Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I know it can be difficult to keep track of everything that's going on here in Olympia, so I wanted to provide you with some links that I think will help you stay informed and engaged as this 105-day session progresses.
- Sign up for the Capitol Buzz—a weekday summary of the biggest news stories from across the state.
- Follow House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook.
- Follow my legislative Twitter account: @RepBoehnke.
- Bookmark the News and Media page on the House Republican website. There, you'll find every news release, op-ed, radio interview and video update from all 41 members of our caucus.
- Watch TVW's “Legislative Review,” which airs nightly during the week and gives viewers a 15-minute overview of what happened that day at the Capitol.
- Visit the Washington State Legislature's website to view a list of bills by topic.
Topics in this update include:
- Session hits first major deadline
- Good and bad bills that survived policy cutoff
- Bipartisan Veterans and Military Families Caucus formed in House
- Mark your calendar: town hall on March 23
- Contacting me
Session hits first major deadline
This past Friday marked the first major deadline of the 2019 legislative session, policy committee cutoff. All policy bills that did not make it out of the committee in which they were introduced are now considered “dead” for the year. The only exception to this are bills considered necessary to implement the budget (NTIB).
As for my bills, one survived cutoff and one did not.
House Bill 2111 would strengthen the security of elections in Washington state by eliminating the option to return ballots by fax or email. The Secretary of State's office was recently provided with evidence of ongoing efforts by cybercriminals to gain access to, and interfere with, the electronic systems our state uses for elections. Their efforts have not been successful to this point, but that doesn't mean they'll stop trying. This bill would make their job even tougher. HB 2111 is currently awaiting a hearing in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.
House Bill 2012, which would have provided an opportunity for all K-12 instructional staff to receive a yearly bonus of about $5,000, stalled in the House Education Committee. While that's disappointing, I will be reintroducing the bill again next session in hopes we can pass it and show all school instructional staff how much we value the work they're doing to help our students succeed.
Good and bad bills that survived policy cutoff
Below is a list of bills, both good and bad, that are still alive following policy cutoff.
- House Bill 1216 would establish regional safety centers across the state, while requiring schools to establish a threat assessment program.
- House Bill 1231 would eliminate the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes involving children, as well as extend the statute of limitations for several other sex offenses.
- House Bill 1324 would create the “Washington Rural Development and Opportunity Zone Act,” which would create a private investment fund for small and medium-sized companies looking to expand and create jobs in rural, underserved areas of the state.
- House Bill 1348 would reduce the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturers.
- House Bill 1448 would establish the “Veteran Service Officer Program,” which would fund a full-time position for veteran services in rural counties.
- House Bill 1606 would give the Community Economic Revitalization Board the authority to make broadband loans and grants to any local government or federally recognized tribe to finance infrastructure for high-speed, open-access broadband service.
- House Bill 1688 would align our state with federal law by expanding veterans' eligibility for resident status for the purpose of receiving in-state tuition, which is much less expensive than out-of-state tuition.
- House Bill 1702 would require community and technical colleges like CBC to notify students when a course offers low-cost instructional materials.
- House Bill 1940 would require the Department of Natural Resources to place its emphasis on immediate response rather than cost when deploying firefighting assets within the first 48 hours of a wildfire.
Bad bills: There are dozens of bad bills making their way through the legislative process, but in the interest of time, I won't list them all here. To me, the four below are especially egregious and deserve special attention.
- House Bill 1068, requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, would make it unlawful for Washingtonians to possess firearm magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
- House Bill 1110 would create a low carbon fuel standard similar to the one they implemented in California. According to testimony on the bill, it would cost an additional 17 cents per gallon of fuel to achieve a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2028—the stated goal of the bill. Our state already has the second-highest gas tax in the nation. A low carbon fuel standard would easily put us at #1.
- House Bill 1211, requested by Gov. Inslee, would mandate that all electric utility companies be carbon-free by 2045. This bill could cause customers' monthly utility bills to climb by at least $10 per month by 2025.
- House Bill 1407 would mandate that all public schools provide comprehensive sexual health education classes. Curriculum would be tailored for students in every grade, starting with kindergarten. HB 1407 died in committee, but its companion, Senate Bill 5395, was approved by the state Senate earlier this week on a party-line vote.
Bipartisan Veterans and Military Families Caucus formed in House
One of the things I'm really excited about this session is the formation of a new Veterans and Military Families Caucus. The goal of the bipartisan caucus is to give veterans, active duty service members, and their families a unified voice to advocate for the diverse needs of the military community. Every state representative in the photo below has either served or is serving in the military, is from a military family, or represents a large military population. I look forward to working with each of them to tackle a number of important issues this session and beyond.
Mark your calendar: town hall on March 23
On Saturday, March 23, I'll be hosting a town hall meeting in Richland with my 8th District seatmates, Sen. Sharon Brown and Rep. Brad Klippert. We'll be providing an update on the 2019 session and taking your questions.
Details are as follows:
Who: Sen. Sharon Brown, Rep. Brad Klippert, and Rep. Matt Boehnke
What: Town hall meeting
Where: Arc of the Tri-Cities (1455 Fowler St, Richland, WA 99352)
When: Saturday, March 23, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
I hope to see you there!
Please feel free to reach out anytime with your comments, questions or concerns about particular bills or anything else that's on your mind. My email address is email@example.com, and my phone number is (360) 786-7986.
It is an honor to serve you.