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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2023 legislative session is underway after our swearing in ceremony on Monday, Jan. 9. This is the first time I’ve been able to send you an update since last May, due to election-year restrictions. It’s wonderful to be back in Olympia in-person again, representing all of you in the 17th District. I’m honored to be here, and I will continue to do everything I can in your behalf.

Make Your Voice Heard

As with any legislative session, it’s imperative that you make your voice heard. During the last two years, remote testimony was the only way to participate in our committee meetings. Fortunately, that will continue to be an option for those who can’t or don’t want to come to the capitol. For those who do want to testify in person, that is still an option. You can testify regarding any bill or other important public policy or issue that will be addressed. Just use these links to sign up:

House testimony

Senate testimony

Additionally, you are always welcome to get in touch with me personally, by using the contact info at the bottom of this update. You can also schedule an appointment to meet with me by clicking here. I am here to listen, and I value your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and questions. So please reach out to me if you would like to meet.

My Legislative Priorities

I will be focused on several issues during the 2023 legislative session, including the top priorities of the House Republican Caucus, which are reducing the cost of living, making communities safer, fixing our housing crisis, and empowering all families. We will have a lot more information about these efforts as the session progresses, so continue checking these links regularly.

I also plan to introduce several bills in 2023, including:

House Bill 1073 would ensure that medical assistants who have fulfilled all the necessary requirements and qualifications, would receive their medical assistant certification promptly. The bill also adds additional procedures medical assistants can perform when they become certified.

House Bill 1112, which received a public hearing in the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee on Monday, would allow judges, at their discretion, to impose criminal penalties for negligent driving involving the death of a vulnerable victim.

It would also create a gross misdemeanor offense of negligent driving with a vulnerable victim in the first degree. Right now, a person can get into a car, swat at a bug, and be fined $250 whether they hit a mailbox or a human. Judges need the discretion to be able to treat these cases differently.

House Bill 1113, which received a public hearing on Tuesday in the House Education Committee, would require the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to adopt rules for reviewing and vacating reprimands issued to certificated professional educators.

Currently, there is no process in place to vacate a reprimand on an educator’s certificate. This legislation provides a second chance for educators who have undertaken corrective action, especially at a time when the education system is facing a staff shortage. I’m all for accountability, but mercy should be applied once justice has been met.

I will continue to update you on the progress of these bills as session moves forward.

Additionally, our biggest task during this 105-day session is to pass a new two-year operating budget. This is always an arduous task, but fortunately, the state has plenty of budget resources to work with. Therefore, I’m hopeful we can give individuals and families some meaningful tax relief.

Committee Assignments and Leadership

I’m also happy to report I will continue to serve as the House Republican Caucus Chair after being voted in by my fellow House Republican Caucus members. I will also serve on four House committees.

Appropriations – considers the operating budget bill and related legislation; budget processes; and fiscal issues such as pension policy and compensation. The committee also considers bills with operating budget fiscal impacts.

Education – considers issues relating to kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) education.

Healthcare and Wellness – considers a broad range of issues relating to the provision of physical and behavioral health care services; long-term care; and strategies to promote better health. The committee also considers issues relating to the accessibility and affordability of health care in both the private health insurance market and public health programs such as Medicaid and the state health exchange.

Rules – considers all bills reported from policy and fiscal committees and determines whether, and in what order, to schedule their consideration on the floor of the House. The Rules Committee also reviews, adopts, and schedules consideration of floor resolutions.

Stay in Touch with Me

There are several ways you can keep up with the work of the Legislature. Here are some links that will help:

My legislative website | Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information. 
The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe. 
The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | The state’s own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
The Ledger| A legislative news aggregator.
Legislature’s website | Here you can see bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
Tracking a bill?|Click the link to find information on specific bills. In addition, when you visit my website, you can easily view the legislation I’m sponsoring or co-sponsoring by clicking Sponsored Bills.”

Thank You for Your Support!

It is truly my honor to be your representative in the 17th District. We have so many issues to tackle, but I’m ready to get to work and move things forward. Thank you for trusting me to be your voice. And again, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My door is always open.

In your service,


Paul Harris

State Representative Paul Harris, 17th Legislative District
426A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7976 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000