Dear friends and neighbors,
We officially entered fall this week, and it certainly feels like it. Leaves are changing colors and falling from the trees, the air more crisp, and the sun sets a little earlier each evening. Whether you love fall or hate it, it is definitely a season of change.
Preparations for the next legislative session get fully underway in the fall. In the House, we are planning for Committee Assembly Days in November, when legislative committees will meet to discuss issues likely to come before the Legislature next year. You can find out when these public meetings will happen and sign up for committee email notifications on this page.
I know many of you are wondering if the 2022 legislative session will be held in person, remotely, or in some hybrid fashion.
My preference – and I think every legislator’s preference – is that we can all be together in Olympia, in-person. If we are able to do that, it will mean that COVID-19 is under control and the capitol campus is safe for the public, staff, and lawmakers to return.
The 2021 session was an enormously productive one despite having been held remotely, with historic public engagement through remote testimony options and not a single case of COVID traced to the work of the Legislature. All along, state and local public health guidance have driven the decision making about how to conduct session, and that will continue to be the case heading into 2022.
The good news is now the infrastructure exists to have an effective, transparent legislative session even if we have to be remote or partially remote.
That said, I hope people continue to get vaccinated, mask up, and take every precaution to stop the spread of the virus in our communities. If we all do our part, we can get back to normal operations sooner and safely.
It’s too early to know for sure how things will look in January, but I will keep you informed about plans for the 2022 session in these newsletters and on my legislative Facebook page.
You are invited: A town hall on rebalancing & modernizing our state’s tax code
Over the past two years, the Tax Structure Work Group has held listening sessions and conducted robust analysis to find out how the Legislature can create a more equitable, transparent, and stable tax code.
Washington’s current tax structure places a heavier burden on working families and small businesses than those at the very top of the income bracket and relies on sales, property, and other excise taxes to fund schools, public health, and other vital services. It’s fundamentally inequitable, but there are ways to change it.
The Tax Structure Work Group is inviting taxpayers to explore several scenarios to change the state’s tax structure, and this is your opportunity to weigh in. How do you think the state can better provide vital state services like schools and public health through an improved tax code?
Virtual “Tax Town Halls” are taking place this fall. These 90-minute interactive listening and sharing sessions provide opportunities to share your thoughts and ideas with your neighbors, local businesses, elected officials, and extended community. All taxpayers are welcome – you don’t need to be an accountant or tax expert to participate! The sessions will be conducted remotely on Zoom – if you have any questions or accessibility concerns please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live or work in the 27th Legislative District, I hope you’ll join one of the two virtual Tax Town Halls on Wednesday, November 3rd for folks in our region. There’s an afternoon session from 2:30-4:00 PM, and an evening session from 6:30-8:00 PM. I’ll be listening to your comments during the evening session that day.
You can register for the town hall online here or via the South/East Puget Sound Tax Town Hall Facebook event.
Thank you, Sen. Darneille
This week, my friend and 27th District seatmate, Sen. Jeannie Darneille, announced her retirement from the Legislature.
Sen. Darneille has served our district for over two decades, first in the state House, and since 2013 in the state Senate, where she chairs the Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee.
She has had an incredible impact during her legislative career, championing policies that have made our state safer for all people, and helping countless individuals live fulfilling lives and contribute in many positive ways to our communities. She leaves a lasting and inspiring legacy as a legislator. You can read my statement about her retirement here.
Please join me in wishing Sen. Darneille well as she transitions to her new role as Assistant Secretary — Women’s Prison Division for the Department of Corrections.
As the days get shorter and the temperatures cooler, I hope you and your loved ones have a safe and healthy fall. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your feedback, questions, or concerns. It’s an honor to represent you.