Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On March 11, we passed another legislative deadline. Here are a few “fun” facts you can bring up next time you have your friends over or gather around the water cooler. As of March 13, there have been 1,219 House bills, House Joint Memorials, House Joint Resolutions and House Concurrent Resolutions introduced. The House voted on and passed 327 bills. These bills have now been referred to the Senate for consideration.
You can imagine, given the number of bills introduced, the daily number of contacts from constituents encouraging me to support or oppose various bills and issues. Sometimes they agree with me; sometimes they don't. For example, in my last e-mail update on the topic of I-594 I received this sampling of feedback:
- “Thanks Dan for your part in creating this bill.” (House Bill 2164) – Bill, no hometown provided
- “DO NOT REPEAL 594. It serves a valuable purpose. You should be able to come up with legislation that will fix its shortcomings. There is too much good in that measure to just dump it. If it requires another vote of the people, it would be worth it.” – Bruce, Sedro Woolley
- “You continually astound me with both your stupidity and obstinacy.” – Bruce, Granite Falls
It is inspiring to me to know people are engaging in the legislative process and willing to share their opinions. This exchange of ideas is important to me as I decide how to vote on bills.
Below are four bills I have received a lot of correspondence on this legislative session.
Vaccinations | House Bill 2009 would eliminate the philosophical or personal objection exemption from child immunization requirements. This legislation, which has the full support of the governor, is controversial and the subject of several news stories. This issue essentially comes down to parental rights and public safety. I oppose House Bill 2009. While I believe many parents should vaccinate their children, I ultimately believe it should be a choice for parents. Both options carry risks and it should be up to parents to weigh the factors.
- Status: Passed out of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. The House Democrats chose not to bring this to the House floor for a vote before house of origin cutoff last Wednesday, which means it is likely “dead” for the rest of the legislative session.
- Constituent feedback: “HB 2009 is an erosion of our parental rights. As parents, we have a duty to protect our children from harm, keep their bodies healthy, and research everything they consume in order to verify its safety.” – Cassandra, Granite Falls
Taxation | House Bill 1550 would clarify the taxation of amusement, recreation and physical fitness services.
- Status: Passed off the House floor on a 70-27 vote on March 3. I was out sick this day and excused from the vote. I would have voted “no” because this measure would apply a retail sales tax to skydiving, ballooning, hangliding, paragliding and parasailing. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
- Constituent feedback: “You need to find other things to tax besides skydiving.” – Kirstie, Arlington
Water rights | House Bill 1793 would require counties and cities to adopt ordinances outlining when and how alternative water supplies may be used to satisfy the potable water requirements for new construction. This would apply to a property which is not eligible to be served by a water purveyor and for which new, unmitigated surface or groundwater withdrawals are not legally available on a year-round basis. It would also require the Department of Ecology (DOE) to coordinate with local government entities and utility districts to identify possible capital projects that may assist in providing water to remedy any possible violations of a Supreme Court ruling.
- Status: Passed off the House floor with a 53-45 vote on March 5. I voted “no” because it doesn't fix the underlying problem. This bill is a workaround for the state Department of Ecology's Instream Flow Rule, which needs to be changed rather than placing an expensive compliance burden on people. I find it ironic the agency (DOE) that is taking away some water rights is the same agency that gave permission, through a permit, to put in a well and then are told the well can't be used. As many know, putting in a well is not an inexpensive endeavor. This is an agency that is enforcing rules it made, not laws passed by the Legislature. These actions have adversely affected property rights and cost landowners a lot of money. The measure has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee.
- Constituent feedback: “Water solutions need to start with re-writing the Skagit Instream Flow Rule as it should have been written in the first place. Not by omitting groups that need water or forcing them to un-reasonable water solutions when the answer is right under their feet.” – Rich, Sedro-Woolley
Court-imposed legal financial obligations | House Bill 1390 would, among other things, eliminate interest accrual on the non-restitution portions of legal financial
- Status: Passed off the House floor on a 94-4 vote on March 9. I voted “yes” because this measure would reform our state's system for court-imposed legal financial obligations. It would also ensure restitution to victims, including interest accrued on the financial obligation, is the highest priority and first obligation that must be paid. This bill has been referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
- Constituent feedback: “Our system of LFOs is unfair, delays restitution payment to victims, and makes successful reentry less likely.” – Elizabeth, Sedro Woolley
Video update: the first 60 days
I sat down at the end of last week for a video update to share my thoughts on the first 60 days of the legislative session, and what we can expect moving forward in the next month and a half. You can find the video here.
Please keep the feedback coming. I appreciate it!
In your service,