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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Legislature has begun the sixth week of the 60-day legislative session. We are concluding several days of House floor action, as representatives have been caucusing and voting on several amendments and bills. There has been evening and weekend work as we get ready for a final push toward adjournment.

In this email update, a reminder of the virtual town hall coming up, a look at “affordability” or “unaffordability” issues and bills before us this session, and the latest on the six initiatives to the Legislature.

Virtual Town Hall

Rep. Mike Steele and I are having Virtual Town Hall on Monday, Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. We will update on the legislative session and take your questions. There are many things to discuss. We are looking forward to visiting with you. You can register by clicking here.

Affordability

One of the priorities of House Republicans is affordability. We have called for tax relief and support other legislation to help reduce people’s cost of living and provide financial security for struggling individuals, families, and small businesses. Click here for some of our solutions.

Unfortunately, we have seen several bills that do the opposite – increase the price of gas, groceries and housing. Those bills include:

  •  HB 1589 would ban natural gas in new residential and commercial buildings, increasing the costs of housing, energy and goods in our state. Passed the House on a 52-45 vote.
  • HB 2301 would increase garbage bill costs by adding new collection service requirements for residents and businesses related to food and yard waste.
  • HB 2401 would increase the costs of refrigerants that are important to food producers and grocers by requiring producers of bulk refrigerants to fund a producer responsibility organization to collect and recycle refrigerant gases. Passed the House 57-40.
  • HB 1185 would increase the costs for lightbulbs by expanding lightbulb stewardship responsibility for lighting manufacturers to include all lights, not just mercury-containing lights. Passed the House 52-45.
  • HB 1433 would increase the cost of housing by authorizing counties and cities to require, before listing a house for sale, that a home energy score report be obtained. Passed the House 55-42.
  • HB 2114 relates to rent control. It would increase the cost of housing by placing arbitrary limits on rent increases that would reduce supply and ultimately encourage landlords to raise the maximum rent every year.  Passed the House 54-43.

There were also some concerning bills passed related to public safety including:

  • House Bill 2001 would allow certain persons convicted of a felony to petition a court to reduce their original sentence.
  • House Bill 1104 would allow a person in a deferred prosecution for a first-time driving under the influence, may petition the court for a second deferred prosecution for a subsequent charge.

House Republicans have offered solutions on affordability and other issues this session. Check out the links below for more information.

You can also go to our solutions page by clicking the banner below.

Backcountry search and rescue account

My legislation, House Bill 2257, that would support backcountry search and rescue organizations and volunteers through the creation of a grant program passed the state House of Representatives unanimously yesterday. This would be very helpful to organizations and jurisdictions involved in backcountry search and rescue missions. Click here to watch my floor speech.

Easing the tax burden for Washington state senior citizens

House Bill 2375, my bill that would add “detached” accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to property that qualifies for the senior citizen and disabled persons property tax exemption, also passed the House unanimously on Tuesday and is headed to the Senate. Click here to watch my floor speech.

Impact fee deferrals

House Bill 1468 made it three for three on Tuesday, also passing the House unanimously. This measure would remove the requirement that a lien be put on a property when there is an impact fee deferral. This legislation is the result of a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee study. The legislation would make housing development more feasible by reducing the up-front costs to builders and allowing the fees to be paid at closing, when they receive funds from the sale of their homes.

All three bills are now in the Senate for consideration.

Six initiatives update

Over five weeks into the 60-day session, there is still no indication the majority party will schedule public hearings on the six initiatives before the Legislature.

House Republicans have made every effort to give Washington’s citizens a chance to voice their concerns. Last week, our ranking members and assistant ranking members sent letters to House committee chairs and vice chairs requesting public hearings on the six certified initiatives. At this time, we have yet to receive a response from the majority party. For more information, click here.

Below is a rundown of the initiatives. Click on the links to check out our new initiative pages.

  • Initiative 2113 would restore the authority of police to pursue fleeing suspects.
  • Initiative 2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act and its cap-and-trade program.
  • Initiative 2081 would establish parental rights in K-12 education.
  • Initiative 2109 would repeal the income tax on capital gains.
  • Initiative 2111 would prohibit further efforts to impose an income tax.
  • Initiative 2124 would allow Washington workers to opt-out of a mandatory and deeply flawed long-term care insurance program and the payroll tax that goes with it.

Regardless of your stance on these initiatives, they deserve a public hearing. With a reported approximate 2.6 million signatures, the initiatives have obviously resonated with the voters. I believe it is the Legislature’s obligation to have hearings and make decisions on how to respond while we are in session, especially with their potential fiscal impacts on our state government.

Capitol visitors

One of the things I enjoy most about representing the 12th District is visiting with all the folks who travel from district to Olympia. Below is a very small sampling of some of the groups and people I have recently met with.

Reps. Goehner, Kretz and Steele with the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class.
Rep. Goehner with employees of Ballard Ambulance on the hill for EMS Advocacy Day.
Reps. Goehner and Steele with Ella Johnson from The River Academy.

Follow the Legislature

 I hope you are staying engaged and following what is happening in Olympia. There are a lot of important issues yet to be decided as we enter the last three and a half weeks of the session. You can keep up on the legislative news with the two websites below. You can also follow our caucus social media on Twitter (now X), FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments please do not hesitate to contact me. I appreciate your input and feedback.

Sincerely,


Keith Goehner

State Representative Keith Goehner, 12th Legislative District
RepresentativeKeithGoehner.com
122B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
keith.goehner@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7954 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000