We did it – we survived snowmageddon. During that snowy weekend earlier this month, I witnessed a tremendous outpouring of community service, from neighbors shoveling driveways, offering rides to those stranded, or providing warmth and comfort to those without heat or power, To the many of you who lent a helping hand to those in need, I want to extend a heartfelt 'thank you.' Your help, compassion, and charity is what community is truly all about.
Last week marked the first deadline of the 2019 legislative session — Policy Committee Cutoff. On Friday, Feb. 22, most bills that did not pass out of their respective policy committees are now considered “dead” for the session. Exceptions are made for bills that have fiscal implications or are deemed necessary to implement the budget.
This week is Fiscal Committee Cutoff. Similar to Policy Committee Cutoff, most bills that do not pass out of their fiscal committees will be deemed “dead” for the year, unless they impact the budget.
What all of this means is lawmakers are going to be working down to the wire to get their bills through their committees before time runs out.
Bills no longer progressing this session
I have two bills that, sadly, will no longer be advancing this session. It's unfortunate these bills were not scheduled for votes by the committees as they would have greatly benefited the 35th Legislative District and children throughout Washington state:
HB 1233 – I talked about this bill in my last email update. It encourages the use of best-available science when local officials are making planning decisions, and prevents the Growth Management Hearings Board from overturning those decisions.
HB 1235 – This bill would create the crime of providing harmful material to a child. I introduced this bill after a constituent told me a young relative had been shown pornography from an adult at school. The fact this isn't already a crime is shocking to me, and my bill simply changes that.
To monitor the status of all of my bills, you can visit this web page.
Bill to eliminate statute of limitations on sex offenses involving children progresses
My bill to eliminate the statute of limitations on most sex offenses against children is awaiting a vote on the House floor. The legislation — HB 1231 — would also extend the statute of limitations for numerous other sex crimes. I recently recorded a video about this bill, which you can watch here or by clicking on the image below.
Helping retailers by cracking down on theft
According to a recent National Retail Federation survey, U.S. retailers lose about $50 billion annually to theft. For many states, that means millions of dollars lost in unrealized sales tax revenue.
So what are Washington retailers to do?
Unlike most big-box retailers, small- and medium-sized retailers do not have the resources to take major security measures. And retailers usually can't act until someone exits the establishment with stolen goods.
I've sponsored a bill that would help. My legislation seeks to help retailers, big and small, by targeting retail crime rings. Specifically, HB 1159 would modify the definition of “theft” to include the crime of concealment.
In effect, this bill would allow retailers to contact the authorities when someone snatches items and hides them under their clothes or in bags with the intent of stealing those items. I read a story about this happening at a retail establishment, where a man donning a trench coat with internal pockets sewn into it concealed and stole several bottles of alcohol.
Instead of waiting until someone leaves a store to intervene, retailers would be able to rely on law enforcement once an individual conceals items to de-escalate the situation and hopefully avoid financial losses.
The bill is awaiting a vote on the House floor.
If you have any questions about this bill, or any other proposals before the state Legislature, I encourage you to contact me. You can do so by calling my office at (360) 786-7966 or sending an email to Dan.Griffey@leg.wa.gov.
It's an honor representing you!