Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The state Capitol was effectively shut down on Monday due to the snowstorm impacting our region, which means all committee meetings in the House and Senate were cancelled. Reporters and veteran lawmakers said they haven't seen anything quite like this during their time in Olympia.
Aside from that, things have been clipping along at a steady pace so far. We are approaching our very first cutoff of the 2019 legislative session on Feb. 22 — Policy Committee Cutoff. On this date, most bills that have not passed out of their policy committees will be considered “dead” unless they've been deemed necessary to pass or implement the budget.
A lot of good, common-sense legislation has been proposed, as well as a fair mix of bills that would be harmful to taxpayers and detrimental to many individuals and families throughout the state. Once we get past the first few cutoff periods, we'll have a better idea of what bills could feasibly make their way to the governor's desk. When that time comes, I'll be sure to keep you apprised.
Join me for coffee on Saturday, Feb. 16
On Saturday, Feb. 16, Sen. Hans Zeiger, Rep. Kelly Chambers and I will be hosting two 'Coffee and Conversation' events. This is a time for us to come together as a community to discuss issues affecting our district and state, as well as talk about possible solutions. I look forward to these productive conversations and to meeting you if I haven't already! Here are the details:
Poodle Dog Restaurant
1522 54th Ave. E., Fife
7511 Portland Avenue E., Tacoma
If you're not able to make it to one of these events, don't worry! We'll also be hosting another 'Coffee and Conversation' event Saturday, March 16 at Puyallup's Hangar Inn (16919 Meridian E.) from 12-1:30 p.m.
Also, be sure to check my website at RepresentativeChrisGildon.com for the most up-to-date information about these events.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Common-sense housing solutions
As the acting ranking Republican on the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee, one of my policy goals is to work on solutions that increase the supply of affordable housing while investing your tax dollars wisely and ensuring accountability.
I've sponsored two bills that will help accomplish this:
House Bill 2010 directs the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to research and evaluate options to increase participation of for-profit developers in the 9 percent low-income housing tax credit program.
For-profit developers have a greater incentive to keep costs down, especially when compared to governmental agencies. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) found that for-profit developers could develop the same unit for about 13 percent less cost than non-profit builders, and 22 percent less cost than a governmental agency. The study also found that due to the way the commission scores applications for the 9 percent low-income housing tax credit program, for-profit developers haven't participated in the program since 2011, even though they already build at less cost.
My second bill, House Bill 2011, directs the Department of Commerce to collect the final cost data for affordable housing developments and make recommendations on ways to improve efficiency and lower costs.
According to JLARC, Commerce has not been collecting the final development costs from Housing Trust Fund recipients. This means they really don't know how much it costs to build each affordable home they fund. My bill would change that.
Hair stylists and cosmetologists 'wig out' over bill targeting independent contractors
Lawmakers witnessed an impressive grassroots effort last month coordinated largely by hair stylists and cosmetologists concerned over bills that would jeopardize their ability to be self-employed.
Democrat-sponsored House Bill 1515 and Senate Bill 5326 would hinder the ability for hair stylists and cosmetologists to be classified as independent contractors. Many of these individuals rely on the flexible schedule being an independent contractor or sole proprietor provides, allowing them more time to spend with their families and achieve a better work-life balance.
Thankfully, their voices were heard and the sponsor of Senate Bill 5326 withdrew the bill. However, House Bill 1515 is still alive, as well as other efforts that would impact a broader population of independent contractors.
Rest assured, House Republicans will continue to stand with anyone who wants to be their own boss and against policies destructive to small business owners.
This above mobilization is a testament to what can be accomplished when you get involved with your state Legislature. I encourage you to contact me with your ideas, concerns, and questions. You can do so by calling my office at (360) 786-7968 or sending an email to Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov.