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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2023 session is in full swing, and we have already entered month two. I hope this update finds you safe and well. I want you to know I’m working hard on your behalf for real solutions for the toughest challenges we face in Washington. Thank you for your continued support. I enjoy speaking with you and hearing your input on the things that matter the most to you.

Please Share Your Input by Taking Our Survey

Speaking of hearing from you, as we continue to progress through the 2023 session, I want to know what’s on your mind. What issues really matter to you? What do you think the Legislature should be focused on? Which policies do you support or oppose?

Please make your voice heard by taking the 17th District legislative priorities survey. Click here to share your input. I plan to share some results from this survey in a future update.

17th District Reps. Kevin Waters and Paul Harris

And if you would like to meet with me in-person, or discuss any issues further, please contact me using one of the methods listed at the bottom of this email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Update on My Legislation

I’ve been working on several pieces of legislation early on this session. I’m happy to report these are currently moving in the right direction. Here’s a roundup.

House Bill 1112, which is one of the most important pieces of legislation to me this year, would allow judges to impose criminal penalties for negligent driving involving the death of a vulnerable victim. It would allow for a person to be found guilty of an offense when he or she operates a vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers, or is likely to endanger, any person or property and causes the death of someone using a public way.

I introduced this legislation last year because a constituent came to me with a tragic story. He lost his daughter in a freak accident. The driver claimed to be swatting at a bug when he ran over this young woman. He simply paid a fine and walked away. That must change. After passing out of the Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee, this bill has been referred to the House Transportation Committee for further consideration.

House Bill 1113 would require the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to adopt rules for reviewing and vacating reprimands issued to certificated professional educators that did not involve a student. Currently, there is no process in place to vacate a reprimand on an educator’s certificate. I’m happy to see this bill move forward because I believe in redemption.

Some teachers with reprimands are outstanding educators and they will likely never repeat the offending unprofessional conduct. This policy does not include teachers with reprimands involving students. But educators with minor infractions should be given an opportunity to clear their record.

This bill unanimously passed the House on Monday and now heads to the Senate.

House Bill 1497, which would increase the monetary penalties for the sale of tobacco or vapor products to minors, is scheduled for a vote in the House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee on Feb. 9. You can click here to watch the proceedings. Too many minors are still getting ahold of these hazardous products. I feel strongly we need to do whatever we can to prevent stores from selling these products to minors.

If the bill becomes law, a person who sells any cigar, cigarette, cigarette paper or wrapper, tobacco in any form, or a vaping product, or gives, to any person under the age of twenty-one years would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. I’m concerned for our kids’ health. These are dangerous products, and we need to make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands.

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. It is currently waiting for a vote by the entire House of Representatives.

Bipartisan Housing Bills That Will Make a Difference

One of the most complex issues we are working on this session is the state’s housing crisis, which is directly related to our homelessness crisis. The good news is there is bipartisan cooperation to find real solutions. In fact, legislators from all four corners of the Legislature joined forces last week to outline plans to increase affordable housing options in Washington. Click on the image below to see that press conference.

These are some of the bipartisan bills we have already introduced that would provide real relief to home seekers and more development opportunities for builders.

  • House Bill 1293, would streamline regulations and the permitting process for housing development in urban growth areas.
  • House Bill 1401 would simplify the permitting process for building a variety of home types.
  • House Bill 1402 would provide new ways for local governments to welcome more housing development.
  • House Bill 1245 would increase housing options through lot splitting.
  • House Bill 1110 would increase middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing.

In addition to these bills, the bipartisan group of lawmakers announced several other bills they are working on during their press conference. Click here to see the entire list.

As we continue working together in all four corners, we can create and pass legislation that will truly have a positive impact on everyone in Washington.

Thank You and Please Stay in Touch

Thank you so much for allowing me to serve you in Olympia. I’m working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to find solutions for you. Please continue reaching out to me as this session progresses. I’m honored to represent you in the 17th District and truly want to be your voice in the Legislature. My door is always open so please continue to contact me via phone or email. You can also set up a personal meeting with me via Zoom, by clicking here.

It’s an honor to serve,


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