Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I wanted to start off this update with some good news. On Tuesday, another one of my bills was approved by the state House and sent over to the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 1800, which was approved 97-0, seeks to hold graffiti taggers accountable and curb vandalism throughout the state. It would provide expanded options for judges in their sentencing of offenders convicted of malicious mischief in the third degree or criminal street gang tagging and graffiti. In addition to fines and other penalties, a judge may order offenders to perform at least 24 hours of community restitution, such as cleaning up their own graffiti.
While we must hold offenders accountable for their actions, it’s also important we give them a chance to make amends and choose a better path forward for their lives. I talked about that on the House floor, as well as on KIRO Newsradio when interviewed by Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien earlier this week.
Six initiatives will be on the November ballot
Perhaps the biggest news of session so far is that six initiatives, all of which received more than 400,000 signatures and were certified by the Secretary of State, will be on the ballot in November.
As House Republicans work to fix Washington by promoting good policy and fighting against bad policy, we are encouraged by the support we’ve seen for these initiatives—most of which would tweak or eliminate existing laws that have been incredibly damaging.
Initiative 2113 would reverse the Democrats’ restrictive police pursuit law, restoring the ability of our men and women in law enforcement to engage in vehicular pursuits when there is reasonable suspicion a crime has been committed.
Initiative 2117 would repeal the carbon tax passed by Democrats in 2021, which caused the price of gas to skyrocket, including to more than $5 per gallon last summer (Washington still has the third-highest gas prices in the nation).
Initiative 2081 would establish a “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” outlining various rights for parents and legal guardians of public schoolchildren, including access to educational materials, records, medical information, notifications, and the ability to opt-out of certain activities and classes.
Initiative 2109 would repeal the capital gains income tax passed by Democrats in 2021.
Initiative 2111 would prohibit state and local personal income taxes.
Initiative 2124 would allow all Washington workers to opt-out of the Democrats’ long-term care insurance program and payroll tax, which is costing the average Washingtonian hundreds of dollars per year.
On six separate occasions, we attempted to compel the majority to hold public hearings on these initiatives to give you a voice. Six times, the majority said no. However, as I mentioned above, these initiatives will be on the ballot in November and you’ll have an opportunity to make your voice heard then.
Barkis Breakdown: Week 5
In my latest Barkis Breakdown video, which I filmed earlier this week, I covered the following topics.
- Good and bad housing bills before the Legislature
- Two bills that would curb the growing nuisance of graffiti
- Fighting for public hearings on the six initiatives before the Legislature
- Opposing a proposal to increase the real estate excise tax
- Transportation challenges in Washington state due to cost overruns
- Debating solutions to Washington’s housing crisis
I hope you’ll give it a watch and let me know what you think.
A vigorous debate over solutions to Washington’s housing crisis
I recently had an opportunity to appear on TVW’s Inside Olympia to discuss Washington’s housing crisis. My sparring partner was Rep. Emily Alvarado, who serves as the chair of the House Housing Committee. As you’ll see throughout the conversation, we have very different perspectives when it comes to the best way to get out of this crisis and solve our projected deficit of 1.1 million homes by 2044.
For my part, I want to pass innovative policies, create incentives, and work to remove unnecessary burdens that are contributing to the problem. One of the bills I’ve sponsored that would help build more housing is House Bill 1245, which would require cities to allow lot splitting. This is the other bill of mine that has been approved by the House so far this session.
Washington is producing the fewest housing units per household of any state because we are hampered by restrictive zoning laws and an antiquated Growth Management Act. With new homes out of reach for so many across our state, lot splitting could be a major source of affordable housing for young professionals, seniors, and everyone in between. While the bill hasn’t received a vote in the Senate as of yet, I’m still hopeful we can get it to the governor’s desk this session.
I always love having the opportunity to sponsor local students as pages here in the state House. Recently, Yelm High School student Alyssa Bonham (left below) and River Ridge High School student Katherine Nienaber traveled to the Capitol Campus to spend a week assisting House members with various duties on the chamber floor, making deliveries throughout campus, and supporting member offices.
I want to express my sincere gratitude and admiration to both Alyssa and Katherine for actively participating and contributing to the legislative process. Their commitment to spending a week here at the Capitol reflects not only their strong work ethic, but also their genuine commitment to civic engagement. I wish them both the very best in school and in every endeavor they choose to pursue going forward!
To serve as a page in the Washington State House of Representatives, students must be at least 14 years of age and have not reached their 17th birthday. Pages work a 40-hour week, earn a stipend of $65 a day, and can earn up to 20 hours of community service.
- House Page Program | FAQ
- Legislative Page Programs and Page School
- Gina Grant Bull Memorial Legislative Page Scholarship Program
Please continue reaching out to me with your comments, questions and concerns. My email address is Andrew.Barkis@leg.wa.gov, and my office number is (360) 786-7824.
It is an honor to serve you!