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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well! On Tuesday, Feb. 15, we reached the House of Origin cutoff – the last day the House and Senate could pass bills that originated in their respective chambers. We spent long days and very late nights debating a wide range of policies. Now, we are back in our committees hearing bills that came over from the Senate.

In this update, I will provide details on the wins and losses of our debates on the House floor.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly | House of Origin cutoff

Before diving into this update, you can watch all the highlights in my latest edition of the Barkis Breakdown. I cover House of Origin cutoff, what it means for good and bad policy introduced in the House, and what’s next. I also provide a brief update on housing, including an ugly bill (House Bill 1904 – the foundation to rent control in Washington state) that did not make it past the cutoff. You can watch by clicking here or on the photo below. Thanks for watching!

Brief update | Transportation

I went into detail on the Democrats’ Move Ahead Washington transportation plan in my last e-newsletter. One of the revenue sources in this flawed plan is an export tax on fuel supplied to neighboring states.

It seems our friends in Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon are not happy with the Democrats’ idea of raising their gas prices to pay for Washington’s transportation needs and overall system. The governors of all three of these states have publicly stated they will retaliate against Washington state should this plan become law.

This is what happens when they shut us out of the process, silence our ideas, and move forward with another go-at-it-alone approach.

In the House Transportation Committee, we held a public hearing on the spending policy (House Bill 2119) and the fiscal policy (House Bill 2118) of the Move Ahead Washington proposal. Both bills will receive executive action and move out of committee in the coming days.

The Senate passed their version of the spending policy (Senate Bill 5974) off the Senate floor in a vote of 29-20. Their version of the fiscal policy (Senate Bill 5975) still awaits executive action in the Senate Transportation Committee.

I will keep you posted as this plan moves through the legislative process.

Highlights | House of Origin cutoff

We had a marathon floor debate on House Bill 1837. The debate started around 9:00 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 14, and ended at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15. This policy would overturn a 2003 initiative prohibiting state ergonomic regulations beyond federal OSHA regulations. This horrible policy would make things more expensive for consumers and negatively impact every part of our state economy.

I am proud of my Republican colleagues for not letting an all-night debate derail us from standing up and fighting for consumers, small businesses, and jobs across Washington state. We did not back down and had one of the closest votes on a policy in some time – 50-48. If this bill had been a 49-49 tie, it would not have passed off the House floor. I commend my Democrat colleagues who joined us in voting against a bad bill.

Other bad bills that did not make it past cutoff include:

  • House Bill 1767 – Targeted electrification/utility bill increases
  • House Bill 1486 – Expanding reasons an individual may voluntarily quit their job and receive unemployment insurance
  • House Bill 1727 – Eliminate statewide general elections in odd-numbered years
  • House Bill 1692 – Lessen the criminal penalty for drive-by shootings
  • House Bill 1838 – Creates riparian management zones, effectively killing much of the state’s farmland.

Our focus wasn’t solely on bad policy. There were good bills that advanced in time of the House of Origin cutoff, including:

  • House Bill 1973 – Requires school board meeting to be recorded
  • House Bill 2019 – Increases educational and training opportunities for careers in retail
  • House Bill 2044 – Protecting critical constituent and state operational data against the financial and personal harm caused by ransomware and other malicious cyber activities.
  • House Bill 2037 – Defines physical force and modifies the standard for the use of force by peace officers (i.e., one of the fixes to last year’s police reform bills)
  • House Bill 1643 – Provides an exemption from the real estate excise tax for certain sales of real property for affordable housing
  • House Bill 1785 – Making sure Washington State Patrol are paid comparable wages to the top law enforcement agencies in the state

In my next e-newsletter

It is budget time. The House and Senate supplemental operating, transportation, and capital budgets have been released. They are making their way through the committee process and will soon head to the floors of each chamber for debate and final passage. In my next update, I will give you the details of each budget. Stay tuned!

Resources and important links

I hope you will bookmark and save the links below.

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas regarding your state government or any of the topics and issues mentioned in this update, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

It is an honor to serve you.

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