Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2018 legislative session has come to a close. Because the majority of bills are amended not just once, but often multiple times, we spent long hours this past week on the House floor reconciling differences in bill versions coming from the Senate, and approving them before the end of session.
My wildlife transfer notice bill was approved unanimously by the Senate!
My bill requiring the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to provide better notification prior to relocating wildlife was approved unanimously by the Senate recently.
The measure I sponsored requires WDFW to hold a public hearing before they relocate wildlife into a new location. They must also provide notice of the public hearing to a community's elected leaders at least 30-days prior. In the past, these public meetings were held hundreds of miles away from the communities most affected by these transfers.
House Bill 2276 now heads to the governor's desk for signature.
The carbon tax is dead!
Thankfully, the governor's effort to pass a carbon tax in Washington state did not pass out of the Senate. Senate Bill 6203 would have imposed a $12 per metric ton of carbon emissions on the sale or use of fossil fuels such as gasoline and natural gas. This tax would be paid for by families and those who can least afford it. Some estimates say it would increase gas prices by 15-cents per gallon, as well as adding another 2-cents every year thereafter.
The bill would not have achieved the carbon reductions it promised. In fact, most of the funding raised would go to special interests, with CO2 emissions reductions taking a backseat. The taxes raised would have been spent on things that have nothing to do with carbon emissions, including funding for highway tolling, online job training, money to help with job transfers for fossil-fuel workers, and public relations campaigns regarding government assistance.
Senate Bill 6199 | Home health care workers
The House recently debated a controversial bill affecting home health care workers. The bill forces in-home caregivers to join a union and pay dues, even if they had previously opted out. Many of these caregivers are taking care of family members and cannot afford these dues. Putting the financial interests of the union ahead of the rights of tens of thousands of workers is wrong.
House Republicans spoke out against the bill repeatedly on the House floor. Frustratingly, we were censored and gaveled down each time we said the words “union” or “SEIU,” and were unable to discuss the policy.
It's our job as the legislative branch to debate policy. On the House floor we were hindered from doing so. In protest over the one-sided debate, all 48 House Republicans refused to vote on the measure that boosts unions and hurts families. No one in the Capitol can remember an abstention of this magnitude.
I am extremely disappointed to report the House recently approved a measure that modifies the procedures for determining certain aspects of the legal parent-child relationship, known as the Washington Uniform Parentage Act.
The bill makes changes to surrogacy agreements, allowing for commercial surrogacy. I voted against this bill because it creates a market-mentality about childbirth. The exchange of funds for carrying and giving birth undermines the human dignity of the mother, child and the adoptive parents. This kind of business transaction is very different from altruistic surrogacy, which is a compassionate act of generosity and sacrifice that does not involve for-profit payment.
House Republicans offered 14 amendments that would have shielded women and children from this type of exploitation. Sadly, they were all rejected on party-lines. Senate Bill 6037 now advances to the governor's desk for signature.
Upcoming town hall meetings
Town hall meetings are a great way for me to meet with you directly and hear your concerns, ideas and comments regarding state government. Please consider joining me and Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley in any one of our upcoming town hall meetings taking place Saturday, April 14.
Place: Monroe Fire Station 31, training room
Address: 163 Village Court; Monroe, WA 98272
Time: 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Place: Granite Falls Crossroads High School, commons area
Address: 205 N. Alder Ave; Granite Falls, WA 98252
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Place: Sedro-Woolley City Hall
Address: 325 Metcalf St.; Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Staying in touch!
I want to hear from you. My door is always open. Please feel free to contact me with your questions about state government.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia.