Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Your voice matters. Although it may feel as if one person can't affect public policy, that's not true. The process may seem complex, but getting involved in public policy decisions you care about can change the way our state government functions. When it comes to supporting or opposing bills, the most powerful voice still belongs to the people willing to speak up.
As we enter the second month of the 2021 session, I'd like to thank everyone that has reached out to my office—either by email or phone—to share your thoughts on business-related bills being considered by the Legislature. Hearing from you takes on even more importance during this virtual session.
During previous sessions, I met with citizens from our district in face-to-face meetings and heard their comments and opinions on bills being decided and debated in Olympia. Now, unfortunately, virus-driven separation means I sit for long hours alone in front of my computer screen, taking part in online committee hearings and floor debates.
That's why your comments continue to be incredibly valuable to me. Although we can't meet in person, I'm getting the information from you I need to make informed decisions on behalf of our district. We've got several more weeks of work ahead of us, so please keep those messages, phone calls, and comments coming.
Want to get involved in the 2021 virtual session, but you're not sure where to start? Go to my website for a list of resources that can help.
Every 10 years, after a new census count, states adjust the boundaries of state legislative and U.S. House of Representatives districts to account for population shifts. The process can be grueling. In 1983, after decades of tough redistricting fights, the Legislature did what voters asked for: they amended the state constitution to place political mapping in the hands of a bipartisan commission.
That's why the commission now consists of two Democrats and two Republicans picked by leaders of all four corners of the Legislature. A fifth member is chosen by the four voting members to act as a nonvoting chairperson.
- Joe Fain, Senate Republican Caucus Appointee
- Paul Graves, House Republican Caucus Appointee
- April Sims, House Democratic Caucus Appointee
- Brady Walkinshaw, Senate Democratic Caucus Appointee
The bipartisan commission works together to draw new maps for the state's 10 congressional and 49 legislative districts. Although the negotiations are still tough, the best choices are not power grabs—where the politicians pick their voters—but when the voters pick their politicians through a fairer redistricting.
That's why it's crucially important for citizens to be a part of the process. You can take part in public hearings, provide input, or even propose new maps. Although the website with public hearing dates and information is not up yet—I'll include that information in a future update—you can learn more about the process by clicking here. Have a question, or want to leave a comment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a list of business-related bills I'm closely tracking:
- HB 1242 – Providing paid administrative leave for health care workers in time of declared public health emergencies.
- HB 1244 – Prohibiting civil penalties for first-time violations of standards regulated under emergency proclamations.
- HB 1245 – Repealing the state estate tax.
- HB 1257 – Prohibiting unjustified employer searches of employee personal vehicles.
- HB 1288 – Restoring the fair treatment of underserved groups in public employment, education, and contracting.
- HB 1299 – Providing business and occupation tax relief to the hospitality industry.
- HB 1343 – Providing employer relief in unemployment insurance by relieving COVID-19-related benefit charges, providing contribution relief, making appropriations to rebuild the unemployment trust fund, and making clarifying changes.
- HB 1353 – Improving the equitable access to the main street program.
- HB 1369 – Establishing wage liens.
- HB 1399 – Reducing barriers to professional licensure for individuals with previous criminal convictions.
- HB 1400 – Creating alternative professional licensing standards.
- HB 1401 – Expediting professional licenses for new Washington residents.
- HB 1402 – Establishing review standards for professional licensing regulation.
- HB 1403 – Creating license review and reporting requirements.
- HB 1406 – Improving the equity of Washington state's tax code by creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets.
If you have questions about the bills listed above or other state-government related matters, contact me. I'm always glad to help.