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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are in the sixth week of the legislative session. We are approaching the first cutoff date. By this Friday, February 22, all bills must be out of their respective policy committees in order to move forward in the legislative process. Bills in fiscal committees or that are considered necessary to implement the budget are not subject to the cutoff. Next week, we will have a better idea which bills are “alive” and which bills are “dead.”

Telephone Town Hall

On Monday, Feb. 25, Sen. Don Benton and I are inviting constituents in the 17th District to participate in a telephone town hall meeting. The community conversation begins at 6:30 p.m. and will last one hour. To participate, residents may call 1-877-229-8493 toll-free and enter the code 17528 when prompted. Once on the line, you may select *3 on their telephone keypads to ask a question or you can simply listen in and take part in instant polls. We have had a variety of issues before us this session, so we will have an opportunity to discuss many topics.

School safety and firearms legislation

The issue getting the most attention in Olympia this session is school safety and gun legislation. We all want to make sure our children are safe when they go to school. We also want to make sure our families are safe in their homes, at their workplaces and in their communities. As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, that right must be protected. Let me repeat, I will not support any measure that infringes on our Second Amendment rights. Let’s prosecute those who are committing crimes with guns rather than consider more legislation that would restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens. We must also consider the mental health component of this issue as we move forward. It is difficult to predict what may happen with school safety and firearms legislation this session, but I can assure you we will be following it closely. We should know more after the cutoff date.

Job and economyRep. Harris and other legislators sing on National Guard Day in the House

We want to hear from you. Click here and vote on our poll to tell us what you think will help get Washington working.

We all know that government cannot create jobs…or at least private-sector jobs that we expect to be self-sustaining. However, it is well within the Legislature’s ability to provide stability and certainty for our state’s economy. We can rein in state agency rules and regulations and streamline licensing and permitting. Making hydropower renewable keeps our power rates low, and even implementing a 2/3’s majority requirement for tax increases gives businesses some breathing room knowing that the government will be hard-pressed to raise taxes on their business if the 2/3’s requirement is in place. Our caucus is proposing legislation to address these issues and a few more.

Job Creation Agenda

1) Regulatory Freedom and Accountability Act (HB 1163 – Taylor) – Would save taxpayer dollars by streamlining government operations, ending duplicative state services and targeting government waste.

2) Improve customer service for job creators (HB’s 1403 & 1757 – Smith) – requires the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to provide the Legislature with a plan for establishing performance benchmarks, and for measuring the results of implementing a one-stop portal.

3) Suspend GMA requirements in counties with significant and persistent unemployment (HB 1619 – Short) – Alleviate the cost and encumbrance of controlling growth when none is occurring and when those regulations stand in the way of badly needed economic development.

4) Require permit decisions in 90 days (HB 1236 – Pike) – Require agencies to make permit decisions in 90 days or the permit is granted. This would add certainty and eliminate unnecessary delays in permit decisions in order to stimulate economic activity. Let’s free up those who are ready to put people to work.

5) Moratorium on rulemaking (HB 1478 – Orcutt) – Would impose a moratorium on formal and informal rule-making by state agencies, except in certain specified instances, to last for three years or until the state is no longer facing financial deficits. We support the previous governor’s decision to suspend unnecessary rulemaking and would extend the moratorium for three years or until state revenue growth shows evidence of economic recovery.

6) Establishes the Regulatory Fairness Act of 2013 (HB 1162 – Overstreet) – Would require an agency to determine whether compliance of a rule will result in a specified economic impact and, if the agency determines that a rule will result in a specified economic impact, it must provide notification and may not enforce until the Legislature enacts the law.

7) Reclassify hydropower as renewable energy (HJR 4200 – Haler) – Proposes an amendment to the state Constitution to require hydroelectric generation be recognized as a renewable resource. Let’s recapture our state’s competitive advantage of offering abundant, affordable, clean energy for manufacturers and consumers.

8) Legislative approval of certain agency rules (HJR 4204 – Manweller) – A Constitutional amendment to require certain agency rules to gain legislative approval.

9) A 2/3’s requirement by Legislature (HJR 4206 – Orcutt) – Would propose an amendment to the state Constitution to place restrictions on tax increases.

You can find out more by clicking on: Our Solutions – Jobs and Economy.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions about legislation, an issue with a state agency or the teleforum on Monday.


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