There are over 800 bills that have been introduced this year. Many of them are terrible bills that will fundamentally change things in this state – our economy, our business atmosphere, where we can build a house, what our kids are being taught in school, tax policies, and your mode and cost of transportation. These are big things. All of them. You may be a 2A person. You may have a passion for legislation regarding tax policy. Or, you may wish to make sure our law enforcement organizations are not dismantled. The thing is, you can’t just compartmentalize. Many of these things are intertwined. 

As an example, I’ve added a bill that will be heard this week. SB 5340 will change the law for someone running for school board. It will change the qualification requirement from U.S. Citizen to allowing those who are not citizens but are legal permanent residents to run for that office. You may not have kids. You may think that it might be a good idea – that legal permanent resident is fully invested in the community. Why not? I have several friends and loved ones who are immigrants. It does take a lot of time and effort to become a citizen. I loved them before they were citizens and I love them after. But are we going to go down the road where people who are not citizens can run for office? The next step is that “well, if we have non-citizens run for office, we should have those upstanding people able to vote, as well.” After all, if they are invested enough to run for office, what’s the difference between that and voting. Do you see how that bill – that mindset – would fundamentally change how we elect our representatives? Again, I know many who are legal residents and those who have become citizens. This is not a statement against them in any way – it is against the idea that we should allow people who are not citizens of the U.S. to hold office. Bear in mind, this move would ultimately affect every single thing I mentioned in the first paragraph.

I didn’t add many bills to the list this week, because I made some other changes and I wanted to get you used to the new format. I wanted to keep things fairly short, so I have the bills in two sections – good and bad. I fixed the two errors I made last week. The Capital Gains bill is in the Bad list and I corrected the bill number for the increase in the gas tax. But here’s how to use my chart.

1. Bill number – I have added a link to the bill report to the bill number, so all you have to do is click on it to get the bill explained in layman’s terms. The Bill Report gives you background, it defines terms, and it gives details about what the bill will actually do. Sometimes that’s tough to figure out just by reading the bill.

2. Then I added a short explanation.

3. Finally, I give you where the bill is. If you click on the link in that column, it will take you to a page that lists all of the members of the committee where the bill currently resides. There is one bill that doesn’t have the link. It’s one that has already gone through the whole process in the Senate and has been voted off the floor. It will now go through the process in the House. (It’s a bill requiring Critical Race Theory to be taught in K12. This bill is on a fast track to be signed into law shortly. Any bill that has made it to Rules or has passed the floor is moving fast – you need to take action quickly on these!)

4. Here is a short summary of what process a bill must go through to pass.
a. It starts in a committee in the “House of Origin” (Senate committee for senate bills and House committee for House bills).
b. The bill must pass out of committee where it goes to rules. If you see a bill in Rules, you know that it is very close to going to the floor for a vote, especially if it’s a Democrat bill and has been voted out of committee this quickly.
c. From Rules, the bill goes to the floor.
d. If the bill is voted off the floor, it then goes to the “Opposite House” and goes through the same process. 
Good bills –>
SB 5207 Freshman senator,  Jeff Wilson, introduced this bill.  It would streamline environmental permitting. Senate Ag, Water, & Natural Resources

SB 5037 Sen. Braun introduced a bill requiring schools to offer face to face classes depending on COVID metrics. While we believe in local control, there needs to be some incentive for school districts to be required to meet face to face. Our kids have been out of school for a year. Some are thriving, but a huge number are going to suffer in their educational future forever because of this!  Senate Early Learning & K12 

SB 5114 Sen. Braun introduced another big one. This would move all of the state into Phase 2 of the Governor’s “COVID plan,” allowing restaurants and other industries to open back up safely. We are killing our small businesses and the hospitality industry is suffering mightily. There were over 1600 people who signed up to testify. The vast majority were for the bill. This past week, the Republicans attempted two procedural procedures that would have allowed a vote on this bill, but they were over-ruled each time. The Chair of the Committee that this bill is in – Senator Sam Hunt – refuses to let it come to a vote in committee. One wonders if he doesn’t want to go on record as voting no against all our businesses!
 Senate State Government

SB 5243 Senator Lynda Wilson introduced this bill that will streamline the approval of engineered plans. A little in the weeds, but honestly, trying to build anything in some counties is an absolutely nightmare – streamlining anything would be a blessing.  Senate Housing & local Govt

SB 5245 Sen. Brown – Requiring written notification of crime victims before release of prisoners for certain crimes.
 Senate Human Services

SB 5316  Sen. Wilson, L. – This is also in the weeds, but this is big. The state has gotten millions of dollars from the federal government to help with COVID expenses. It is the Legislature’s job to appropriate funds and decide where the money is spent. The Governor has taken that job over because of yet another loophole in the law. Senator Wilson’s bill requires that a committee, made up of legislators approve or reject a request for expenditure by the Governor. Senate Ways & Means (budget)

Bad bills –>

HB 1099 Do you ever want to own a house? Develop property. Do you care what happens to your community? This bill would require the goal of “climate change mitigation” to the goals of Growth Management. This will even require local governments to track your travel. Listen to Rep. Peter Abbarno discuss it here.   House Appropriations

HB 1091 Low Carbon Fuel Standards will definitely increase gas prices further. This obviously hurts everyone, but especially those in the rural areas. Article discussing this bill –  House Appropriations

HB 1135 Increase gas prices – Isn’t this one of the best ideas? Right when most of WA state has been out of work for the past year? This will be an 18 cent increase (on top of increases by low carbon fuel standards.) The bill report on this one doesn’t say much, so I didn’t link it. It’s part of an entire transportation package that includes tons of new spending, as well. Wonder how much goes for the light rail boondoggle?  House  Transportation

HB 1141 Expanding assisted suicide  House Rules

HB 1225 Creating school-based health centers in our schools. Basically removes the parent from the health decisions of their children. This one is fast-tracked, as well. Scheduled to be passed out of committee before the end of the week.  House Appropriations

SB 5038 Prohibits open carry at demonstrations at the Capitol. Another Second Amendment issue  Rules

SB 5044 Imposing Critical Race Theory on our children in public school. This one is fast tracked, folks. May be on the floor this week, passed and sent to the House for a quick pass and then, boom, into law before the end of February. You need to organize and work to get this defeated.  Passed the Senate vote 30-19

SB 5052Concerning the creation of health equity zones. This is the year of racial equity & social justice. These bills are fast tracked and will likely be passed. There are a bunch of them. I’m only hitting on a few. These are racists bills. If you have to check a person’s color or gender to be able to choose what action to take, you are doing it wrong!  Senate Ways & Means (budget)

SB 5078 Hi Cap Magazine ban Bill  Rules

SB 5096  Capital Gains Income Tax – make no mistake. This is a push for an income tax. Senate Ways & Means (budget)

SB 5188 The WA State Bank. Terrible idea, but they are definitely pushing it. We have great credit ratings in this state, thanks to Treasurer Duane Davidson. They want to destroy that good rating by creating our own state bank. Not the place of government to do that!  Senate Business & Finance

SB 5340 Changes the qualification for running for School Board from requiring citizenship to just being a permanent legal resident. The next step after this is allowing permanent legal residents to vote without requiring citizenship. Scheduled for a hearing on Feb 1 at 1:30 pm Senate Early Learning & K12