It's great to reach out to you and bring you up to date on some of the many things happening in Olympia. The 2020 session kicked off on Jan. 13 and is expected to run for 60 days, with a scheduled completion date of March 12. Lawmakers have been extremely busy introducing, hearing, and debating nearly 1,500 new bills. And we've just hit the policy cut-off point.
I will get into further details about that, and numerous other topics, but first, I want to discuss a personal matter. Some of you may already know that I recently lost my mother. Obviously, this has been a very difficult experience, which came at a very unfortunate time. However, I appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes from all of you as I've been working through the grieving process.
My mother is one of my greatest heroes and much of the credit goes to her for the person I am today. She also played a huge role in me becoming a state representative. So, I want to take this opportunity to honor my mom and say thank you to her for her amazing influence in my life. And thanks to all of you for allowing me to share this personal message.
It's hard to believe we've already reached policy cut-off in this short, 60-day session. That means today is the day that all bills need to be voted on in committee either to move on or be put to rest. It's an important day for so many people who are fighting for a cause. But with 1,500 new bills to hear, only so many can make it through to the next step. It also means starting tomorrow, we'll be spending a lot more time on the floor deciding whether or not these bills will advance to the Senate.
I also want to update you on some of the results we've compiled from the surveys you returned and filled out online. We're still receiving responses, but here's what we have so far.
- Lowering the cost of health care, reducing taxes, addressing transportation issues, and establishing a system of care for the chronically mentally ill are your top four priorities.
- 63% of you strongly agree that the Legislature should take action to maintain $30 car tabs.
- 66% of you oppose a vehicle miles traveled tax.
- 68% of you oppose a state income tax based on capital gains.
- 55% of you oppose a ban on higher-capacity firearms magazines.
- For the question on how the state should direct its efforts to help with homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse, the most common response was to fund programs that treat mental illness, with 31%.
Your responses have been very helpful, and I want you to know that I hear what you're saying. I stand with you in working on these issues and so far, this session I've supported legislation that would:
- Implement $30 car tabs
- Prevent a vehicle miles traveled tax
- Prevent a state income tax on capital gains
- Prevent a ban on higher-capacity firearms magazine
- Work to fix the root causes of homelessness and mental illness
Thank you everyone who has taken the time to respond. I appreciate your input and feedback and want to make sure I'm truly representing your voice in Olympia. I'll continue to do everything in my power to honor the will of the people and push for these causes.
Update on Sponsored Bills
I've also been working on some other pieces of legislation that are very important to me and, I believe, to our state.
House Bill 2889 – this bill, which unanimously passed out of committee, requires that any city or town that operates its own water, sewer or wastewater, or stormwater utility and imposes a tax or fee on the operation of that utility, must disclose the tax or fee on the billing statements it provides to its customers. I believe customers should know when they're paying taxes, how much, and to whom those taxes are being paid.
House Bill 2783 – this bill also unanimously passed out of committee. It would require the State Building Code Council (SBCC) to develop a permitting process for mobile on-demand gasoline providers. It would also mandate that this permit would only have to be obtained once for each mobile fueling vehicle. It would also require the SBCC to develop criteria to identify standard locations at which mobile on-demand gasoline providers can operate without prior approval, as well as nonstandard sites where prior approval is required.
House Bill 1159 – I've been working on this bill since last session and it's getting very close to advancing to the House floor. This bill would change the definition of theft to include concealment. This occurs when someone hides merchandise under clothing, or in pockets or bags, with the intent of stealing. Under current Washington law, retailers are helpless to stop shoplifters in the act of concealment. Law enforcement and loss prevention officers can't apprehend a suspected shoplifter until the person has left the establishment with the merchandise. My bill would make it legal for retailers and law enforcement officers to confront would-be shoplifters the moment they conceal an item. This would be a huge win for retailers in the battle against organized retail crime.
I'm looking forward to voting on all of these bills on the House floor and hopefully moving them on to the Senate.
Helmet Funding Request
Lastly, I want to tell you about one other important issue I've been working on. This isn't a bill, but rather a request for funding for a very important program.
What I've asked the Appropriations Committee for is $20,000 in each of the next two years for the sole purpose of allowing the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to work with local law enforcement agencies and the Washington Fire Chiefs Association to provide helmets to people who have been contacted by local law enforcement or an official of a local fire department for not wearing a helmet while riding a skateboard or bicycle.
The goal is to reduce traumatic brain injuries throughout the state. If approved, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and the Washington Fire Chiefs Association would work together to administer the helmet distribution program.
I'm very passionate about this issue because, as a firefighter and first responder, I've seen too many people, especially children, suffer serious head trauma that could've been prevented had they been wearing a helmet. I'm very hopeful this request for funding will be approved.
Keep Your Eye on Olympia
If you want to stay up to date with everything going on during session, here are some great resources.
- Visit my website: You can keep up with me at RepresentativeDanGriffey.com. Check in regularly for my email updates, news releases, and bills I have sponsored.
- Legislature's website: You can track legislation, get bill reports, view committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature. Click here: www.leg.wa.gov.
- The Ledger: This daily informative and comprehensive news aggregator is the House Republican Caucus's latest tool to keep you in tune with everything going on in Olympia and throughout the entire state. Click here: The Washington State Ledger.
- Capitol Buzz: This daily electronic clip service offers headlines and stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, television. Click here to subscribe for free.
- TVW: Tune into TVW, Washington's own version of C-SPAN. You can catch floor and committee action live at: www.tvw.org.
Please Keep in Touch
As your elected public servant, it's my duty and honor to represent you and be your voice in Olympia. Please feel free to reach out to me to share your input as this session continues. You can contact me by calling my office at (360) 786-7966 or via email at Dan.Griffey@leg.wa.gov. I'm always open to hearing your input in person, as well. Just contact my legislative assistant, Amber Oliver, to set up an appointment. I look forward to meeting with you.
It's an honor to serve you!