Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The last two weeks were a whirlwind as we wrapped up the initial committee schedule of the legislative process. At this point, all bills (except those necessary to implement the budget) that haven't been approved by a policy or fiscal committee are considered “dead” for the rest of session.
To view a list of some of the larger dead/alive bills, click here. There are some good bills that are still alive, and there are some good bills that are now dead. This is only the beginning of the legislative process, but this list will give you a good idea of what made it through the beginning stages of the session.
My bill to raise the speed limit on certain segments of I-90 (HB 2181) received a public hearing and was voted out of the House Transportation Committee yesterday. To read more about that bill, click here.
I have several more health care bills still alive and moving through the legislative process. I'll continue to update you on those as the session progresses. I'm hoping those bills will come up for a vote on the House floor next week.
To listen to my Capitol Report podcast where I talk about our telephone town hall meeting, health care bills, and my concerns with Gov. Inslee's proposed low carbon fuel standards, click here.
Or you can click here to listen to my most recent podcast discussing the West Coast port slowdown and labor impasse.
We're also starting to hear rumblings of the dreaded “Vehicle Miles Travelled” (VMT) tax once again. Only this time, it's being called a “road fee.” You have to admit, those that want more of your hard earned money are getting creative! As you know, this concept would unfairly harm rural families where we may have to drive 20 or even 50 miles to go to a bank or grocery store. Rest assured I will fight this proposal no matter what “name” it goes by.
Green-energy scandal in Oregon leads to Gov. Kitzhaber's resignation
Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon resigned from office last week in the wake of a criminal investigation into a green-energy scandal. In a statement, the governor was defiant and blamed the media for depriving him of due process.
Recent information from Oregon has generated questions about the role of billionaire Tom Steyer in climate-change policies. Steyer, who used to invest in coal-mining companies, has tried to influence Washington elections.
Gov. Inslee released a statement on Kitzhaber's resignation, emphasizing his leadership on health care. It should be noted Oregon's Obamacare website, Cover Oregon, was a major failure. An independent report was highly critical of the state's leadership on the project.
I have concerns that some of the same “green-energy” trends, monies and strategies that we saw in Oregon are taking place now in Washington. We will be keeping a close eye on our governor and his proposals.
Thanks again for reading my e-newsletter. Please feel free to contact my office with questions or concerns about legislation or state government. It's a privilege to serve you in Olympia.