Policy committee cutoff

2019 legislative session • February 22, 2019 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

This week began with the return of our colleague Rep. Bill Jenkin, who suffered a heart attack on January 25. His recovery is going well and we are so happy to have him back.

Policy committee cutoff

Week six of the legislative session has come to a close. Today was policy committee cutoff -- the House's first deadline. A lot of bills died today, which in some cases is good and in other cases is bad. 

We will work with our Policy team in the next few days to assess the committee landscape and provide you more information on which bills survived and died. Please stay tuned.  

The week ahead

Our next deadline is fiscal committee cutoff on March 1. This means any bill that has a fiscal impact must pass out of its respective fiscal committee or it is considered dead. The exception to the rule are bills necessary to implement the state budgets. The House fiscal committees are: Appropriations, Capital, Finance and Transportation. These committees will be busy next week.

You can go to this document to find out what will be happening in House committees next week.

Weekly video update

I taped my weekly video update this morning and discussed the budget, the bad independent contractor bill and other legislation that has been in the news. We will post the video to social media later today. Please consider sharing it with anyone you think might be interested.

Have a great weekend.


Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7912

Monday's floor action

Monday was a special day on the House floor with the presence of several children, family members and other special guests to honor Presidents' Day, Children's Day and Black History Month.

Two of our freshmen, Reps. Skyler Rude and Chris Corry, provided floor speeches and did a great job. We also asked some of our members to identify their favorite president and why. You can watch their responses in this short video

Democrats try again to establish a regressive low carbon fuel standard

The governor and Democrats in the Legislature are again trying to establish a regressive low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) despite a bipartisan agreement from four years ago to not do one as part of the 11.9 cent gas-tax increase.   

House Bill 1110 would direct the Department of Ecology to adopt, by rule, standards to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel energy in transportation fuels over time. This would follow California's model.

The California Energy Commission reported that 13.3 cents has been added to a gallon of gasoline due to its program. This number is expected to grow as the program is fully implemented in the years to come. 

Many Washingtonians cannot afford to pay more at the pump and for the increased costs of products that would result from this program. It would be especially difficult for those on fixed incomes and those who have to commute long distances to work.

In addition to being regressive, this program would also:

  • lack transparency; 
  • not significantly improve our environment; and
  • not generate any new funding for transportation infrastructure.

House Bill 1110 has passed two House committees with no Republican support. The measure was heard in the House Appropriations Committee yesterday because the new program would cost $1.8 million to administer. 

The companion for the House legislation is Senate Bill 5412.

A big step toward a government-run health care system

Many Democrats in Washington, DC and Olympia are proposing legislation that would give government greater control of our health care system. On January 8, Governor Inslee announced a new proposal that would require the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (exchange) to develop standardized health plans.  

Democrats put this proposal into legislation in the form of House Bill 1523 and Senate Bill 5526. The bills would expressly limit choice over time in favor of one-size-fits-all plans meeting specific government requirements.

We also believe these measures would:

  • result in providers leaving networks and shifting the cost of health care to self-funded plans;
  • make health care for many Washingtonians more expensive; and
  • destabilize the marketplace.

House Bill 1523 passed out of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee with no Republican support. Democrats rejected our amendment that, among other things, would have preserved choice in the exchange. The measure is now in the House Appropriations Committee

Our health care lead, Rep. Joe Schmick, did a nice job of explaining our concerns with the legislation in this video

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