Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today, at the beginning of the 5th week of the legislative session, I am happy to report that we have made real progress in helping improve the lives of people in the Tri-Cities and across Washington state.
Upcoming town hall meeting
You are invited to join me, Rep. Stephanie Barnard, and Sen. Matt Boehnke for a Zoom-hosted town hall meeting. You can register by clicking here. Please also consider submitting a question when registering. I am excited to see you everyone there!
I now have a legislative Facebook page. Click this link: facebook.com/RepresentativeAprilConnors and hit “Like” to get the latest news and information on your timeline about our efforts to achieve the best outcomes for the 8th District and Washington state.
The first Republican bill to pass the House in 2023
On Jan. 25, the House unanimously passed the first Republican bill of the 2023 legislative session: my measure to exempt three-month residential leaseback agreements.
A leaseback is an agreement between a buyer and seller of a property that allows the seller to continue living in and renting the property. Although leaseback agreements are a popular option in the real estate industry, they remain underutilized because they turn homebuyers into unwitting landlords regulated by the RLTA.
House Bill 1070 would remove the legal cloud of uncertainty many homebuyers feel when entering into these agreements.
As a residential real estate agent for over 20 years, I’ve seen, firsthand, how complicated and unnecessary these regulations can be for leaseback agreements. This bill would make it easier for buyers and sellers to take advantage of a popular tool that helps them both meet their needs and schedules.
The bill is scheduled for executive session (when legislators vote to move bills out of committee) in the Senate Housing Committee on Feb. 10 at 10:30 a.m.
A public hearing for the Homes for Heroes program
A bill I am sponsoring to provide home down payment and closing cost assistance to essential workers is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Housing Committee for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 4:00 p.m.
House Bill 1633, also known as the “Home for Heroes” program, is an effort to address the state’s workforce shortage for occupations critical to life, health, and safety, including nurses, firefighters, law enforcement, military members, veterans, childcare providers, mental health professionals, and other first responders.
Washington has a shortage in two critical areas: essential workers and housing. Providing down payment assistance to people in these vital professions will help address our state’s workforce needs and make housing more affordable – it’s a win-win for our hometown heroes and their ability to afford a home.
The bill would direct the Washington State Department of Commerce to contract with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to develop and implement a statewide pilot program to provide interest-free loans to eligible workers. Loans under the program can only be used to assist with the purchase of a primary residence and cannot exceed five percent of a mortgage or $25,000, whichever is less.
To be eligible for the program, individuals must have a household income below 120% of the state median household income and be employed in a permanent, full-time capacity.
- View and provide public testimony at committee meetings here.
- Video of Wednesday’s hearing will be livestreamed on TVW here:
- Comment directly on House Bill 1633 here:
Light pollution bill unanimously voted out of committee
On Thursday, the House Environment and Energy Committee unanimously passed my light pollution mitigation bill out of committee.
Wind turbines are equipped with blinking red lights as a safety measure for nearby aircraft traveling at night. While the lights serve an important safety function, they are also an eyesore for local residents and cause light pollution.
House Bill 1173 would require the warning lights to turn on automatically only when they are needed by aircraft.
I greatly appreciate the bipartisan, unanimous support for this measure. This bill is about preserving the beauty of our night sky.
The next hurdle for this bill is to pass the full House of Representatives.
Fixing the police pursuit problem
Crime is out of control in Washington state and lawmakers have a responsibility to hold offenders accountable. That’s why I am sponsoring House Bill 1691, which would increase the penalty for fleeing law enforcement officers while committing grand theft auto.
I had the opportunity recently to sit down with TVW for their “Legislator Profile” program to talk about issues important to the 8th District, including the statewide housing crisis, the importance of our agricultural industry, and the critical need for energy security.
How you can get involved
- My legislative website | 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.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans.
- TVW | TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
- Legislature’s website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
- State agencies | Lists of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
- Participating in the process | Information about how you can participate in the legislative process
It’s truly a privilege and an honor to serve you. Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions.
I will do my best to answer messages 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!