Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With the 2022 legislative session now in the rearview mirror, I wanted to update you on some of the highlights of this 60-day legislative session. It has been an honor for me to represent and serve the people of the 16th district and be your voice in Olympia.
Much like last year, state spending, tax relief, emergency powers, law enforcement, and gun control captured most of the headlines and I want to share more information on these topics.
When will the emergency end?
I am glad to see that our state’s indoor mask mandate has finally been lifted and I am hopeful we are nearing the end of this pandemic. Even though most COVID-related restrictions are now over, we are still living under a state of emergency with one-person rule. The governor continues to operate with unbalanced and unchecked power, with no input from the Legislature or the people of Washington. Despite numerous proposals from Republican lawmakers over the last two years, including additional bills this session, majority Democrats have chosen to allow this state of emergency to continue, and the governor has given no indication that he will end it anytime soon.
Police Reform 2.0
Another pressing issue this session was fixing the damage from last year’s law enforcement legislation that caused so much confusion for our police officers and put them and our communities at risk. Republicans offered several bills to correct and clarify these flawed bills, but once again, most of these proposals were rejected. On a positive note, lawmakers did pass three bills that will make things at least a little better. House Bills 1719 and 1735 have already been signed into law and House Bill 2037 is on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature. These three bills will improve officers’ ability to make quick decisions, deescalate dangerous situations, help people experiencing a mental health crisis and clarify when use of force is allowed.
However, Republicans feel these bills do not go far enough. Public safety is one of our top priorities and we will continue to push for clearer and more balanced police reform policy and safer communities.
Chipping away at your 2nd Amendment rights
The majority also passed additional gun control this session that will turn many law-abiding citizens into criminals and make our communities less safe. Senate Bill 5078 bans the sale, manufacturer, or transfer of firearms magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds. Additionally, House Bill 1630 prohibits openly carried firearms at local government meetings and county election offices. Concealed pistol licenses would still be allowed.
Lastly, House Bill 1705 will limit the purchase of firearms that are untraceable, meaning all firearms, receivers and frames purchased in the state will require either unique serial numbers or a registration. Blaming lawful gun owners for societal problems is misguided. Let’s hold people accountable for their actions instead of going after law-abiding gun owners.
It’s raining money in Olympia
Washington has seen a huge revenue increase over the last year, giving the state a record budget surplus of more than $15 billion. However, despite that record revenue, the majority party’s supplemental operating budget will spend nearly all this surplus without giving any meaningful tax relief to the people of Washington. Republicans were not invited to the negotiating table to create this budget and did not have substantial input. A top priority for me and my Republican colleagues was to see meaningful tax relief to help families and individuals struggling the most. Yet our calls for tax relief were ignored.
While I’m disappointed by some aspects of this year’s legislative session, I remain hopeful for the future and am reminded of a quote from President Ronald Regan, “The world’s greatest achievers have been those who have always stayed focused on their goals and have been consistent in their efforts.” It is my promise to you, the people of the 16th Legislative District, that I will continue to fight for your rights and represent your voice in Olympia.
Join us for a virtual town hall!
I invite you to join me and Reps. Rude and Klicker for a virtual town hall on Tuesday, March 22. We will provide a 2022 legislative session wrap-up and provide constituents the opportunity to share opinions and ideas.
What: 16 LD Town Hall
When: Tuesday, March 22, 2021, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
The event will be conducted using the Zoom platform. Those who would like to participate must pre-register in advance by clicking here.
As this year’s session comes to an end, please remember that I serve you year-round. I encourage you to reach out to my office and to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns on matters of importance to you. And please, if you don’t already, follow me on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.