday, Feb. 27, with a vote of 96-0. For more information, read my press release. A public hearing was held on the bill on March 8 in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
- 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 unanimously on March 7. It is now in the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, where a public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday), March 15 at 8 a.m.
Police pursuit bill stalls in House, Senate passes its version
I've worked tirelessly to help move the bipartisan police pursuit bill, House Bill 1363, through the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, where I serve as ranking Republican. The original bill sought to restore the law before it was changed in 2021 so that law enforcement could engage in vehicular pursuits under the “reasonable suspicion” standard. Under current law, police may not pursue a suspect unless they have “probable cause.”
House Bill 1363 was amended in the committee to restrict reasonable suspicion pursuits to a violent offense, a sex offense, vehicular assault, escape, domestic violence or driving under the influence. Many other serious crimes, however, including vehicular theft, are not included.
When it became apparent the police vehicular pursuit bill was not going to move out of the House Rules Committee, Republican co-sponsor Rep. Eric Robertson made a procedural move last Tuesday to bring the measure to the House floor for a vote. The majority party rejected the motion, which meant the House bill was likely going no further. You can read the statement I issued after this motion failed.
On Wednesday, the Senate took up their own version. It's nearly identical to the House-amended bill, except it does not have a sunset clause like the House version that would have expired the bill in two years. The bill passed as Senate Republicans joined a little more than half of Democrats to push the legislation across the Senate finish line. The Senate bill is now in the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, where I serve as ranking Republican. I am continuing to work to advance this bill. I believe too many lives are at stake to let this measure stall in committee.
2023 legislative session: Good and bad House bills
With the major house of origin deadline behind us, House Republican staff have compiled a list of “good and bad bills.” I invite you to take a look by going here.
Also, please consider signing up for The Week Ahead. Not only does this communication provide you with a list of bills and their descriptions, it offers information on how to weigh in on the legislation. Click here to read this week's edition of The Week Ahead.
Join us for another 14th District Virtual Town Hall Meeting!
Be sure to mark your calendar and join me, Rep. Chris Corry and Sen. Curtis King for a 14th District Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, March 23, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. This event is similar to one Sen. King and I held in early January.
We will provide a legislative update of the session and take your questions. This is all conducted on the computer using the Zoom program. It's a convenient way to participate in your government from the comfort of your home. Pre-registration is required. Please go here to sign up!
Contact my office any time!
I am pleased to announce I have a new legislative assistant. Will Kincaid has joined my office. He will be the friendly voice you hear when you call my Olympia office.
Our representative form of government works best when you are involved. I invite you to call my office any time you have questions, comments or ideas about state government and legislation. Also, if you're getting the runaround from a state agency, I may also be able to help. You'll find my contact information below.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve and represent you. I am so grateful!
Honored to serve you,
431 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7856 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000