February 4, 2022
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we approach the halfway mark of the legislative session, I want to update you on the state’s budget surplus, what I believe we should do about it, and some good news about the ongoing effort to reform the governor’s emergency powers.
A massive budget surplus
The Washington Research Council this week released a new report estimating that the state’s budget surplus is now $11.249 billion over four years. In addition, the state has significant one-time funds: $1.0 billion in the Washington rescue plan transition account, $1.273 billion in general federal relief funds, and $1.2 billion in the budget stabilization account.
What we should do about it
The Legislature should send taxpayer dollars back to Washington taxpayers.
Rep. Ed Orcutt is proposing we send $2 billion back to property owners with House Bill 1898. The state over-collected property taxes between 2018-2022 because property values increased much faster than predicted. Reimbursing property owners is a good start. The proposal would provide immediate relief to Washington families and reduce the cost of housing.
Another good tax cut proposal is Rep. Drew Stokesbary’s House Bill 1858. This bill would reduce the state’s primary business tax rate for manufacturing and trucking by 40% and expand tax breaks for food processors.
These and other tax cut proposals would put money back into the pockets of hard-working Washingtonians.
Reforming the governor’s emergency powers
House Bill 1772, which would establish additional legislative checks on the governor’s emergency powers, received a hearing on Monday in the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee. Over 5,000 people called in to support the bill and only about 100 called in to oppose it. Two years into this pandemic, it’s clear that the public wants to restore some balance and common sense to our emergency laws.
Rep. Chris Corry, the bill’s sponsor, gave a wonderful overview of the proposal in committee. You can watch it here:
Following the hearing, The Everett Herald editorial board came out this week and endorsed more checks and balances on the governor’s emergency powers. They prefer Senate Bill 5909, which is not quite as strong as House Bill 1772, but it’s movement in the right direction.
More helpful information about the Legislature
House Floor Activity Report | A list of all the bills on the House Floor calendar, their current status, and any action taken on the bills.
Overview of the Legislative Process | A broad overview of the legislative process, including bill prefiling, first and second readings, enrollment and governor’s actions.
Glossary of Legislative Terms | All the terms you’ll ever need and more to understand the legislative process.
How a Bill Becomes a Law | A step-by-step guide of how a bill becomes a law.
House Republicans have a new text alert system. You can sign up here if you want to receive the latest news and information directly to your cell phone.
Virtual town hall meeting
On Saturday, Feb. 19, at 10:30 a.m., I’ll be joining Sen. Keith Wagoner for a virtual town hall meeting over Zoom. This is another opportunity for you to ask us questions directly and tell us what you think about the issues facing our state and community.
If you would like to participate, you can register here: https://tinyurl.com/5622dsf3
I look forward to hearing from you!
Tracking a bill?
Here is a quick set of “bill tracking” instructions
Go to leg.wa.gov
- On the left-hand panel, click “Bill Information.”
- If you know the bill number, enter it in the search field and hit enter.
- Don’t have a bill number? Under the section “Standard Reports,” you’ll find alternative tracking tools. You can search based on topic, legislative digests, cross-references and or within a specific biennium.
- If you click on the House Floor Calendar, this helpful tool gives you a detailed list of all bills scheduled to be heard on the House floor each day.
Here’s how you can stay connected
My legislative website | Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe.
The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | The state’s own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
Legislature’s website | View bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
Want to testify on a bill or other important public policy? Click here to learn about how you can make your voice heard throughout session
Please contact me if you have questions about bills being introduced, bills that are scheduled for a hearing, or other state government-related issues.
During session, especially in this virtual environment, my office receives hundreds of emails per week. I will do my best to answer the ones I receive from constituents first, so please be sure to include your home address and phone number in your correspondence.
It’s an honor to serve you!