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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is hard to believe we are one month into the 2021 legislative session. Time sure does fly by!

On Monday, Feb. 1, we had our first long virtual floor debate on House Bill 1368. This is one of many bills responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through legislative action. This bill supported the use of federal funding. Let me be clear. The intention and amount of financial assistance this bill provides is needed for our families, communities, and businesses. However, this bill is too little, too late, for too many.

We need bolder solutions to provide real relief. We had the opportunity, through six amendments House Republicans proposed, to make this a better bill.

Our amendments would have:

Please click on the photo below to watch a video mashup of one of my floor speeches, and a few of my colleagues, given during the debate.

House Democrats struck down all of our amendments but one. For these reasons, I, along with many of my Republican colleagues, had to be a reluctant no on this bill.

You deserve real solutions!

House Republicans want real solutions that would bring true relief to the people of Washington state. We are the first caucus to introduce a comprehensive relief package that goes above and beyond the bill mentioned above.

I am proud to co-sponsor House Bill 1334 known as the REAL Recovery for Washington Act. This bill would provide immediate financial support to struggling families and businesses, accelerate the safe reopening of schools, and expand COVID testing and vaccine administration. This bill would use a large portion of the state rainy-day fund while also utilizing federal funding.

We are in the midst of a down pour! It is time to use the rainy-day fund for meaningful relief.

The chart below gives you a side-by-side comparison of our plan versus the House Democrats plan.

Barkis Breakdown

In the latest edition of the Barkis Breakdown, I talk about one of my important housing bills (House Bill 1228); why it is time to take the fences down and open the Capitol; and the inconsistencies in Gov. Jay Inslee’s Phase 2 reopening plan. You can watch by clicking on the photo below, or by clicking on this link.

What to know about the security breach of the Washington State Auditor’s Office

On Feb. 1, the Washington State Auditor announced that a security incident might have exposed sensitive data belonging to Washingtonians – including personal information from about 1.6 million unemployment claims made in 2020. You can read the Washington State Auditor’s news release here.

Since you have contacted my legislative office in the past regarding an unemployment claim with the state Employment Security Department, I wanted to make you aware of this recent incident and provide links to information on what you can do if you are concerned you are affected. You can find that information below.  

Office of the Washington State Auditor

Stay connected!

I 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.

Please contact my Legislative Assistant, Kaden Sanne, for anything you need. 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.

In Service,

Andrew Barkis

State Representative Andrew Barkis, 2nd Legislative District
427A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7824 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000