Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Topics in this update include:
- A word of thanks about last month's town hall meeting in Richland
- My first bill approved by the state House
- House Republicans fight to provide tax relief for Washington families
- Majority party advances comprehensive sex education bill
As always, I welcome you to contact me any time with your comments, questions or concerns. My email address is Matt.Boehnke@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7986.
A word of thanks about last month's town hall meeting in Richland
We're now in the final week of this year's 60-day legislative session, but before I get to policy updates, I first wanted to extend my thanks to everyone who attended our town hall meeting in Richland last month. My top priority is to represent you and your family well, so I always welcome the opportunity to hear directly from you.
I also firmly believe we can achieve so much more together than apart, so thank you again for being engaged, making your voices heard, and being so passionate about our communities. I'm honored to serve you in the Legislature.
My first bill approved by the state House
Sitting at my desk on the House floor and witnessing the passage of my first bill was a truly humbling experience. House Bill 2596, which was approved 93-5, would help lay the groundwork for our state to become a national and global leader in the future of commercial space exploration and development. It is critical we do everything we can to build our state's economy and workforce both now and in the future, and this bill would help in that effort.
House Republicans fight to provide tax relief to Washington families
Earlier this session, lawmakers received good news when the state's latest revenue forecast revealed a surge in new revenue and a $2.4 billion budget surplus. House Republicans immediately came together to discuss how we could use this massive surplus to provide tax relief for Washington families. All 40 of us signed on to a bill (HB 2946) sponsored by Rep. Drew Stokesbary to provide $1 billion in tax relief by implementing voter-approved $30 car tabs and eliminating the sales tax on certain grocery items and personal necessities.
When the majority party signaled they would not be supporting the bill, we knew it was likely their supplemental operating budget would spend almost all of the new surplus and not provide any tax relief. That turned out to be the case, so in a last-ditch effort to put money back in your pockets, we proposed two alternative budgets when they brought their budget to the House floor for a vote.
One of the alternative budgets was introduced by Stokesbary, and looked to deliver the tax relief in HB 2946. The other budget was introduced by Rep. Jim Walsh, and looked to provide $600 million in annual property tax cuts. Unfortunately, the majority party rejected both budgets and passed their own. When the governor signs it into law, state spending will have increased nearly 75% since 2013.
If you're interested in watching a recap of the budget debate, please click on the image below.
Majority party advances comprehensive sex education bill
I have received so many emails from parents and teachers concerned about Senate Bill 5395, the majority party's proposal to mandate comprehensive sex education in all grades by the 2022-23 school year. For six hours last Wednesday, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., I joined with my House Republican colleagues in battling against this bill, which goes way too far by taking away our children's innocence and infringing on parental rights. Watch:
Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions and concerns. I always welcome your feedback. My email address is Matt.Boehnke@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7986.
It is an honor to serve you.