New year, new legislative session -- virtually

Legislative update from Olympia

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Dear Neighbor,

As we begin a new year and legislative session, I wanted to thank you for the honor of representing you in the Washington State Senate. 2020 was an extremely difficult year for all of us and the fact that you have entrusted me to be your voice in Olympia during these trying times is greatly appreciated.

Though this session will be unlike any other, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring a balanced approach to pending legislation. Behavioral Health continues to be a primary focus for me as the need for additional services across our state keeps growing. That’s why I’ve sponsored Senate Bill 5074, which would expand on a successful pilot program that allows some fire stations to serve as safe fire stations. These safe fire stations provide an alternative to emergency rooms where individuals can go to receive services like substance abuse treatment, medical attention and peer support, as well as connections to community resources. Having these safe fire stations in place will not replace emergency rooms but will serve communities as an additional option for people experiencing behavioral health issues.

Please remember that I am here to serve you. Although we may not be able to meet face to face, I encourage you to reach out to my office and to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns on matters of importance to you. And please, if you don’t already, follow me on Facebook. My contact information can be found on the right sidebar. Now, more than ever, it is vital that you are connected with the decisions being made in Olympia. I look forward to hearing from you.






1st day 2021

New role in 2021

I am pleased to announce that I have been selected by my colleagues to serve as the Senate Republican Whip – a position that assists with vote counts and member assignments. In addition to being elected to leadership, I also serve on the following committees:

  • Behavioral Health, Ranking Republican
  • Law and Justice
  • Ways and Means

When the legislature convened Monday, my role as the Senate Republican Whip kicked into high gear. Currently, only 15 senators are allowed on the Senate floor at a time and as Whip, I informed my Republican colleagues when they were needed on the floor for testimony and excused members when they were unable to be present. I also assisted members who were having internet and connectivity problems under our new “virtual” voting and testimony rules.  

The majority party passed new senate rules requiring the 2021 legislative session be almost entirely virtual. While I understand the need for caution in a COVID environment, I supported an amendment from Senator Shelly Short that would have allowed the public the option of participating in the legislative process either virtually or in-person as long as appropriate  safety protocols are followed. Under current restrictions, we can go to the grocery store, barber shop and doctor’s office; why should your participation in the legislative process be restricted?  I feel having free and open access to your government is also “essential.” Unfortunately, the majority party disagreed and the amendment failed.

Also during the opening session, Senator Doug Ericksen brought Senate Concurrent Resolution 8400 to the floor, which would have called the Legislature into an emergency 30-day session to specifically address COVID-19 and the economic crisis brought on by the state-ordered closures of thousands of businesses statewide. Unfortunately, this measure did not pass on day one, but it is making its way through the legislature. If you would like to see this resolution reach the Senate floor for a vote, contact members of the Senate State Government & Elections Committee and request they hold a hearing on this piece of legislation.


access democracy video

Your access to lawmakers is limited this year due to the virtual session. Click on the video above to learn how you can participate in your state goverment

January 15, 2021



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Phone: 360-545-2820.


Capital Gains tax not necessary

I have received many emails from you regarding the possibility of a capital gains tax. Unfortunately, this year, at the request of Governor Inslee, Senate Bill 5096  was introduced which would impose a 9% tax on the selling of long-term capital assets, or on receiving Washington capital gains beginning January 1, 2022. As co-chair of the Washington Tax Structure Work Group, I am disappointed this bill is being advanced before we have finished our public engagement or agreed upon recommendations. State spending has increased 40% in the last two budget cycles and the governor is asking for more.  More taxes, particularly when our citizens and businesses are struggling to survive is not the answer; we must focus on funding our priorities – such as the most vulnerable and essential services – while also curbing state spending.