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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well! I hope you and your families had a great Thanksgiving, and as we move closer to the end of 2021, I wish you a Happy Holiday season.

The Washington State Legislature is a part-time legislature. In even-numbered years, we convene to do the people's work for 60-days. The 2022 legislative session begins on Jan. 10. State lawmakers are already busy preparing for the work ahead.

House Republican priorities heading into the 2022 session

House Republicans have made a promise to bring real solutions to the people of Washington state. We are keeping that promise.

On Nov. 15-16, we connected as a caucus to discuss policy issues, committee work, the upcoming legislative session, and other issues. Four areas of focus include:

  • Public Safety. The majority party's ineffective and destructive policies have made our communities less safe and left our law enforcement professionals without needed support. Our priorities include fixing the Democrats' new police reform laws that have created confusion, tied the hands of our law enforcement professionals, and even allowed criminals to escape justice; and allocate state funding to recruit new law enforcement officers and retain current officers. For the past 11 years, Washington state has ranked last in the nation in terms of the number of officers per thousand people.
  • Life affordability. We are advocating for meaningful tax relief and responsible policies that will help alleviate financial burdens for struggling families, students, small business owners, and the most vulnerable. Our priorities include repealing the Democrats' long-term care insurance program and payroll tax; providing meaningful property tax relief; and expanding the working families tax credit.
  • Government accountability. We are holding the governor and his state agencies accountable and working to restore the public's trust by increasing oversight and implementing reforms that improve outcomes. Our priorities include passing emergency powers reform; fixing our homelessness crisis by allocating resources directly to cities and counties; and eliminating wasteful spending by implementing a periodic review of state spending programs.
  • Empowering parents. Parents matter. We want to empower them by providing transparency and the necessary financial and educational flexibility to ensure children have the best opportunity to succeed in school and life. Our priorities include creating transparency in the development of learning standards; creating transparency in the classroom by requiring every school to disclose a listing of actual instructional material; and expanding the number of charter schools throughout the state.

On Nov. 17, I introduced a significant transportation budgeting plan I will champion during session. I hope to create a sustainable and equitable transportation funding model by reimagining state budgeting processes. With the recent revenue forecast and the continuing trend of record state tax collections, now more than ever,  my transportation funding solution, known as the REAL Act, should be considered. To learn more, please click here.

Preparing for the 2022 session | Operations plan for the House of Representatives, Committee Assembly Days, and prefiled bills

On Nov. 18, the House of Representatives announced their operations plan for the 2022 legislative session. We're still living under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, and House operations will reflect this. Only a limited number of legislators will be allowed in the House chamber if we are fully vaccinated. To access our on-campus offices, unvaccinated members will need to commit to a minimum of three COVID-19 tests per week. Members of the public who wish to watch legislative proceedings from the House gallery will be permitted to do so with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72-hours. Committee hearings will still be conducted virtually. As we get closer to Jan. 10, I will keep you updated on the specifics of this operational plan.

On Nov. 18-19, we met virtually for Committee Assembly Days in preparation for the upcoming session. We held work sessions in our respective committees to plan for the months ahead. During these hearings, representatives and staff received presentations and previews of policy issues we will likely tackle in January.

On Dec. 6, bills prepared before the regular session begins can be submitted. Prefiled bills are “officially” introduced on the first day of session. If you would like to review any prefiled bills, including those included in my transportation plan, you can do so by clicking here.

Resources

The links below will continue to provide you with a detailed look at the work happening behind the scenes on your behalf – and on behalf of everyone in Washington state. I encourage you to bookmark the links below, and please share them with your friends and family.

Public policy issues

Governor's Emergency Powers reform and COVID-19 resources

Other important resources

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas regarding your state government, don't hesitate to reach out to me.

Note: Due to legislative restrictions, I won't be able to send out another update until after the 2022 legislative session begins on Jan. 10. However, I'll still be able to respond to your emails, phone calls and letters, so please feel free to contact me anytime.

It's an honor to serve you.

In Service,


Andrew Barkis

State Representative Andrew Barkis, 2nd Legislative District
RepresentativeAndrewBarkis.com
122D Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
andrew.barkis@leg.wa.gov
(360) 584-9846 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000