Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2020 legislative session is barely two weeks old, and Olympia is already in full swing with over 1,000 new bills being introduced. I've personally filed a number of bills that deal with affordability, accountability, and transparency, and I'm looking forward to working on bipartisan solutions that address the root causes of our common issues.
Before we get to those issues, I want to sincerely thank you for your input during the interim. I appreciated the phone calls, emails, one-on-one meetings, and your participation in our town hall meeting in December. I especially want to thank all those who have taken the time to return the mail-in survey sent by myself, Sen. Hans Zeiger, and Rep. Kelly Chambers.
Survey results pending: your voice matters
Speaking of that survey, we've received an overwhelming response. That tells us how much you care about our community and how our state government is operating. We've received such a huge response that we're still tabulating and analyzing the results. In fact, our staff members have already put in countless hours recording your responses. We promise we'll get you those results as soon as we can.
In the meantime, I want to talk about some other important issues I've been working on.
Accountability: House Bill 2465
According to a report titled, System Failure 2: Declines, Delays and Dismissals, the Seattle city prosecutor denied taking action on almost half of the cases presented by law enforcement in 2017. That number was just 17% in 2007. I'd really like to know why they declined to prosecute such a large percentage of cases. However, there is currently no way to get that information from these elected prosecutors.
This bill is fairly simple. It requires all elected prosecutors to submit an annual report stating, at minimum: the number of cases presented by law enforcement, the number of cases prosecuted, the number of cases dismissed without action, and a short narrative explanation of the prosecutors' actions.
We've all heard of prosecutors refusing to go after people who have 3 grams or less of heroin or methamphetamine or refusing to prosecute those who shoplift less than $100. In no way do I want to interfere with their right to prosecutorial discretion, but I do want you to have the information necessary to determine whether or not you approve of their actions. That's exactly the intent of this bill.
Affordability: House Bill 2464
This bill seeks to protect you from excess costs of prescription medications. I've spoken with so many of our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet, and a big driver of that struggle is the cost of prescription medications. This bill would provide some relief by requiring pharmacists to charge the lesser of your insurance co-pay or the cash price.
Many times, the cash price is actually less than the insurance co-pay. Big pharma really doesn't want you to know this, but I believe it's important for you to get the best deal possible!
Please click on the image below to enjoy the video that goes a little more in depth on this, and an additional bill I'm working on.
Honoring your Vote: House Bill 2227
As you know, the initiative for $30 car tabs passed with 53% of the vote statewide and almost 72% in our district. The Republican Caucus heard you loud and clear! That's why we just rolled out a plan to honor your vote while fully funding our transportation needs with existing resources. The plan is accomplished in three ways:
- Codify $30 car tabs. You spoke. The Legislature should listen. Despite the attempt by Seattle Democrats to sue the state and overturn your will, the Legislature should honor the voice of the people and codify a clean bill to implement $30 car tabs.
- Rebuild trust with Sound Transit. Much of the backlash that pushed I-976 over the finish line was due to the arrogance of Sound Transit in using inflated car valuations. We need to rebuild that trust. As such, Rep. Kelly Chambers, R-Puyallup, sponsored House Bill 1957 which seeks to have Sound Transit officials directly elected by the people, so they're directly accountable to you.
- Fund transportation needs with the already-existing motor vehicle sales tax and reduce our reliance on dwindling gas tax revenues. Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, introduced House Bill 1122, which would move us away from using the gas tax and car tabs to pay for road infrastructure, and instead, begin using revenue from taxes collected on the sale of motor vehicles. There is a clear nexus between the motor vehicle sales tax and road construction for those very same vehicles to drive on. Furthermore, this funding source is large enough to fully fund our needs without raising additional taxes.
Ways to Stay Informed
You can stay up to date on everything going on in Olympia this session, including the progress of the bills I'm working on. Here's how:
- RepresentativeChrisGildon.com: Here you can find all my news releases, email updates, and the bills I have sponsored.
- The Washington State Ledger: This is the House Republican Caucus's latest tool to keep you in tune with everything going on in Olympia and throughout the entire state.
- Capitol Buzz: Here you can find headlines and stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, television.
- Legislature's website: You can also track legislation, get bill reports, and comment on bills of interest as well as view committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
- TVW: Tune into TVW, Washington's own version of C-Span. You can even catch floor and committee action live.
House Page Program still accepting applications
It's not too late to be a part of the House Page Program during the 2020 legislative session. If you know a 14-to-16-year-old who would like to participate in this opportunity, click here to learn more. Pages get the chance to spend a week in Olympia to attend Page School, where they assist lawmakers and staff, and get an in-depth look at our state Legislature.
Keep the feedback coming
I always value your comments and opinions. So please feel free to contact me on issues of state level importance. Also, be sure to let me know if you'll be in Olympia while we're in session. I'd be glad to meet in person. You can reach my office at (360) 786-7968 or email me at Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov.
It's an honor to serve you!