Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2022 legislative session concluded on Thursday, March 10. Before I begin this short recap of the 60-day session, I'd like to thank everyone who has reached out to my office by phone, email, and during my recent 10th District Virtual Town Hall. Your continued confidence, input, and support have been invaluable. I could not do this work without you.
In just two months' time, more than 1,500 bills were introduced, with 303 bills approved by the Legislature, and 915 total roll calls recorded — requiring legislators to be in attendance either in-person or virtually in the House or Senate chambers. The governor has already signed several of these bills into law, while others await his signature.
Working for you!
Being a first-term legislator, especially during a worldwide pandemic, has not been easy. For the second year in a row, the legislative session began virtually. That means until just recently, most lawmakers were not allowed in the House Chamber during floor debate. But after the COVID restrictions loosened up, I was among the first in Olympia to show up, in-person, on the House floor to debate and vote on legislation.
Speaking on the House floor for the very first time was one of the most memorable moments of my life. It's an incredible honor to fight for the values, region, and people I care so deeply about.
Good bills that passed
Here's my pick of the top three bills that made it through the legislative process:
- House Bill 1643: Provides an exemption from the real estate excise tax for certain sales of real property for affordable housing.
- House Bill 1785: Making sure Washington State Patrol troopers are paid comparable wages to other top law enforcement agencies in the state.
- House Bill 1655: Requires the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to reconfigure its maintenance operations to ensure state-owned and operated safety rest areas are open for use, except for seasonal closures or cleaning, maintenance, and repair.
Bad bills that passed
- House Bill 1876: Requires a Public Investment Impact disclosure on each voter's ballot for every ballot measure that has a fiscal impact on state revenue.
- Senate bills 5974 and 5975: This is the Democrats' 16-year, $17 billion tax and spend “Move Ahead Washington” transportation package that is separate from the biennial budget. Originally, the plan stirred up controversy because it contained a six-cent-per-gallon tax on exported fuel. That very unpopular component was later removed.
Unfortunately, they traded one bad idea for another by removing the export fuel tax and replacing it with a yearly transfer of more than $100 million from the state's Public Works Assistance Account — which will decrease economic opportunities and increase fees and rates on services such as water and utilities, among others.
- Senate Bill 5528: Expands the taxing authority for newly created enhanced service zones within Sound Transit.
2022 missed opportunities
I started the legislative session with high hopes. Numerous solutions were offered to the pressing problems facing our state, but most were not adopted. As I headed home from Olympia after the final gavel several days ago, it was with a heavy heart. There were several missed opportunities. Listed below are a few of them.
Police reform fixes
The Legislature spent quite a bit of time this session attempting to repair the damage done by the majority party's policing reforms laws approved in 2021. Republicans and Democrats worked together to address some of the troubling aspects of these policies, with Republicans offering solutions and delivering critical votes. However, only some of the problems were addressed.
Senate Bill 5919, which would have restored some of the authority for police officers to engage in vehicular pursuits when there is reasonable suspicion, was blocked by the majority party. Failing to change this policy will continue to have major consequences on public safety across the state. Read more here.
No emergency powers reform
For the second year in a row, the majority party has shown no interest in emergency powers reform. I co-sponsored House Bill 1772, which would have increased legislative involvement in gubernatorial proclamations relating to a state of emergency. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee, and the governor's emergency powers are still in place, leaving the people without a voice during a long-lasting state of emergency. Read more here.
Long-term care insurance
Instead of repealing the unpopular, unworkable long-term care insurance program and its regressive payroll tax, the majority party put it off by delaying its implementation by 18 months. An alternative bill that would have repealed and replaced it with a more affordable alternative was not considered. Read more here.
No meaningful tax relief
At a time when the Legislature had a massive, $15 billion budget surplus, the majority party blocked all attempts to provide any meaningful tax relief in the 2022 supplemental operating budget. With inflation on the rise and working Washingtonians struggling to make ends meet, this is a huge missed opportunity. Even worse, this budget spends at an unsustainable rate and does nothing to strengthen the rainy-day fund. Read more here.
2022 supplemental capital budget
As a member of the Capital Budget Committee, I was able to help secure more than $3 million in funding for some outstanding local projects in the 10th Legislative District, as well as advocate for the $4 million needed for the Mount Vernon Library Commons project.
Here's a list of 10th District projects:
- Heron Park (Langley): $875,000
- Coupeville Boys & Girls Club (Coupeville): $206,000
- Camp Korey internet and telemedicine (Mount Vernon): $330,000
- Island County Jail Intake body sensor (Coupeville): $200,000
- La Conner Regional Library (La Conner): $640,000
- Pilchuck Glass School ventilation (Stanwood): $103,000
- Pump Station modernization: design and permitting (Mount Vernon): $100,000
- Senior Resources HUB feasibility study (Freeland): $273,000
- South Whidbey Aquatic Wellness Center (Langley): $400,000
- Langley infrastructure (Langley): $250,000
Please stay in touch!
Although the Legislature is only in session a few months during the year, I work for you year-round. I hope you will continue to reach out to me during the interim. If you would like to meet with me, please use the contact info below. It's truly a privilege to represent you in the 10th District.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
In your service,