Friends and Neighbors,
The 2022 legislative session is underway and state ethics laws allow me to resume sending you email updates like this through the beginning of May. This legislative session will be similar to the 2021 session: primarily by remote. This means House committee hearings and floor debates will be held via Zoom, with very few state lawmakers in the chambers for those debates. Additionally, state representatives will not be allowed to meet with the public in their offices. You can find the new House COVID-19 2022 Session Operations Plan here.
The first week of the legislative session
This week began with opening ceremonies on Monday, the governor's annual state of the state address and Republican perspective on Tuesday, and committee hearings throughout the week. Every 60-day legislative session goes by quickly. This cutoff calendar gives you an idea of the deadlines facing the Legislature.
My committees and legislative priorities
Like last year, I will continue to serve on the: House Finance; House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources; and House Transportation committees. I continue to serve as the ranking member on the House Finance Committee. I will also continue my roles on the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, and Joint Transportation Committee. It is an honor to serve on these committees and bring the voices of our communities to the discussions.
For those of you who have read these email updates over the years, you have a good understanding of where I stand on most issues. When I talk to constituents, they make it clear what they expect from me: more jobs, not more taxes. They expect to feel safe in their homes and communities. My constituents also want an effective and accountable state government. They want an education system that prepares their children for the next steps in life. And they want me to stand up for their rights. My constituents' priorities are my priorities as your state representative.
Providing property tax relief
While many families continue to struggle, state government has more than enough money to operate. In fact, our state's four-year budget surplus is projected to be $8.8 billion – in addition to $2.2 billion in reserves and $1.2 billion in federal stimulus funds. The Legislature can – and should – provide tax relief this year.
I have introduced House Bill 1898. The measure would provide property tax relief by reducing both parts of the state school levies. This approach would return $2 billion back to taxpayers through a reduction and rebasing of the state levy from overcollections from 2018-2022, which occurred because property values have risen much faster than anticipated when passing initial legislation in 2017. If state lawmakers do nothing, an additional $3 billion in overcollection will occur between 2023 and 2027. Let's do something different this year and give property owners a break.
Be involved this year
While it is disappointing the public will again be shut out of many in-person aspects of the legislative process, I don't want you to be discouraged. There are still several ways for you to be involved in the legislative process:
- Learn more about the Legislature.
- A citizen's guide to effective legislative participation.
- Track a bill.
- Options for testifying in a committee.
- Watch on TVW.
- Call the legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000.
My Communications team also administers a legislative news aggregator. While it features news, views, and media from the Washington House Republicans, it also includes non-partisan news and information from across the state. You can find the platform here: https://waledger.houserepublicans.wa.gov/
Thank you for reading. My plan is to send these email updates out every other Friday during the legislative session. I hope you find them informative. As always, I welcome your feedback. Please don't hesitate to call, email, or send me a letter.