Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now past the midway point of this short 60-day session. For the next several days we will be spending the majority of our time on the House floor debating and voting on several legislative proposals.
Legislative deadlines | Key dates
There are several important legislative deadlines this month. Any bill that is policy-related must have been approved by its respective committee by Friday, Feb. 2, or it is now considered “dead.” Tuesday was fiscal committee cutoff, which means any bills with a fiscal impact to the budget must pass out of appropriations committees. Our next big deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 14, which is the last day to pass bills out of the original chamber they were introduced.
You can find an explanation of all legislative deadlines here.
Legislative deadlines ensure each measure is fully examined and debated, and the process is kept on track. If you would like more information on a specific bill moving through the Legislature, or have a comment or concern about public policy being discussed in Olympia, please feel free to call my office or send me an email.
Bill update | Service animal bill approved by House
On Thursday, the state House of Representatives unanimously approved my bill that would make it a civil infraction, with a $500 fine, for a person to misrepresent their pet as a service animal.
The idea for this measure came from a local business owner who thought it was time for the state to do something about these types of abuses. While drafting this bill, I worked closely with the Human Rights Commission and the governor's office to create a bill that benefits the disabled community.
Unfortunately, service animal fraud is a growing problem in our state. Several disabled individuals came to Olympia to testify on behalf of this measure. They were concerned that when people misrepresent their pets, it erodes protections for the unique status of their service animals in the future.
Service animals help people accomplish tasks that otherwise would be difficult or simply impossible. It's essential we do not compromise the ability of people who really need the help of service animals to live their lives freely.
12th District | Visitors in Olympia
In the past few weeks, I've been privileged to meet with several local community members from the 12th District. During our meetings, we have discussed public policy on a broad range topics and issues facing our region. This week I was pleased to meet with local business owner, Bret Gardner, and his daughter, Kyrie. I appreciate the numerous local groups and individuals that have come to Olympia to advocate on issues important to them.
Staying connected | Legislative information and news
Here are some ways to stay informed on news and events at your state Legislature:
Legislature's website | You can find bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
www.Representativemikesteele.com. Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, e-mail updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills and other information.
My SoundCloud audio page | You can listen to my radio interviews from this site.
The Capitol Buzz | A weekday round-up of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe.
The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
Capitol Campus activities and events | Find a calendar of events here.
Listen, helping, leading
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or comments about legislation or state issues. Better yet, if you are planning a visit to Olympia, come see me. I welcome your feedback and questions.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative!