Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Things are moving quickly here in Olympia with over 1,000 new bills introduced in the state Legislature. I’d like to think that many of these proposals are needed to address problems our citizens are facing, but a cursory look reveals some troubling themes that I’ve discussed before, particularly when it comes to public
I won’t rehash the debates of last session, but suffice it to say that reforms around police pursuits and drug possession were needed and perhaps need more refinement. That work is being undermined, however, with egregious proposals by the majority that seemingly prioritize the wants of offenders at the expense of the rights of crime victims. That moves our state in the wrong direction.
During this short, 60-day session, the Legislature will be developing a supplemental budget to make course corrections or reprioritizations. With yet another budget surplus, I’m calling for broad and meaningful tax relief and a more sustainable state budget.
It is an honor to serve as your state senator. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you may have about your state government.
Turning up the dial on property taxes
The idea isn’t new, but the legislation this year that would increase the limit on raising property taxes is getting much more attention. Let me be clear, the state does not need more of your hard-earned money. However, Senate Bill 5770 would permit tripling the growth rate in property taxes. It’s a bit nuanced, but it won’t triple your property taxes, rather would allow jurisdictions to triple growth, which is now capped at 1%.
You can watch a short video that explains this proposal by clicking here or on the image above.
Let Voters Have a Say
My job is to represent you in the state Senate. Transparently, the makeup of the Legislature is dominated by one party, and power is even further concentrated in urban King County. That makes getting our message, our priorities, and your concerns to the fore a challenge.
You’ve likely seen my statements opposing the new capital gains income tax and the regressive carbon-pricing scheme that’s driven up fuel and energy costs. Fortunately, six initiatives to the Legislature have been certified that would roll back many of those policies and let the voters decide this November.
Here are links to the initiatives so you can read for yourself what they will do:
- I-2117 repeals the Climate Commitment Act (hidden gas tax);
- I-2109 undoes the capital gains income tax;
- I-2111 bans state and local governments from imposing an income tax;
- I-2113 loosens restrictions on police pursuits;
- I-2081 empowers parents in their student’s education, allowing review of student records, and curricula, and parents to opt their children out of inappropriate sex education; and
- I-2124, which allows an opt-out of the long-term care tax known as the WA Cares Act.
Sadly, it seems the Legislative majority will not allow us to debate these policies or hold public hearings on them. That’s despite clear constitutional provisions that say these kinds of initiatives should take precedence over other legislative business. Article II, Sec. 1 says,
“Such initiative measures, whether certified or provisionally certified, shall take precedence over all other measures in the legislature except appropriation bills and shall be either enacted or rejected without change or amendment by the legislature before the end of such regular session…”
Where’s the justice?
So far this session, there are several bad bills that deal with the criminal justice system or state-government operations. Some of the biggest problems I see are proposals that would allow convicted felons to vote while in prison, serve on juries and even run for office without having served their sentences. To put it in perspective, the Green River Killer would be allowed to vote.
There are also other proposals that would allow sex offenders to serve on the sentencing board with victims. If that wasn’t enough, there is even legislation that recently had a public hearing that would allow the highest-risk sex offenders to petition an end to state supervision. I staunchly oppose these kinds of efforts that put our communities at risk.
As mentioned above, one of the initiatives concerns policy pursuits. Here is a short explainer video on the issues around this policy. It restores the authority of a peace officer to engage in a vehicular pursuit when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law and the officer follows appropriate safety standards. Click here to watch.
This coming Monday, a bill I’ve sponsored will have a public hearing to address a new wave of property crimes affecting our first responders that could jeopardize public safety. Senate Bill 6261 would add equipment from fire stations or ambulances to the list of stolen property charges and stiffen penalties.
If you’d like to have your voice heard on this proposal, you can sign up to testify virtually, submit a written comment or just have your position recorded for the legislative record. Click here to participate.