Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have passed the midpoint of the 60-day legislative session. We are spending long hours and days on the House floor debating bills. This email gives you a brief update on some of the issues I have been working on. I look forward to meeting with you in person next weekend, giving you a more extensive update on the legislative session and answering your questions. I am hosting an in-person town hall event at Trailhead Golf Course next Saturday, Feb. 17, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. See the information below.
I have been working across the aisle on several issues. I got a few of my prime-sponsored bills out of the state House of Representatives and over to the Senate.
House Bill 2127 would provide workers’ compensation incentives for employees to return to work sooner as part of Washington State’s Stay at Work Program and Preferred Worker Program. The bill passed the House unanimously on Tuesday. Click here to read more.
House Bill 1898 would streamline the process related to unemployment benefit charging. This is request legislation from the Employment Security Department. It passed the House unanimously and is in the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 2062 would revise the positions within the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) that are exempt from the State Civil Service Law. This is DSHS request legislation. It passed the House unanimously and is in the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 2079 could pass the House at any time. It would expand the crime of assault against sports officials, volunteer or paid, and be included in the “Interference by Force or Violence and Intimidation by Threat of Force or Violence” law.
The original bill called for more stringent penalties against sports officials, school staff and administrators. I would have preferred that version. However, this is a step in the right direction, and it keeps the issue moving. We must let people know that intimidating, harassing and threatening behavior will not be tolerated at sporting events or on school grounds.
I also have an amendment to the bill to include signage at the schools and sporting events informing violators of the “Interference by Force or Violence and Intimidation by Threat of Force or Violence” they could potentially face jail time and a significant fine.
Click the photo below to watch the video my friend Bob West and I recorded after the public hearing on House Bill 2079, or you can click here.
Latest on the six initiatives
Over halfway through the legislative session, there is still no indication the majority party will schedule public hearings on the six initiatives before the Legislature.
House Republicans have made every effort to give Washington’s citizens a chance to voice their concerns. Earlier this week, our ranking members and assistant ranking members sent letters to House committee chairs and vice chairs requesting public hearings on the six certified initiatives. At this time, we have not received a response. For more information, click here.
Here is a rundown of the initiatives:
- Initiative 2113 would restore the authority of police to pursue fleeing suspects.
- Initiative 2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act and its cap-and-trade program.
- Initiative 2081 would establish parental rights in K-12 education.
- Initiative 2109 would repeal the income tax on capital gains.
- Initiative 2111 would prohibit further efforts to impose an income tax.
- Initiative 2124 would allow Washington workers to opt-out of a mandatory and deeply flawed long-term care insurance program, as well as the payroll tax that goes with it.
Regardless of your stance on these initiatives, they deserve a public hearing. With a reported approximate 2.6 million signatures, it is clear citizens across the state feel these are important issues.
Our caucus continues to push priorities that address public safety, the drug crisis, housing and homelessness, affordability, child care and other issues. In my first email update of the session, I talked about Washington state’s public safety crisis. Our state is facing much more. Check out the video below for a quick overview.
For more information on House Republican solutions, click on the links below:
Following the Legislature
I hope you are staying engaged and following what is happening in Olympia. It has been an interesting session. Below are some websites to keep you informed.
- Representative Suzanne Schmidt (my legislative website)
- The Ledger – a legislative news aggregator
- Capitol Buzz – Daily news clips
Please contact me with any questions, concerns or comments you have. I appreciate the feedback, as it helps me better represent you in the Legislature.