Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're nearly halfway through the 2023 session. The pace is definitely picking up. With more than 1,500 bills introduced this session, there's a lot of work to do.
Legislative deadlines keep the process on track. We've recently passed one deadline: policy cutoff. A second deadline ― fiscal cutoff ― is today, Friday, Feb. 24. It's the last day for House fiscal committees, the Senate Ways and Means, and Transportation committees to pass bills.
There are (always) exceptions: Bills considered necessary to implement the budget (NTIB) are never completely dead. They are exempt from normal cutoff rules. In fact, they sometimes (and often are) resurrected. Whether a bill is NTIB is entirely the call of the majority party, specifically the Speaker.
- Want to learn more? Click here for more information on the legislative process.
Looking ahead: For the next several days, and often late into the night, lawmakers will be busy on the House and Senate floors debating and voting on bills. This update contains information on some of my bills moving through the legislative process and other good proposals worth noting.
As the ranking member of the Capital Budget Committee, we've heard several bills impacting our state's future infrastructure and building investment plans — including my proposal to modify the Low-Income Home Rehabilitation Program.
House Bill 1250 would help rural low-income homeowners by converting a revolving loan program into a grant program.
Background: The Low-Income Home Rehabilitation Revolving Loan Program was established in 2017. The program provides deferred loans to rural, low-income households that need repairs and improvements on their primary residence for health, safety, or durability. Funding for the loan program comes from the Washington State Capital Budget.
Description: My proposal, House Bill 1250, converts the loan program into a grant program. It prioritizes homeowners who are senior citizens, persons with disabilities, families with children aged five years or younger, and veterans.
- Homeowners living at or below 80 percent of the area median income for the county in which they reside, or 60 percent of the state median income, whichever is greater ― could apply.
- The home rehabilitation grant cannot exceed 80 percent of the property's assessed value after rehabilitation or $40,000, whichever is less.
Current status: The measure has been approved by Capital Budget Committee and now awaits a vote by the House chamber.
Want to learn more?
Helping victims of crime and their families: My proposal seeks to assist the family members of homicide victims by increasing their access to mental health resources.
Background: House Bill 1501 began with an idea from a 12th District constituent whose husband was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Although the driver was charged and eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular manslaughter ― the impact on the family lingers on.
- My bill would provide 12 counseling sessions to the immediate family members of a homicide victim.
Current status: My bill was approved by the Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee and now awaits a vote by the House chamber.
Want to learn more?
Other bills to watch:
- Sales tax relief: House Bill 1000 expands the Working Families Tax Credit.
- Regional apprenticeship programs: House Bill 1013 would create a pilot program with two regional apprenticeships, one on the west side of the state and one on the east side.
- Building starter homes: House Bill 1245 would allow the splitting of lots to create more small parcels of land to build starter homes and other forms of affordable housing.
- Streamlining housing regulations: House Bill 1401 would allow cities and counties to create a simple, standardized housing permit process for affordable housing units in areas designated for housing.
- Dual credit programs: House Bill 1146, would require public schools to notify students and their parents about dual credit programs, along with financial help available to reduce the program's cost.
Calling all pages!
About the House Page Program: The page program is an excellent opportunity for students to take part in the legislative process. Students assist the House of Representatives with duties including serving on the chamber floor, making deliveries throughout campus, supporting member offices, and attending page school.
- Youth from 14 to 16 years old can take part in the program.
- Pages earn a stipend of $50 a day and can also earn up to 20 hours of community service.
- Page School supplements the hands-on learning experience with a classroom component geared toward understanding the legislative process.
How to apply: The legislative session runs for 105 days, ending on April 23, 2023. When applying, potential pages can select which weeks they are available to work.
- Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. By reducing the financial burden and raising awareness of the program, the Legislature hopes to make participation in this great educational opportunity economically feasible for more students across the state.
If you have any questions about my bills or other concerns about state government-related topics, don't hesitate to reach out to me.