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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you to the hundreds of people from the 8th District who participated in our virtual town hall meeting last week. It was wonderful to see so many familiar names and provide an update on all that's going on in the Capitol! We also appreciated all the thoughtful questions and comments. It's truly a privilege to represent the Tri-Cities along with Rep. Stephanie Barnard, and Sen. Matt Boehnke.
Fixing the police pursuit problem
On Thursday, one of the measures to restore vehicular pursuit for law enforcement officers – House Bill 1363 – moved out of the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee. This is a critical tool our police officers need to keep our communities safe and deter criminal behavior. Right now, criminals know that fleeing the scene of a crime in a vehicle is a get out of jail free card. That needs to end.
Unfortunately, the majority party on the committee adopted several bad amendments to this bill. I plan to work with my colleagues in both parties and across the rotunda to improve this bill, get it across the finish line, and signed into law.
You can watch the Feb. 16 committee action on TVW here.
I introduced House Bill 1691 as a complimentary effort to increase the penalty for fleeing law enforcement officers while committing grand theft auto.
We need to end the lawlessness throughout our state ensure that everyone feels safe in our communities.
Homes for Heroes update
On Valentine's Day, my Home for Heroes program passed unanimously out of the House Housing Committee.
House Bill 1633 is now in the House Capital Budget Committee where it's scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 20th at 8:00 a.m.
You can give your position on the bill, submit written testimony, or sign up for public testimony by clicking here.
You can also comment directly on the bill here.
Background: House Bill 1633 is an effort to address the state's workforce shortage in occupations critical to life, health, and safety, and would include nurses, firefighters, law enforcement, military members, veterans, childcare providers, mental health professionals, and other first responders.
Washington state suffers from a shortage in two critical areas: housing and essential workers. This bill addresses both problems by providing down payment assistance for workers in the professions we desperately need
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 100% of the state median household income and be employed in a permanent, full-time capacity.
Improving home leaseback agreement rules
Since the House unanimously passed House Bill 1070 – my measure to exempt three-month residential leaseback agreements – the bill has sailed through the Senate and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. That's the Senate committee whose job is to schedule bills for a full Senate floor vote.
Background: 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.
Mitigating light pollution from wind turbines
House Bill 1173, my bill to reduce light pollution from wind turbines, is waiting for a final vote from the House. I am optimistic that we'll get this bill over to the Senate very soon.
Background: 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.
This bill 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.
How you can get involved
- My legislative website | Find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- Facebook | Get the latest news and information on your Facebook timeline about our efforts to achieve the best outcomes for the 8th District.
- 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 an honor to serve the Tri-Cities! If you have any questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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!
434 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7882 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000