Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This is a session like no other due to the on-going response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Capitol buildings are closed to the public. Legislators are using technology to conduct business. This is not how we should be doing the people's work.
I believe there are ways we can conduct the people's work in a safe and healthy manner, but nonetheless conduct that work in-person. As we saw during the 2021 legislatives session opening ceremonies, there are ways that we can accommodate all the health and safety protocols surrounding COVID-19, while we conduct business in-person. I will continue to fight to bring the people's voice and work back to Olympia where it belongs.
Major headline of the week: House Democrats want to massively increase the gas tax
ICYMI – The House Democrats rolled out a massive gas tax increase as their solution to fund transportation projects across our state. In a time when our state is barely on the brink of recovery from COVID-19, asking you to pay a phenomenal amount of money at the gas pump is not the road we should be taking, pun intended. We need to reprioritize, live within our means, and work with existing revenues. We can do this without raising taxes.
Please click on the photo below to watch a short video update on this proposed plan.
It was great to sit down with Jason Rantz this week, LIVE on KTTH Radio, to discuss this proposal. Listen to my interview here, or by clicking on the photo below.
For additional information on the massive tax proposal, I encourage you to read my statement and reaction to the proposed plan.
My priorities in 2021 | Bills to keep on eye on
From the first moment I walked into the Legislative building to be sworn in as a state representative in 2016 – to today – I've been working extremely hard on bringing forward real solutions to our housing affordability crisis. I've introduced several bills in the 2021 session.
House Bill 1228 – Addressing residential landlord-tenant requirements in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. My bill will end the eviction moratorium and provide much needed assistance to both landlord and tenants who continue to face hardships. It's a step in the right direction. Please get involved with the process. My bill will receive a public hearing in the House Housing, Human Service and Veterans Committee on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 1:30pm. Click here if you'd like to sign up to testify on my bill or provide written testimony. Together we can make a change.
Other important housing bills I've introduced:
- House Bill 1232 – Planning for affordable housing under the growth management act.
- House Bill 1233 – Concerning limited areas of more intensive rural development.
In this edition of the Barkis Breakdown
For more on my thoughts about our virtual session, please watch the latest edition of the Barkis Breakdown. You can do so by clicking on the photo below, or by clicking on this link.
Important bills to watch | COVID-19 relief
My Republican colleagues and I continue to put real solutions on the table to bring relief to the people of Washington state who continue to suffer from the economic and financial hardships of COVID. Several bills have been introduced this session. I'm proud to have co-sponsored these bills.
- House Bill 1334 : REAL Recovery for Washington Act
- House Bill 1321 / Senate Bill 5114: Safely reopening Washington state
- House Bill 1170: Building economic strength through manufacturing.
Important bills voted off the House floor
- On Friday, Jan, 15, the majority party in the House passed Resolution 8402 indefinitely extending the governor's authority to operate under certain emergency proclamations issued in response to COVID-19. I voted no, as it's time for the Legislature to get to work.
- On Friday, Jan 22, we passed a bipartisan bill – House Bill 1095 – to bring relief to all the small businesses across our state who continue to suffer under the shadow of the pandemic. This bill seeks to provide B&O, public utilities, and retail sales tax exemptions for a qualifying grant received on or after Feb. 29, 2020, that is related to a national or state emergency proclamation. I voted yes.
You will notice a new voice when you call my office. I have a new legislative assistant, Kaden Sanne. He is ready to work with all of you, and is ready to take your calls, or emails. Please reach out to him, and my office, as you normally would. Our contact information is at the bottom of this email.
I also encourage you to bookmark the following links. These are good resources to keep you up-to-date and to stay informed about your state government.
- My legislative website. Here you will find my contact information, news releases, archived email updates, and more.
- My legislative Facebook page. Here you will find the latest news and videos directly from me.
- House Republicans website. This is a great resource to get all the latest on what your House Republican representatives are working on.
- Our caucus social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram (@wahouserepublicans)
- The Washington State Ledger. This is our legislative news aggregator with information related to state government, public policy, and the legislative process.
- TVW. The state's own version of C-SPAN. This is where you can watch all of the committee and floor action.
- Washington State Legislature website. Here you will find committee and floor schedules, bill information, and how you can testify and/or provide input on a bill.