Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In last week's update, I wrote about our Open Safe, Open Now plan to bring all of Washington into Phase 3. Our plan also included clear, concise parameters for Phase 4 with local control from local health departments being emphasized over Olympia control.
This week, it appears the governor was listening as he announced his plans for Phase 3. According to his plan, all of Washington will move to his version of Phase 3 on March 22 and will be based on counties instead of regions as we move forward. On one hand, I'm pleased the governor has finally acknowledged the need to move to the next phase. On the other, we could have done this weeks ago had he included the Legislature and worked with us from the beginning. And, while he lambasted our plan as “politics over science,” it is interesting to see some very similar components in his plan.
You can read a blog post from the Washington Policy Center comparing some of the components of the two plans here. What do you think? Take a look at both plans and let me know what you think. Last week, many of you took the time to send comments to me – and I very much appreciate it. I read every one. Some of you agreed and said it was past time to reopen, some thought I was a crazy lunatic for trying to reopen before everyone has been vaccinated. While I can't vouch for my own sanity, I can say 'thank you' to all who responded. As I've always said, we may not agree on every issue, but I will always listen.
Bad bills still alive
We spent the last two weeks debating legislation on the House floor (remotely, of course) and sponsoring amendments and voting for and against many bills. As of Tuesday, 216 bills were passed by the House of Representatives, with 42 of those being sponsored by Republicans. Here are a few of the bad ones still alive in the process:
- Felon voting rights (HB 1078)
- Police tactics, use of force (HB 1054, HB 1310)
- Low Carbon Fuel Standard (HB 1091)
- Rental Property Rights (HB 1236)
In addition, the Senate passed an income tax on capital gains (SB 5096) by a party-line vote with no Republican support. There is a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on Monday at 10 a.m. You can go here for more information on how you can testify in committee on this bill.
Here are a few of the House Republican bills that passed:
- House Bill 1001 would establish a law enforcement professional development outreach grant program.
- House Bill 1410 would protect taxpayers from home foreclosures.
- House Bill 1137 would elevate road maintenance and preservation in transportation planning.
- House Bill 1170 would provide a framework for the state to add 300,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years.
- House Bill 1438 would expand eligibility for property tax exemptions for service-connected disabled veterans and senior citizens.
Again, thank you to all who wrote in last week to express thoughts and concerns about our Open Safe, Open Now plan. I really do value your input. Thank you for reading my update and for staying involved, and for allowing me to serve you in Olympia.