Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It’s been a marathon run in the Legislature these past couple of weeks. We reached a pivotal deadline known as house of origin cutoff. This means we’ve finished our first rounds of committee work and House floor action. Of the thousands of bills introduced this session, 353 will now move from the House over to the Senate for further consideration in the Legislative process. All other bills are considered dead, unless they play a role in implementing the state’s budgets.
Recent floor action | Good vs. Bad
Good bills that died in committee
Preventing a local income tax | House Bill 1588 would prevent local governments from imposing an income tax on an individual’s or household’s income.
Lowering car tabs | House Bill 2021 would lower car tabs by reforming the motor vehicle excise tax formula.
Protecting children | House Bill 1235 would make it a crime to show harmful materials to a minor.
House Bill 1635 would require libraries to adopt Internet safety policies to address minor access to harmful material.
Enhancing school safety | House Bill 1035 would provide every public school in the state with funding to employ a full-time school resource officer. Learn more. | House Bill 1507 would promote physical safety and security of school buildings, grounds and surroundings through environmental design principles.
Providing rural broadband | House Bill 1606 would designate Community Economic Revitalization Board as the agency to appropriate loans/grants to any local government for the development of broadband in underserved areas.
Using tax dollars wisely | House Bill 1021 would create an account in which private contributions could be made to offset the extra security costs incurred when the governor’s travel is not related to state business.
Agency accountability| House Bill 1052 would give elected representatives more oversight in the rule-making process.
Creating affordable housing | House Bill 2011 would direct Department of Commerce to collect the final cost data for affordable housing developments and make recommendations on ways to improve efficiency and lower costs.
Bad bills that passed the House floor
Low carbon fuel standard | House Bill 1110 would create a new low carbon fuel standard program similar to California’s model, which has raised gas and diesel prices and will continue to in the future.
This program would: add to the price of gas and goods; not significantly improve our environment; and not generate any new funding for transportation infrastructure.
Public option health care | House Bill 1523 would require the Washington Health Benefit Exchange to develop standardized health plans and expressly limit choice over time in favor of one-size-fits-all plans meeting specific government requirements.
This approach would: result in providers leaving networks and shifting the cost of health care to self-funded plans; make health care for many more expensive; and destabilize the marketplace.
Phasing out fossil fuels | SB 5116 would require to phase out fossil fuel electricity generation and move to 100% clean energy resources by 2045, and create penalty and incentive structures to move off of fossil fuel resources.
The costs of this plan would fall on families and employers through higher energy bills.
Comprehensive sexual health education | SB 5395 would require every public school to provide comprehensive sexual health education that meets certain OSPI requirements.
This approach would take control away from local school boards and their communities.
For more information, please follow the House Republican caucus website, Facebook and Twitter pages. For audio updates, please visit our SoundCloud page. These pages are great resources when you want up-to-date information.
Revenue forecast and House Democrats 2019-21 operating budget proposal
We will be shifting our focus and attention to the state’s financial status this week. The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council will be releasing their current revenue forecast on Wednesday, March 20. This report will reveal the strength of our state tax collections and help guide our budget writers as they finish drafting the biennial operating budget.
House Democrats are scheduled to release their 2019-21 operating budget early next week. Please stay tuned to future updates for full details on where our state stands financially, and the status of the state’s main budget as negotiations begin.
It’s an honor to serve you.