Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want like to provide you with a summary of our third week of the 2017 legislative session. It is an honor to serve the people of the 31st District.
I continue to ‘drop’ my first bills. This week I introduced a tax holiday for school supplies and uniforms (House Bill 1457). This bill would ease the tax burden on working families by providing a “back-to-school” sales tax holiday. On a specific weekend each August, there would be a temporary tax break for parents purchasing school supplies for their kids. This is a great bill for kids and working families. It sends a clear message that nothing is more important than making sure our kids have what they need to be successful in school. I encourage you to listen and watch the media coverage on this bill.
Before I continue with my weekly legislative report, let me explain what it means to ‘drop’ a bill. Creating, drafting, and proposing legislation (or laws) is one of the key tasks of your state lawmakers. But let’s back up. First, an idea is thought of. Then, that idea becomes an action, and by action, I mean the idea is transformed into words. Those words become a bill. Not a bill like your Uncle Bill, but bill, as in the starting phase before legislation becomes law. Citizens, like you, a state or government agency, special interest groups, other lawmakers, or even the governor can bring their ideas to the table and have them drafted as a bill.
When a bill is dropped, or introduced, in the House or the Senate, it is placed in a special box known as ‘the hopper.’ This is the starting place for all new legislation. From there, the bill is taken from the hopper and given a number, such as my current bill HB 1457. The 1457 represents my idea is the 457th idea to become a bill so far this session (the starting number for bills is 1000). Once the number is assigned, the bills move into the committee which best represents the idea, and will receive a hearing. Since HB 1457 is regarding a tax break, it will move to the Finance Committee, since this committee handles tax related bills. Once the hearing takes place, the committee will choose to move the bill to the next phase, or it will ‘die’ in the committee. If it moves on, it will be selected to be voted on the House floor. If it passes, it will then move on to the Senate, where the entire process starts again. If it passes all the stages in the Senate, it will move to the governor’s desk, where he will decide if he will sign it into law. It’s a pretty interesting process.
I will continue to keep you updated on the progress of HB 1457 now that you understand its road to success!
The progress of my prime sponsored bills:
- House Bill 1475 – This bill clarifies the limited authority of gambling commission officers. This bill resides in the Judiciary Committee. The bill receives a public hearing on Tuesday. Jan. 31 at 10:00 a.m. I am hopeful this bill will move through the legislative process. I will keep you posted.
- House Bill 1199 – This bill would give a youth court jurisdiction over transit infractions alleged to have been committed by sixteen or seventeen-year-old juveniles. This bill received a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee last week. I am happy to announce the committee has moved by bill forward! The next step is for the Rules Committee to give the bill one last ‘look over.’ I am confident it will come to the House floor for consideration and vote.
I have also co-sponsored several bills of my fellow lawmakers – on both sides of the aisle. They include:
- HB 1100 – Concerning concealed pistol license renewal notices. This bill passed unanimously out of the Judiciary Committee. Next up: the Rules Committee.
- HB 1177 – Supporting access to state recreation lands by disabled veterans. This bill receives a public hearing on Thursday, Feb. 2 in the Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee.
- HB 1203 – Exempting school districts from the state portion of sales and use taxes on school construction. This bill resides in the Finance Committee, where a hearing has yet to be scheduled.
- HB 1240 – Revising the responsibilities of the joint administrative rules review committee to increase legislative oversight of agency rule making. This bill resides with the State Government Committee, where a hearing has yet to be scheduled.
- HB 1268 – Exempting the construction of certain pedestrian infrastructure from the requirements of the state environmental policy act. This bill received a hearing on Monday, Jan. 23 in the Environment Committee. Next step: executive session.
- HB 1292 – Modifying theft of rental, leased, lease-purchased, or loaned property provisions. This bill received a hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 25, and receives an executive session in the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Feb. 2.
- HB 1299 – Including cattle feedlots implementing best management practices within the statutory exemption for odor or fugitive dust caused by agricultural activity. This bill received a hearing on Monday. Jan 23 in the Environment Committee. Next step: executive session.
- HB 1398 – Making crimes and threats against persons because of their occupation as a law enforcement officer a hate crime. This bill resides with the Public Safety Committee, where a hearing has yet to be scheduled.
- HB 1399 – Concerning compensation for property damage caused by wild deer or elk. This bill received a hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 25, and receives an executive session in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Things to keep an eye out for: I will be requesting a budget proviso for a traffic study on the 410. This study will look at the flow of traffic during peak hours. I will keep you posted.
Please feel free to contact my office with any questions, issues or concerns. I am your voice in Olympia and I want to hear from you.
My Legislative Assistant is Fallon Stidd, and she is happy to assist you.