Things continue to be very different in this remote session. I especially miss being able to welcome you into my office but am happy to have met many new Zoom friends. It has been great to connect and talk about issues that matter to you and our communities
This week marks a milestone in the legislative process where policy bills must be voted out of their respective committees in order to be considered by the Senate. For the next few days we will be focused on fiscal bills before moving into long and busy floor days where we will be debating many of the bills that survived the policy “cut-off.”
Salmon recovery update
I recently shared some information on mandatory riparian setback bills intended to improve salmon recovery efforts. I strongly opposed the burden these bills would place on property owners. Both House Bill 1838 and Senate Bill 5727 appear to be stalled in the legislative process and while thankfully they won’t likely be signed into law this year, they do signal the need for a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to improving salmon stock. We must engage the broadest possible group of stakeholders in our efforts and consider all factors contributing to the low returns if we intend to save our salmon.
Emergency powers update
When it comes to amending the governor’s emergency powers, I want you to know that I hear you loud and clear! I know this issue is very important to you and to the state of Washington.
For two years now, Republicans have been urging the legislature to reform and refine our governor’s powers during a declared state of emergency. The Legislature must have a seat at the table, or you don’t have a seat there. As I’ve mentioned before, I support Senate Bill 5039, which would include the legislature in all decisions made during a state of emergency that goes beyond 30 days. That’s it. It simply includes the legislature in the process and gives a voice back to the people of our state – something that’s been severely missing.
I’ve also been hearing from you on the majority party’s answer to emergency powers — Senate Bill 5909. This bill does not do what it advertises. The only way the governor’s powers could be influenced under this legislation is if the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders along with the Speaker of the House and the House Minority Leader all agree – all four of them and then only after 90 days. While I am thankful that the majority party is considering emergency powers reform, I question why they offered this diluted do-nothing approach.
Purple star families
In recognition of our servicemen and women and their families, I’ve sponsored Senate Bill 5367 to create a purple star award recognizing military-friendly schools. The purple star award honors schools that show a commitment to students and families that are connected to our nation’s military. This bill would join Washington with twenty-seven other states in establishing a program with the capacity to provide students an outlet for their unique circumstances and to turn difficult situations into positive outcomes. Washington state is home to four major military installations and the number of families connected to the military is a significant portion of our population.
For more information and to register, click here.
Thanks for reading my legislative update, I encourage you to reach out to my office and to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns on matters of importance to you. And please, if you don’t already, follow me on Facebook. My contact information can be found on the right sidebar. I look forward to hearing from you.