Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now almost two weeks into the 2020 session, but there's already a lot to talk about. But before I get into some of the details of the first two weeks, I want to pause and thank you for your sincere interest and concern for your neighborhoods and communities.
I appreciate the emails, phone calls, and the many in-person visits we had during the interim. I also want to thank those constituents who came to my “open-mic” town hall meeting earlier this month in Vancouver. Your input was very helpful, and it will play an important role in my efforts this session. I truly want to represent you in Olympia.
As you know, there are a number of important subjects we must address this year, and we only have 60 days to do it. That means reaching agreements on many of these issues will be difficult. But I'm prepared to work for the will of the people to accomplish as much as we can.
I'm co-sponsoring several bills this session, but right now, I want to focus on two, specifically, that I believe will help my constituents in the 17th District.
The first one is House Bill 2335, which is intended to help people suffering from opioid disorders. The bill would increase access to medications for those with this disorder by allowing easier and greater supply to the medication they need for treatment. This would make it possible for patients to be at work more consistently, instead of having to leave too often to receive needed medication.
Currently, it's difficult for many individuals to get off work every week to receive the necessary medication. This bill would allow for a more flexible program. It's no secret that opioid addiction is out of control. So many people suffer from this disorder, and it's not just about drug addiction.
Many people suffering from opioid disorders also suffer from mental illness and homelessness. I feel strongly that our state government needs to take action to help these individuals. This bill would be a step in the right direction to help people with this disorder stay on the path to recovery.
The second bill I want to talk about is House Bill 2378. This bill would update the scope and practice of physician assistants (PAs). It would modernize the practice of physician assistants in order to increase access to care, reduce barriers to employment of PAs, and optimize the way PAs deliver quality medical care.
This would also help create uniformity across the entire medical field. I believe that's very important because it would help entice PAs to come to our state and stay. And that's significant because more and more, physician assistants are playing an increasingly important role in our personal primary care. I strongly support both of these bills and believe they would help people throughout the state.
In addition to these two bills, there are other big issues the House Republican Caucus is working on. They include:
- $30 car-tabs
- Government transparency and accountability
- Cost of living and affordability
- Homelessness and housing
These are all important issues to people throughout the entire state. House Republicans are committed to making Washington more safe, more affordable, and more accountable. We're working on legislation that offers real solutions to the major issues affecting our state, including chronic homelessness, untreated mental illness, and substance abuse and other crimes that have made many of our communities unsafe.
The cost of living continues to rise. Everything from child care to groceries has become more expensive and families are feeling the pinch. It's become increasingly difficult for people to own or rent a home. Additionally, poor planning has led to a housing shortage, traffic congestion, and poor decisions from our state government. We need to give the people of Washington relief.
Lastly, we need to hold our elected officials more accountable for their actions. State spending has exploded to unprecedented levels and it's time for lawmakers to be responsible for their actions.
However, I understand it takes effort and compromise to achieve effective solutions. That's why I'm committed to working with my fellow members in the House Republican Caucus, as well as with representatives from the other side of the aisle, to resolve these pressing issues. We can't solve every problem in 60 days, but we can work together on common ground to build a better Washington.
As your elected representative, I believe it's important to put the will of the people first. I'm committed to listening to both sides of every issue and every bill we review. I always strive to understand the purpose of each bill, who it will affect, and how it will affect them. I will continue to work for the causes that mean the most to you to see that the people of the 17th District are heard. And of course, my goal in Olympia is to push for a better overall Washington.
Keep up with all of the “Buzz” in Olympia
There are numerous valuable resources to help you keep up with everything going on during session.
- Visit my website: You can also keep up with me at RepresentativePaulHarris.com. Check in regularly for my email updates, news releases, and bills I have sponsored.
- Legislature's website: You can also track legislation, get bill reports, view committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature. Click here: www.leg.wa.gov.
- The Ledger: This daily informative and comprehensive news aggregator is the House Republican Caucus's latest tool to keep you in tune with everything going on in Olympia and throughout the entire state. Click here: The Washington State Ledger.
- Capitol Buzz: This daily electronic clip service offers headlines and stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, television. Click here to subscribe for free.
- TVW: Tune into TVW, Washington's own version of C-Span. You can catch floor and committee action live at: www.tvw.org
House Page Program still accepting applications
There's still time to serve as a page for the 2020 legislative session. If you know a 14-to-16-year-old who is interested in this unique opportunity, please tell them to apply to the House Page Program. Pages spend a week in Olympia to attend Page School, where they assist lawmakers and staff, and get an inside look at our state Legislature. Click here to learn more.
Please continue to stay in touch
It's truly my honor to serve you in Olympia and I take that responsibility very seriously. As your state representative, it's crucial for me to hear from you. Please reach out to me to share your input so I can be the most effective voice in Olympia for you. Call my office at (360) 786-7976 or email me at Paul.Harris@leg.wa.gov. If you'd like to share your input with me personally, please contact my legislative assistant, Toni Camp, to set up an appointment.
I look forward to hearing from you!
It's my honor to serve.