Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last week, the state Legislature passed the halfway point of the 2019 legislative session. For the past week and a half, lawmakers have been on the floors of their respective chambers passing legislation.
Before we dive into some of the policies the House explored the past few days, I wanted to remind you that I, along with Sen. Hans Zeiger and Rep. Kelly Chambers, will be hosting another Coffee and Conversation event this Saturday, March 16. Here are the details:
Saturday, March 16
Civil Air Patrol Building
16915 103rd Ave. E.
Puyallup, WA 98374
If you have any questions about the event, or if you won't be able to make it and would like to share your thoughts on issues before the state Legislature, please don't hesitate to contact me. You can find all of my contact information on my website at RepresentativeChrisGildon.com. I look forward to seeing you there!
A roundup of floor action
As I mentioned above, we've been spending a considerable amount of time on the floor passing bills over to the other chamber. In total, we have sent more than 300 bills to the Senate. Below is a brief summary of some of the good, interesting, and controversial bills we considered during this period of floor action.
- HB 1168 – This bill would provide a tax exemption for self-help housing. With a housing shortage of 338,000 units, this bill provides an incentive to build so we can close the housing availability gap.
- HB 1702 – There have been a lot of bills offered this year to provide “free college” for some students. I like to call these types of proposals “taxpayer-funded college” bills. I believe the most benevolent form of financial aid is lowering the cost of tuition and books for everyone. That's exactly what this bill seeks to do, by requiring community and technical colleges to designate during registration whether course materials are “low-cost.”
- HB 1231 – This is such a monumental bill for sexual assault survivors. The legislation would eliminate or extend the statute of limitations for various sex crimes. This is long overdue.
- HB 1061 – Move over geoduck. This bill would name the Pacific razor clam as the state clam.
- HB 1133 – This was a honey of a bill that created quite the buzz around the Capitol. It limits the civil liability of apiarists and operators. There are already protections for commercial beekeepers in rural areas, and this bill would extend some similar protections to apiarists in urban areas.
- HB 1196 – This bill would have Washington state ditch the switch, and keep permanent daylight savings time all year long.
- HB 1476 – This bill would prohibit a pet dog or cat from being named as collateral in a consumer lease or secured transaction.
- HB 1074 – This bill would raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years.
- HB 1311 – This changes the College Bound Scholarship to an entitlement, which means the state is obligated to fund it. I offered an amendment to the bill that would have required scholarship recipients to complete eight hours of community service per year to maintain eligibility for the benefit, but my measure was soundly rejected by the majority party.
- HB 1575 – I'm calling this the Hotel California bill: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!” It allows public employees to join a union at any time, and they may do so verbally, but only provides a 15-day exit period each year and only allows opt out by signature. The bill is in direct response to the Janus decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that requiring “agency fees” from public employee non-union members is a violation of an individual's First Amendment rights.
- HB 1638 – Perhaps one of the hottest topics this session, this legislation removes the personal or philosophical objection exemption for the MMR vaccine.
All of the above bills passed the House and are now up for consideration in the Senate.
TVW Legislator Profile
I recently sat down with TVW to share a little bit about our wonderful communities in the 25th District, one of our nation's former presidents I admire most, and my legislative priorities. Watch here or by clicking below.
An update on my bills
I'm pleased to report my bill to provide fee-exempt license plates to veterans with a disability rating of 70 percent or more passed the House this week. Current law only allows veterans with a 100 percent disability rating to qualify.
My other piece of legislation that would help increase the supply of affordable housing by encouraging private developers to participate in one of the state's tax credit programs was not heard on the House floor and is now “dead” for the year. As the assistant ranking Republican on the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee, I have made it one of my priorities to work on solutions that will reduce our housing shortage. This bill would have brought us closer to that goal, and it's a shame the majority party did not let it advance.
As always, if you have any questions about any of the proposals mentioned in this email update, or any other issue before the state Legislature, I encourage you to contact me. You can do so by calling (360) 786-7968 or sending an email to Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you!