Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have reached the end of our 105-day regular session. Sine Die is literally around the corner. However, there is more work to be done. Budget negotiations are still ongoing and will keep us around for special session. I will keep you updated in upcoming e-newsletters on the progress of these negotiations.
Aside from what you may have heard in the media, we have been extremely hard at work. Here are some highlights of important issues I have been working on.
Gov. Jay Inslee signs surplus line broker licensing bill into law
I saw my first bill signed into law this week. The Office of Insurance Commissioner approached me to modify the licensing requirements for resident and nonresident surplus line insurance brokers in our state. My bill cleans up current statute and includes reciprocity with other states. You can read more about this here.
Working to find solutions | Sound Transit 3
I have heard many complaints and concerns surrounding the Sound Transit 3 taxes and the heavy impact to our district. House Republicans have been working extremely hard to bring reform to Sound Transit. Recently, several amendments were offered to the House transportation budget to bring relief. Some of the amendments included allowing cities and counties to opt-out of the regional transit authority altogether; requiring Sound Transit to assess vehicles using Kelley Blue Book value; prohibiting Sound Transit from issuing any new bonds without receiving legislative approval. Unfortunately, the House majority party rejected the amendments.
There is a dim light at the end of the tunnel. House Bill 2201 brings small relief to the car-tab fee issue. This bill would provide an adjustment to the motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) by giving you a small tax rebate on your car tabs. For example, a 2017 Honda Accord, standard model, would pay around $207 for its car tabs. Under HB 2201, the car tabs would be $176. I believe some relief is better than no relief. I voted in favor of this bill.
Bills in motion | Legislation update
I'm proud to have sponsored and supported two pieces of legislation important to me. The first is House Bill 1352 – The Small Business Bill of Rights. This bill seeks to identify what specific rights or protections small business owners have when selected for an audit, inspection, or other agency enforcement action. Once these rights are defined, the state will then set up a process to inform business owners. As a small business owner, I personally know how important these rights and protections are. The work on this bill is proof that when we work together, great things are accomplished. This bill has been delivered to the governor, and I look forward to its signage into law.
The second is Senate Bill 5388 – The Squatters Bill. This bill would protect property owners from squatters. Under current law, it is next to impossible to get squatters out of a residence. This bill gives law enforcement the proper authority to remove squatters from private property and direct them to stay off the premises. You can read more about this effort here. I look forward to the continued movement of this bill, and to see it signed into law.
For more information on these bills, please watch the latest edition of the 'Barkis Breakdown.' You can do so by clicking on the photo below.
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Thank you for taking the time to read my legislative updates. I welcome you to share your thoughts with me on the information covered in this update, and any other issues important to you, your family, and your business. Please feel free to call my office at (360) 786-7824, or email me.
It's an honor to serve you.