The Current | February 21, 2014

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The Current

An update on your citizen Legislature • February 21, 2014

Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Letter from Leadership

Week six of the legislative session is in the books. It's hard to believe we are already two-thirds of the way through the session. Many state lawmakers are headed home for the weekend for town hall meetings (see a list of House Republican events below).

A few of my colleagues have said that this year has seemed busier than the last 60-day session in 2012. There is actually data to back that up. This chart shows how many more bills have passed the House this year compared to two years ago.

If you are interested in seeing a complete list of bills that passed both the House and Senate before house of origin cutoff Tuesday, click here. Here is an update on some of the good and bad measures that House Republicans are tracking in the House.  

There is a lot of work to be done these last few weeks. We hope you will be a part of the process. 

In your service,
Rep. Dan Kristiansen
39th District
House Republican Leader

Rep. Jeff Holy

Town hall weekend

It is town hall weekend in the Legislature. Most state lawmakers will be home the next two days and many of them will be hosting town hall meetings. Here is a list of all Washington House Republican town hall meetings.

Pictured above: Rep. Kevin Parker (left) and Rep. Jeff Holy (right) host a town hall meeting in the 6th District last year. 

In the news

"Let’s leave the two-year operating budget alone the way it was set last year and deal only with supplemental budget needs, such as unanticipated program costs and changes in caseloads."

Rep. Terry Nealey, member of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. Learn more about Wednesday's revenue forecast and its impact on the operating budget here.

TVW interviews

Four of our members sat down with Anita Kissée of TVW's The Impact Tuesday to discuss various issues. You can find the interviews and topics here: 

True American Hero

A true American hero visits us

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Captain William Swenson (right above) visited the Capitol Tuesday and was honored by the House and Senate. Rep. Dick Muri (left above) hosted Captain Swenson (right above) and presented him with House Resolution 4683 in our caucus room.

Implementing I-502

Initiative 502, passed in November 2012, established precedent for growing, processing, retailing and possessing marijuana.

The Legislature and the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) continue to work on the implementation of I-502. Here is a brief overview of the timeline moving forward: 

  • The WSLCB plans to issue growing and processing licenses in late February and early March.
  • Licenses for stores will be issued later, with expected opening dates in June.
  • The WSLCB is staying with this timeline as it continues to study a January 16 opinion by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson that says local governments can ban or restrict recreational pot businesses.

You can find a FAQ sheet on I-502 here. For updates on this issue, click here

A contrast of approaches on the economy 

If there is one issue that crystalizes the differences between House Democrats and House Republicans, it's the economy. You can find some of the economic solutions we support here

Below are bills that passed out of the House that would hurt employers and ultimately job creation. Not one House Republican voted for these measures.  

  • House Bill 2332 would increase wage violation damages in a civil suit from double damages to triple damages, and eliminate exemptions for cases involving employee wrongdoing.
  • House Bill 2333 would establish criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for violation of employee wage retaliation statutes.
  • House Bill 2334 would be a wholesale change in independent contractor laws, resulting in more workers being classified as an “employee” rather than an "independent."  

Rep. Norma Smith

Improving the state permitting process

One bright spot before cutoff was the passage of House Bill 2192, sponsored by Rep. Norma Smith (pictured above). The measure would improve the customer service state agencies provide permit applicants. Learn more here.

The week ahead

This week included a lot of House floor action on Monday and Tuesday, and primarily committee hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. Next week will include several committee hearings in both chambers. You can find a House schedule here. The week ahead schedule we produce can be found here

Media matters

One of the issues discussed during our media availability event Wednesday was the defeat of Senate Bill 5246 in the Senate. If the bill does not pass this legislative session, it could jeopardize between $38 million and $44 million in federal funding for poor and disadvantaged students in our schools. Learn more by watching the event or reading this in-depth piece from the Washington State Wire today.