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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With the 2020 legislative session in full swing, it's time to remind folks how they can stay connected and involved in YOUR state government.

The Ledger is a legislative news aggregator that includes news stories from around the state, videos, audio files and more. This is a great way to stay informed on a day-to-day basis. I encourage you to bookmark this web site and make it a part of your daily browsing.

The Capitol Buzz is a daily news clipping service that you can visit via the web site, or you can sign up and receive it in your inbox via email. You can also visit the Legislature's web site to track bills, view committee membership and contact information, as well as committee agendas and more. My web site has links to bills I'm sponsoring, video, audio, and news releases.

Remote testimony
After adopting House Resolution 4621 last session, a House work group designed an initial pilot program for remote testimony for certain House committees. They are: College and Workforce Development; Housing, Community Development and Veterans; and Local Government.

Citizens from eastern and central Washington interested in testifying on legislation before these committees can do so at Spokane Community College in Spokane or Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities. I'm excited for this opportunity for residents living outside the I-5 corridor in western Washington to voice their thoughts and opinions on legislation being considered in Olympia. However, it is up to us to make sure this is not just a one-year pilot program! I encourage concerned citizens to take advantage of this opportunity when they can.

My bills
House Bill 2585 will give the director of the state Department of Labor and Industries more discrepancy to waive fees or modify penalties when action is taken to avoid imminent loss of life or serious injury. (Read my news release on this bill here. Listen to a KQQQ interview here. Read the story by the Moscow-Pullman Daily News here.)

As you may recall, Pullman firefighters were fined after rescuing 22 citizens last year from flood waters. After I expressed my deep frustration and amazement at this action by L&I, the director said he had no latitude in state law to waive the fines. I asked you in an online survey what you thought about this. Here is the response I got back from you:

“Knowing what you know about the Pullman fire department being fined by the state Department of Labor and Industries during their recent rescuing of citizens during the flood…do you think it is appropriate for L&I to levy these fines?

House Bill 2463 is legislation that allows (but does not mandate) for an optional designation on a driver's license or identicard for those with developmental disabilities. This is constituent-request legislation that is being asked for by families who want social workers, first responders and law enforcement to be able to quickly ascertain their loved ones may need a little more attention, explanation or communication. (Read my news release here. KXLY did a short story here.)

Gun bills next week
Many of you have expressed concern about the continuing erosion of our rights, especially the right to defend ourselves and our loved ones. Here are the gun bills scheduled for public hearings next week. I encourage you to call or email the chair and members of the committee, or come to Olympia to testify on the bills.

Legislative pages
If you, or someone you know is interested in being a legislative page, please apply immediately! Being a page is an excellent learning experience and a great way for students to learn firsthand about their state government. For more information about the House Legislative Page Program, click here.

Thank you for reading my legislative update. If I can be of service to you, or if you'd like to express your thoughts on state government or legislation, please feel free to contact my Olympia office.


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