Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Believe it or not, this short 60-day session is scheduled to adjourn a week from tomorrow. We've now passed some additional policy cutoff deadlines, hundreds of bills have passed back and forth between the House and the Senate, and we've seen dozens of interesting pieces of legislation throughout this process. I want to recap some of the highlights in this update.
But first, as always, I want to say thank you for sharing your input with me throughout this session. It plays a key role in my efforts in the Legislature and how I go about my work. So, thank you for making your voice heard.
As a refresher, we have two types of committees in the Legislature and each has slightly different deadlines. Policy committees hear and consider bills that may or may not have an associated cost. The job of the policy committee is to determine value based solely on the merits of the policy. Fiscal committees hear and consider bills and make determination based on both merit and cost.
The normal flow of a bill is to pass through a policy committee thus validating its merit as good policy and then move to a fiscal committee to determine if the cost of the policy merits further consideration by the entire House or Senate.
Last Thursday was the last day for a bill to pass a policy committee and fiscal committees had until Monday, March 2 to pass their bills. The next deadline is Friday, March 6, at 5 p.m. for the House to pass Senate bills and the Senate to pass House bills.
Of course, there are always exceptions for items such as bills necessary to implement the state budget.
We've been very busy this week with floor action, and next week will be much of the same with long hours and late nights likely in both chambers. We've already considered numerous pieces of legislation, but there are still some very controversial bills up for consideration. We expect to have lengthy debates on all of these.
Comprehensive Sex Education – Senate Bill 5395 would require every public school to provide comprehensive sexual health education to each student by the 2022-23 school year. Proponents of the bill claim this education is proven to reduce STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and delays the time youth begin engaging in sexual activity. Those opposed to the bill claim children do not mature at the same time and that this subject matter is better left to parents to teach their children when and how the parent believes it is in the best interest of the child. They do not believe it is an appropriate intervention of the state or the schools.
High Capacity Gun Magazine Limits – House Bill 2947 would do a number of things, including making it unlawful for a person to manufacture, possess, distribute, import, transfer, sell, offer for sale, purchase, or otherwise transfer a large capacity magazine, except as specifically authorized. Proponents claim it is part of a holistic course of legislation to reduce gun violence. Opponents claim it is an infringement on their Second Amendment rights and that it will actually have no positive effect in saving lives.
Revoking the Death Penalty – Senate Bill 5339 would remove the death penalty as a possible sentence in the state of Washington. Advocates say this punishment is cruel and unusual. They also cite a Supreme Court ruling that basically makes it impossible to implement. Advocates say it is a necessary and proper tool that can be used as a deterrent to crime. They also say it is useful as a plea-bargaining tool that could lead to additional confessions or admissions of guilt to avoid a death sentence.
$30 Car Tabs – Another topic that has received a lot of attention since I-976 passed in November, is the implementation of $30 car tabs. Although this issue is no longer up for debate this session, it is worth noting that despite several pieces of legislation introduced by House and Senate Republicans, most of these bills did not even receive a hearing in committee.
Transportation and Operating Budget Updates
House Bill 2946 was the Republican version of the operating budget. It fully funded Governor Inslee's budget and would have given Washington working families $1 billion in tax relief and implemented $30 car tabs. It was flatly rejected along party lines.
Please enjoy this short video where I discuss these in a little more detail.
And speaking of transportation projects, please watch this video to learn about some of the road construction projects to ease congestion in Puyallup.
Sorry We Missed You
I'd like to apologize for the scheduling error we made for our in-district visits a couple of weeks ago. We sincerely regret the confusion and hope we didn't cause too much inconvenience for anyone. If you'd still like to share any ideas, questions, and concerns with me, I hope you'll reach out. I'd be happy to speak with you personally.
We'd also like to thank you for participating in the telephone town hall meeting we held earlier this week. We enjoyed speaking with you and appreciate your questions and comments.
In addition, there will be another opportunity to meet with me and my fellow 25th District legislators, Rep. Kelly Chambers and Sen. Hans Zeiger, very soon. We're holding an in-person town hall meeting, Saturday, March 14, 2020. We hope to see you there, and we look forward to reviewing this session with you and answering more of your questions.
However, we are completely aware of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) issue. If you're sick or you're concerned about being in a large public group, please stay home. Your health and the public's safety is of the utmost importance.
Town Hall Details
Puyallup Activity Center
210 West Pioneer
Puyallup, WA 98371
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Shout Out to the Daffodil Princesses
I'd also like to recognize the state's Daffodil Princesses, who visited Olympia last week. The 2020 Daffodil Royal Court joined us in the state Capitol and shared their beautiful smiles and inspiring aspirations. The entire court will be on hand for the 87th Annual Daffodil Parade in Puyallup on Saturday, April 4, 2020.
Don't Miss Anything Happening in Olympia
Here are some great resources to keep you updated on the 2020 session:
- 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.
Continue to Reach out to Me
Even though, we only have a week left this session, there's still time to meet with me. I always appreciate hearing from you. If you'd like to get in touch, please contact my office at (360) 786-7968 or email me at Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov.
It's an honor serving you.