It's good to be back doing the business of the people of Washington. A lot has happened since we left the Capitol last March, and obviously, we are all still feeling the effects of COVID-19. Not only has it affected the health of thousands of people, but thousands more have also been hurt by the economic impacts of the pandemic and the resulting shutdowns.
Before I get into my first update of the session, I want to thank all of you for putting your trust in me to serve you in the Legislature for another term. I'm humbled and honored to represent the 35th District in Olympia, and I could not do it without your support.
Virtual Session 2021
The 2021 session kicked off this week and nearly every member of the House was in the legislative building for opening ceremonies, Monday. However, that could very likely be the last time we all meet in-person this year. If it were up to me, and many of my fellow Republicans in the House, we would be on campus for the entire 105-day session. Unfortunately, the majority has decided this session will be held remotely.
I know the goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy, but I have several concerns about meeting virtually, mainly that the voice of the people will not truly be heard. I understand the significance and dangers of COVID-19, and I do not take them lightly, but I strongly believe with the right precautions in place, we could safely meet in the Capitol.
However, no matter how this session proceeds, I will do everything in my power to represent you and share your voice. And I will work tirelessly to ensure government transparency and accountability.
Share Your Testimony Remotely
Even though you cannot come to the Capitol this year, you can still be a part of the process. If you want to share your opinion, you can testify on a bill or other important public policy. Here are some important links that will help you do that:
Feel free to contact me directly if you need more details on specific bills or key public policy proposals.
Leadership and Committees
This session, I will continue to serve as the Whip in the House Republican Caucus. I'm honored by the trust my fellow House members have placed in me. I will also be serving as the Assistant Ranking Member of the Local Government Committee. Additionally, I will serve on the Public Safety and Transportation committees.
Despite it being a remote session, you can stay up to date with everything going on in the Legislature with these helpful links:
My legislative website | Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, radio appearances, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe.
The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
The Ledger| A legislative news aggregator.
Legislature's website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
Want to Track a Bill?
If you want to track the progress of legislation this session, click here to find more information on specific bills. In addition, when you visit my website you can see what I'm sponsoring or co-sponsoring by clicking “Sponsored Bills.”
Instructions: How to Track a Bill
- Go to leg.wa.gov
- On the left-hand panel, click “Bill Information.”
- If you know the bill number, enter it in the search field and hit enter.
- Don't have a bill number? Under the section “Standard Reports,” you'll find alternative tracking tools. You can search based on topic, legislative digests, cross-references and or within a specific biennium.
- Click on the House Floor Calendar, this helpful tool gives you a detailed list of all bills scheduled to be heard on the House floor each day.
My Focus for This Session
We have many important tasks to accomplish during the 2021 session. The most important is to adopt a new two-year budget for the state. Even though our budget has taken a hit because of the coronavirus and subsequent restrictions, it has rebounded in recent months. Our state is in a much better position than it was six months ago.
However, in the midst of a health care and economic crisis, the majority has decided that one of its first orders of business should be to hold a committee hearing on a 9% capital gains income tax (Senate Bill 5096) on capital gains income as small as $25,000, which is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee this week.
I strongly oppose creating any new taxes or raising current taxes as a solution to the current financial struggles in Washington. We can balance the budget without putting any more financial burdens on families and individuals by creating or raising taxes.
I will be working with my fellow Republicans this session to create smart legislation to help small businesses rebuild and our economy rebound.
Thank You and Please Stay in Touch!
Along with regular email updates, I'll be answering phone calls, emails, and meeting with constituents via Zoom. I'll also be appearing on several radio programs throughout the session, including every Thursday morning on KMAS. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime with your questions, comments, ideas, and concerns. We need to hear from you as we work to improve state government in Washington.
It's an honor to serve you!