Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2011 Legislature's first cutoff date of Feb. 17 is history. And so are hundreds of bills now considered dead because they failed to win committee approval before the deadline. Fiscal committees that deal with budgets and legislation to implement budgets have until today (Friday, Feb. 25) to complete their work – except on bills needed to cut spending, or unfortunately, add fees.
Hundreds of other bills did pass from committee during the busy days leading up to the cutoff. That means our focus now shifts from committee work to floor sessions, where all 98 House members have an opportunity to amend, accept, or reject the proposals that have cleared the committee process.
Between now and March 7, when House bills must be passed by the full House or wait for another year, we will be in marathon day and evening sessions to meet that deadline. It promises to be a hectic time, but my fellow House Republicans and I are looking forward to the challenge.
Although we are disappointed with the demise of many good Republican bills, our focus remains unwavered: Getting Washington working again!
Reps. Schmick and Fagan with members of the Eastern Washington University Eagles football team.
House Republicans focused on saving and creating private-sector jobs, protecting taxpayers
Washingtonians want a job, not more political games. My House Republican colleagues and I are focused on real solutions that will create certainty for employers – both in taxes and regulations. Our proposals are common-sense solutions that send a signal to employers, and our future employers, that we mean business! Here are some solutions we introduced to get Washington working again:
- House Bill 1091 – Unemployment Tax Relief and Reform – would create jobs by protecting employers from dramatic unemployment insurance tax increases. (Rep. Cary Condotta) signed into law
- House Bill 1151 – Cutting government red tape – would require that regulations drafted by an agency have specific statutory authority. (Rep. Norma Smith)
- House Bill1156 – Rulemaking Freeze – would create jobs by putting a freeze on new rules or regulations by state agencies until 2014, or when the economy recovers. (Rep. Ed Orcutt)
- House Bill 1341 – Oversight of agency regulations – would delay implementation of proposed rules until they have weathered the scrutiny of a legislative session. (Rep. David Taylor)
- House Bill 1388 – Addressing costly building code changes – would prohibit implementation of new energy building codes until April 1, 2012, giving the construction industry a chance to get back on its feet again. (Rep. Bruce Dammeier)
- House Bill 1592 – Suspending the GMA in areas of high unemployment – would suspend the Growth Management Act in counties and cities where the unemployment rate exceeds 7 percent for three consecutive months. (Rep. Shelly Short)
- House Bill 1671 – Reigning in state regulations – would require state agencies, before adoption of a rule, to determine whether compliance would have a specified economic impact on jobs and taxpayers. (Rep. Jason Overstreet)
- House Bill 1672 – B&O tax relief – would encourage small business job creation by doubling the small business tax credit. (Rep. Mark Hargrove)
- House Bill 1687 – Property tax transparency and fairness – provides property owners more certainty and fiscal stability by shifting the balance of power when they deal with counties in property tax disputes. The bill also would require more transparency to taxpayers in property tax ballot measures. (Rep. Ed Orcutt)
- House Bill 1807 – Addressing taxes and fees – would make sure that all taxes and fees have a clear and explicit basis in law. (Rep. Glenn Anderson)
- House Bill 1961 – Streamlining the permit process – would require permits be granted or denied within 90 days, or the permit is automatically granted. This would remove the red tape from state agency permitting process. (Rep. Hans Zeiger)
- House Bills 1964 and 1872 – Workers' compensation reform – together, these bills would modify the definition of occupational disease for purposes of industrial insurance to require that the disease arise out of and in the course of the particular employment and meet other criteria; limit the time for filing occupational disease claims; and authorize voluntary settlement agreements regarding any or all aspects of industrial insurance claims under certain conditions. (Rep. Cary Condotta)
- House Joint Resolution 4213 – Taxpayer Protection Act – would make permanent the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes by passing a constitutional amendment. This would require 66 of the 98 members of the House of Representatives and 33 of the 49 members of the Senate to vote in support of a tax
increase for it to pass the Legislature. (Rep. Ed Orcutt)
Washington can no longer sit on the sidelines while other states are doing all they can to stimulate their economic growth and prosperity. House Republicans continue to believe that getting Washington working again is the only way to turn our economy around.