Legislative Update: A Recap on Town Hall & My Bills + Working with BC Premier David Eby & More

Dear friends and neighbors,

It was such a delight to see so many of you at this past weekend’s town hall at Ferndale High School.

As I mentioned to you at our town hall, I am working every single day on SB 5352 to change our state’s police pursuits policy. This bill will provide restrictions on pursuits by allowing law enforcement officers to pursue a moving car at a high speed under certain circumstances when the risk to the public outweighs the risk of the pursuit itself.  Victims of crimes are our friends and neighbors, and when law enforcement cannot pursue those who commit crimes, our most vulnerable communities suffer the most. Please join me in supporting the work I’m doing with Democrats and Republicans in both chambers to see that this bill makes it across the finish line, and lands on Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk and gets signed into law.

Before the House of Origin cut-off on my bills this session, two of my bills had advanced to the Senate for further consideration. And, since then, I’ve had one more bill pass off the House floor! You can learn more about it in the video update below.

Please know that every bill I introduce to the Legislature is aimed at helping you. I hear from so many of you who are feeling the effects of high inflation and how this impacts your everyday lives. Our country has not experienced inflation this high since the early 1980s! Every piece of legislation I introduce is geared towards giving you the tools you need to navigate increasing costs of food, clothing, shelter, and childcare.

I also want you to know that as Vice Chair of the Innovation, Community & Economic Development, & Veterans committee, I am wholly committed to being fiscally cautious. In committee, I always often talk with other members about return on investment as we discuss policy and investments.

Earlier today, a public hearing in the House’s finance committee took place on HB 1716, a bill that will support employers providing childcare assistance to employees by establishing a B&O tax credit for businesses and require the Department of Revenue to provide a report to the Legislature. I’ll keep you posted if this continues to advance.

We are now about a month away from the end of this year’s 105-day Legislative Session. Sine die is Sunday, April 23, and there’s still a lot of work to do until then!

Video Update

Late last week, HB 1573, a bill that supports our local fish and seafood producers and local farms, passed off the House floor. Whatcom County produces some of the very best food right in our own backyards. Whether it’s summer raspberries or delicious local cheese or milk, we are lucky to enjoy these local products at a reasonable price and with convenient access, even when supply chain disruptions hit. This bill keeps our local farmers and food producers competitive across the state and international borders so that we can continue to stay affordable and sustainable. This bill is important for our farmers and fishermen, which make up much of our local economy, but also for those of us who are feeling the pinch at the grocery store. In a nutshell: not only will this bill help our farmers and food processors save money, but our working families and seniors who buy groceries and need to keep food on the table as well!

HB 1573 will extend a tax break to Washington’s dairy, fruit, vegetable and seafood producers until 2035. Click here or on the image above to learn even more.

Washington and BC are Working Together for You

Governor Jay Inslee and Lt. Governor Denny Heck with the Premier of British Columbia David Eby and guests at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia, March 13, 2023.

Last week I was invited to meet with British Columbia Premier David Eby when he was came down to meet with Gov. Jay Inslee. The purpose of the visit was to explore ways Washington and BC might formalize our work together to continue advancing our shared goals, some of which include increasing economic development opportunities, energy planning, as well as joint emergency and transportation planning. It was such a joy to spend time together, as we were reminded how much we have in common and how much we share. I look forward to the work ahead of us and thank Lt. Gov. Denny Heck for the invitation.

Some of the ways I will continue to work with Premier Eby include continued conversations in terms of economic development and emergency planning.

Everyone in Whatcom County was hit hard by COVID-19. I have spoken with so many of you about the effects of pandemic isolation and loneliness and other mental health implications, as well as how folks dealt with remote work and school; and for some: pandemic job losses.

Our 1,000 residents in Point Roberts, Wash., felt the pandemic rather acutely, as this enclave is surrounded on three sides by water and on the last side by the Tsawwassen peninsula of British Columbia. When the pandemic closed the northern border, Point Roberts was essentially cut off for more than two years. Canada opened its border in June 2022 and eased its pandemic border entry requirements just a few months later. As a result, Point Roberts is seeing signs of recovery, but many residents say it is slow and much more needs to be done. Premier Eby and I will continue to talk about this, as so many Point Roberts residents go to BC for their goods and services. We cannot afford another border closure ever again!

Let us also not forget the terrible floods of November 2021. Both the Nooksack River Valley and the Fraser River Valley (in BC) experienced massive floods not seen in over a century from an atmospheric river-type storm that saw evacuations on both sides of the border. Both Washington and BC are still working to improve upon highway infrastructure that was impacted by these floods. Premier Eby and I will also continue talks as far as planning for extreme weather and other emergencies are concerned so that we can be prepared and work together as needed.

Best wishes,