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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well! As the weather slowly transitions into spring, the Legislature is also turning a page. We hit house of origin cutoff with some long days and late nights.

The 329 bills – 77 were Republican– passed off the House floor are now in the Senate for public hearings and further consideration. Where any bill is not technically “dead” until the final gavel ends session, bills that did not make it through their house of origin will likely not see any further action.

While many bills that passed had bipartisan support, many others did not.

I am happy with the bipartisan work and progress on policies surrounding workforce issues, wildfire response, and salmon recovery. We also had some wins in the housing arena with several policies to help increase supply, including streamlining housing development regulations, middle housing, and work on accessory dwelling units.

A few bad policies I was glad did not advance include rent control, allowing police officers to be sued personally, preventing law enforcement from pulling people over for minor violations, a Domestic Violent Extremism Commission, and allowing cities and counties to triple their annual increase in property taxes.

Some disappointments include no emergency powers reform, reducing some criminal sentences by eliminating certain enhancements, eliminating criminals from having to pay penalties to fund services for victims, and making it harder and more expensive to build through climate change provisions in the growth management act.

You can learn about some of the policies that passed with long debates, additional wins, and disappointments by watching the latest edition of the Barkis Breakdown. Click here or on the photo below to watch.

Here is a brief description and update of some of the bills I discussed in the Barkis Breakdown.

House Bill 1245 | Increasing housing options through lot splitting (support)

  • My bill seeks to require cities to allow splitting a single residential lot if specific conditions are met and would prohibit cities from imposing certain regulations on a residential lot resulting from a lot split.
  • My bill passed the House of Representatives on March 1 with a vote of 94-2-2.
  • The Senate Committee on Local Government, Land Use, and Tribal Affairs heard my bill on March 14. It is set to be moved forward out of committee on March 23.
  • You can read more about my bill in this press release.
  • Watch my floor speech by clicking here or on the photo above.

House Bill 1371 | Providing incentives to improve freight railroad infrastructure (support)

  • My bill would create various business and occupation, retail sales and use, and public utility tax exemptions and credits for Class I, II, and III railroads and other eligible taxpayers for donated materials, maintenance, modernization, and new construction on short line railroad track.
  • My bill passed the House of Representatives on March 16 with a vote of 92-4-2.
  • The Senate Committee on Business, Financial Services, Gaming, and Trade is set to hold a public hearing on my bill on March 23.
  • Watch my floor speech by clicking here or on the photo above.

House Bill 1240 | Ban assault-style firearms (oppose)

  • This bill would prohibit the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any assault weapon, subject to various exceptions for licensed firearm manufacturers and dealers and for individuals who inherit an assault weapon and provides a violation of these restrictions constitutes a gross misdemeanor and is actionable under the Consumer Protection Act.
  • I OPPOSED this bill. I believe this bill is unconstitutional and infringes on our constitutionally protected Second Amendment rights.
  • Watch my floor speech on an amendment to remove inaccurate and troubling language from this bill by clicking here or on the photo above.

State biennial budgets

While we continue to work on policy bills through the committee process, it is also time to start rolling out the state’s three main biennial budgets – operating, capital, and transportation.

Each chamber – the House and Senate – will release its own budget proposals. Budget writers will then work to reconcile the two proposals into one.

Last week, the Senate released its capital budget proposal. The House has yet to release its proposed version.

On Monday, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council gave the latest revenue forecast. State revenues increased by $194 million for 2021-23 but decreased by $483 million for 2023-25 and decreased by $541 million for 2025-27. It looks like our state economy is starting to slow down, something Republicans have been predicting would happen. We will see how this forecast impacts our state’s operating budget. Senate Democrats will release their budget on Thursday, 3/24. House Democrats will release their budget on Monday, 3/27. We will see what these proposals look like when heard in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and the House Appropriations Committee.

As the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, I, along with my Republican assistant ranking members, have been busy in budget cabinet working on the state’s biennial transportation budget. It looks like this budget will roll out and be heard in the House Transportation Committee next week. I will keep you posted.

Stay Connected | 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