Friends and Neighbors,
We just passed the midway point of the 105-day legislative session. With policy and fiscal committee cutoff deadlines behind us, the House and Senate spent most of this week voting bills out of their respective chambers. Floor action will continue through Wednesday of next week, which is house of origin cutoff. I discuss some of these issues in my recent video update, in addition to my rural broadband legislation – House Bill 1800.
Changes to our presidential primary
The House passed a measure this week, which was already approved by the Senate, that will change our state's presidential primary. Senate Bill 5273 will move the presidential primary from late May to the second Tuesday in March. I support this change.
However, I voted against this measure because it will require presidential primary voters to check a box that says 'Republican' or 'Democrat' in order to participate. I believe this is unfair to voters of all political backgrounds and will prevent many from participating. You, the taxpayer, should be able to vote in the presidential primary election without checking a partisan box – especially given you are paying for the primary.
Update on my bills
Some of my prime-sponsored bills are still alive in the legislative process. Here is the list, including their status as of this afternoon:
House Bill 1800 | Allowing a local sales and use tax as a credit against the state sales tax for rural high-speed infrastructure without increasing the total sales and use tax rate. Received a public hearing in the House Finance Committee; still alive because it could be considered necessary to implement the budget.
House Bill 1802 | Concerning cemetery district withdrawal of territory. This eliminates a vote requirement when no voters live in the area of interest. The Senate version, prime sponsored by Sen. John Braun, passed off the Senate floor on February 6.
House Bill 1803 | Increasing the number of school districts that may be authorized to reduce the minimum number of required school days in a school year. Passed off the House floor on March 4.
House Bill 1804 | Allowing an additional property tax exemption for seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities leasing land in a mobile home park or manufactured housing community. Received a public hearing in the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee on February 8; still alive because it could be considered necessary to implement the budget.
House Bill 1805 | Providing rental assistance to mobile home park tenants. Passed out of the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee on February 15; still alive because it could be considered necessary to implement the budget.
House Bill 1808 | Making the nonprofit and library fundraising exemption permanent. On the House floor calendar.
House Joint Memorial 4007 | Designating the bridge over the Skookumchuck River on State Route 507 as the Regina Clark memorial bridge. This is to honor the life and loss of a Lewis County soldier. Passed off the House floor on March 6.
House Bill 2085 would create Mount St. Helens special license plates. Passed out of the House Transportation Committee on February 28; could be pulled to the House floor for a vote.
As I have noted before, you can view all of the bills for which I am the prime or secondary sponsor of here.
A look ahead
The House will continue hours of floor action Monday through Wednesday of next week, and then transition back to primarily committee work the last two days of the week.
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released the March economic forecast yesterday. This information will be used for the March 20 revenue forecast. I will share more information on the revenue forecast in my next email update.
I am chair of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council and believe it does important work for our state. Its mission statement is as follows: “To promote state government financial stability by producing an accurate forecast of economic activity and General Fund revenue for the legislature and the governor to be used as the basis of the state budget.” You can learn more here.
If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at (360) 786-7990 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to respond as quickly as I can.