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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are very busy, working late into the night and weekends to debate, amend and pass House bills off the House floor. The next legislative cutoff is Wednesday, March 13.

One of the bills we passed this week was a Senate bill (Senate Bill 5273) which would move our state's presidential primary from May to March. Ostensibly, the idea is to make Washington more of a “player” in the presidential primary race this next election season. However, this move comes with a high price tag: the continued disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters.

The bill requires a voter to “check the box” and specifically identify as Republican or Democrat. But we are a fiercely independent state and many voters do not agree 100 percent of the time with either party on 100 percent of the issues. These unaffiliated voters will now be boxed in and forced to declare a party preference.

What's even more troubling is that once a voter makes that declaration, his or her contact information will likely be added to Democrat or Republican voter lists for future elections.

The bill passed on a straight party-line vote with all Republicans voting NO and all Democrats voting YES. I'm disappointed the Legislature is forcing voters to declare party allegiance for the upcoming presidential primary.

Public Option health care plan
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the governor's request legislation (House Bill 1523) to mandate a government-sponsored health care plan for our state. This is one step closer to socialized medicine, in my opinion. Rather than focus our efforts at reducing health care costs by reducing plan mandates or offering more choices by allowing cross-county health plan purchases, the majority party decided to take us one step closer to complete socialized medicine.

The bill passed the state House earlier today. I issued this statement. It's frustrating to see legislation passed that will continue to decimate rural health care. We absolutely know it will result in less care – less providers – which hits us hard as many patients already drive 50-100 miles to see their primary care providers. As one of my colleagues implied on the House floor, I wonder if ruining rural health care is not unintentional?

9th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall
On Thursday, March 21, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. please join me and Rep. Mary Dye for our 9th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall. We send out calls right at 6:00 p.m., but if you don't receive a phone call after a few minutes and want to join in, please call (509) 394-4742.

Thank you for reading my update. I hope to connect with many of you at our telephone town hall. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Olympia.


Joe Schmick

State Representative Joe Schmick, 9th Legislative District
426B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7844 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000