Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Monday, Jan. 14, I was sworn in to represent the 12th Legislative District in the Washington State House of Representatives. I am honored to serve such a great region of our state.
The first few weeks in Olympia included meeting with constituents and colleagues, committee meetings, and a lot of homework on bills we will be considering in the weeks ahead. There are bills, bills and more bills. As of Thursday there have been 852 bills introduced in the House of Representatives and 807 in the Senate.
I am serving on three committees this session. I am the assistant ranking member for the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.
This committee considers issues related to state agency rulemaking, performance audits, elections, campaign finance, public disclosure and much more.
I also serve on the Local Government and Transportation committees. My 16 years as a Chelan County Commissioner gives me a strong perspective on local government issues. On the Transportation Committee I expect us to be looking at traffic issues, fuel taxes, fuel prices, car-tab fees and major infrastructure projects.
Maybe the most eye-catching proposal of the legislative session so far is the governor's budget proposal. Under his budget, state spending will increase by 75 percent over the last eight years, including 20 percent over the last cycle. How would he pay for his spending increase? He is proposing $3.7 billion in new taxes including:
- a capital gains tax;
- an increase in the state B&O tax;
- and the state's real estate excise tax (REET).
While it is only a proposal, we certainly do not need to implement new taxes or raise any others. The state has been experiencing historic levels of revenue. In fact, budget writers will have $4.2 billion in additional revenue entering the 2019-21 budget cycle, compared to 2017-19.
I will be watching the tax proposals closely as the session moves forward.
Damaging proposals to small business
House Bill 1515, Senate Bill 5513, Senate Bill 5326 – Assault on independent contractors. If you caught the news this week you may have heard about the more than 1,000 hairstylists who flooded the Capitol campus on Monday to testify against these bills. They feared the legislation would do away with booth rental agreements, forcing them to go to work for bigger employers rather than themselves. The hair dressers and stylists are entrepreneurs, many of whom are women and mothers who are pursuing their dreams, and enjoy the flexibility in setting their own schedules and maximizing their income.
The subject matter appears to be narrow in scope, but the consequences of this legislation could negatively impact all independent contractors or the self-employed, such as home care workers, the hospitality industry, custodial services, delivery workers, contractors, subcontractors, and many other occupations. The sponsor of Senate Bill 5326 said this bill is “dead,” meaning they are not going to take further action on it this session. However, there are a number of other bills detrimental to small business. I will be watching for these proposals. I can assure you I will be advocating for our small businesses and the rights of Washingtonians to work for themselves and determine what is best for their own lives and families.
We have a fantastic Page Program in the House of Representatives. If you know a student who would like to serve as a page, have them or their parents get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 360-786-7954. To serve as a page, a student must have permission from a parent or guardian, and his or her school, be at least 14 years of age and not have reached his or her 17th birthday. Paging is a paid position – $35 per day. To learn more about the program, click here. For an online page application click here.
As your newest 12th District representative, please feel free to contact me with your comments, questions and concerns about legislative issues before us this year. Your feedback is important as we consider legislation that impacts our communities and state.
It is an honor to serve as your representative.