This Saturday, Rep. Dave Paul and I will be hosting town hall meetings in Coupeville and Stanwood. During the 90-minute meetings, we'll be providing an update on the 2019 session and answering questions from constituents.
Details are as follows:
WhidbeyHealth Medical Center
101 N Main St, Coupeville, WA
Stanwood High School
7400 272nd St NW, Stanwood, WA
We're at a critical point in the session, so I invite you to join us on Saturday and share your perspective about the key issues before us in the Legislature. If you're unable to make it, please know you can always give me a call at (360) 786-7884 or send me an email with your ideas, questions or concerns. I always look forward to your feedback, as it helps me better serve you and bring your interests to the forefront.
House of Origin Cutoff arrives
Last Wednesday marked House of Origin cutoff, which means all bills that did not advance out of the chamber in which they were introduced are now considered dead until next session. The only exception to this are bills deemed necessary to implement the budget, or NTIB.
Below are five good bills that survived cutoff and are still making their way through the legislative process:
- House Bill 1231 would end the statute of limitations for sex crimes involving children, while extending it for several other sex crimes.
- House Bill 1448 would establish the “Veteran Service Officer Program,” which would fund a full-time position for veteran services in rural counties.
- House Bill 1799 would authorize the creation of a short form death certificate that would keep sensitive personal information, such as a decedent's Social Security number, out of the public domain.
- House Bill 1836 would prohibit courts from waiving, reducing or suspending certain fees and fines charged to those convicted of sexual exploitation of children.
- House Bill 1919 would expand existing state law against animal blood fighting to include stealing an animal for fighting, and possessing, transferring, manufacturing or engaging in activities relating to animal fighting paraphernalia.
Unfortunately, there were also a number of bills that made it through the House that I believe will have serious consequences for you and your family, as well as for all other families in rural Washington. For example, House Bill 1110, which was approved after an intense three-hour floor debate, would impose a low carbon fuel standard. This would increase the price of gas and the cost of goods for all Washingtonians, but especially for families in rural communities who drive long distances for school, work, and the other activities of daily life. For that reason, I could not support it. While I agree we need to reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment, there are more effective and cheaper mechanisms than a low carbon fuel standard to achieve these goals.
Washington's presidential primary moved from May to March
Last week, the governor signed Senate Bill 5273 into law, which will move Washington's presidential primary from late May to early March. While I am in favor of that change, I could not support the bill when it came to the House floor because it maintains a system that requires voters to declare a party affiliation in order to participate.
Unaffiliated voters don't want to simply fall in line and check a box in order to vote in the primary. They want to remain independent and still have their voices heard. I stand with them, as do my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus. We introduced our own bill and an amendment to SB 5273 that would have ensured voters could remain unaffiliated and still participate in the primary. Unfortunately, our efforts were defeated.
It is my hope members on both sides can come together in a future session and address our flawed system. No one should be forced to sacrifice their principles in order to cast a ballot.
As I mentioned above, please feel free to reach out to me any time as we make our way through session. My phone number is (360) 786-7884, and my email address is Norma.Smith@leg.wa.gov.
It is an honor to serve you.