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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We've passed the midway point of this short, fast-paced session. Policy cutoff was Friday, Feb. 2, meaning any policy-related bill without a fiscal impact had to move forward out of their respective committee. Fiscal cutoff for those polices with a fiscal impact had to be heard and passed through an appropriations committee by Tuesday. Feb. 6.
Our next big deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 14, which is the last day to pass bills out of the original chamber they were introduced. These deadlines keep us, and the legislative process, accountable and on track. These deadlines also help you understand which bills are still in play. You can find all legislative deadlines here.
Important policy I've been working on
In this legislative update, I'd like to talk about a bill I've been working on this session – House Bill 2850.
With the legalization of marijuana in our state, “pot shops” have become massive targets for robbery. It's not the product criminals are mostly after – it's the cash on hand. Due to federal regulations, most pot stores can't accept your plastic (i.e. credit cards and debit cards), leaving them with just cash on hand to conduct their daily business. The criminals within our state have decided making money like law-abiding citizens isn't for them. They've identified pot shops as being their means to an incredibly lucrative, and completely unguarded, way to make some cash.
The bipartisan policy I've sponsored would create a 12-month sentencing enhancement for robbery in the first or second degree when it involves robbery against a marijuana retailer, processor, or producer. Whether you agree with these types of businesses, they are still small businesses that deserve to know there is protection and consequences for those who offend against them.
It was great to chat with Jason Rantz on his show on 770 KTTH about this legislation. You can listen to our conversation here.
The News Tribune also featured an article on this important issue. You can read it here.
With our current session only lasting 60-days, the momentum we need to get this through to the finish line just isn't on our side. This bill will not gain any further traction this session. It is such an important issue that I will continue to work on and reintroduce next year.
Things to come! | Upcoming 31st District telephone town hall
Rep. Drew Stokesbary and I will be hosting a telephone town hall in early March. This community conversation, which is similar to a call-in radio show, gives you the opportunity to ask questions directly to us. I look forward to an engaging conversation and encourage everyone to attend. We are still working out the date and details so stay tuned for more information in upcoming updates!
WACOPS Legislator of the Year
The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) recognized four legislators as their 2017 Legislators of the Year. As one of the four recipients, I promise to continue to sponsor and support good policy that strengthens the rights and quality of life for law enforcement around Washington state.
It's a true honor to be acknowledged for my advocacy on behalf of my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. I will continue to work toward any effort in providing our law enforcement with the proper tools they need to get the job done, resulting in keeping you, your families and our communities safe.
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.
430 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7866 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000