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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I recently sent out a “vaccine mandate” survey via an email update similar to this one. Over 750 of you responded. Here are the results:
Do you support vaccine mandates for all K-12 teachers and school employees?
YES = 37%
NO = 63%
Do you support vaccine mandates for all state employees?
YES = 36%
NO = 64%
Do you support vaccine mandates for all healthcare workers and first responders like firefighters, ambulance, and emergency medical technicians?
YES = 38%
NO = 62%
Do you support mask mandates for all K-12 students?
YES = 38%
NO = 62%
Do you support mask mandates for all businesses and public indoor space?
YES = 39%
NO = 61%
Should Gov. Jay Inslee's emergency powers be reformed and limited?
YES = 67%
NO = 33%
Should the Legislature call a special session to address and reform the governor's emergency powers?
YES = 65%
NO = 35%
Is there anything else you'd like me to know? (More than 500 of you answered this question. Below are just a few samples.)
“Get a more traditional vaccine technology approved and more will get vaccinated willingly.”
“For the love of God make it stop. US = Liberty, not dictatorship.”
“It has been said before…the governor has TOO MUCH POWER!”
“We the taxpayers are paying the salaries of these state employees. They are crybaby snowflakes that need to be fired. Get rid of these lowlifes. Yes without question medical employees MUST be vaccinated. Let's not coddle these CRYBABIES!”
“Get the shot or don't get the shot BUT let it be your choice.”
“There needs to be provision provided for those who have COVID and have natural immunities. It is very frustrating to hear 'follow the science' and yet see the science completely ignored in this situation – it makes you wonder what the hidden agenda is in 'vaccine mandates.'”
“I work in health care and am disgusted with the power grab of the current governor. This is not about the virus but the vax. Choice is key. The many of us that have had COVID are far safer than those vaccinated per the current science. But yet us non vaxed are ostracized. Grr. This is way more about the vax than the virus. Truly politicized.”
“The media should also be held accountable for the unnecessary panic they've put the entire world through. The constant propaganda is brainwashing everyone.”
Thank you to all who participated in my survey. Your thoughts and opinions matter to me. Your comments are invaluable as I have discussions with my legislative colleagues. As you can see, we have a very diverse district with various opinions. Please know that I will always listen to you and try my best to represent you. We may not always agree on every issue, but I do take your input to heart when making legislative decisions.
In addition, for those of you interested in reforming the governor's emergency powers, you can visit this website to see what we've done thus far: “What are House Republicans doing to reform the governor's emergency powers?” You can also read a recent op-ed I wrote for The Spokesman-Review with my 6th Legislative District seatmates, Rep. Mike Volz and Sen. Jeff Holy, here.
You can also click here to listen to my appearance on the Jason Rantz show where I express my concern over firing unvaccinated workers.
2022 Legislative Session
The 2022 legislative session starts on Monday, Jan. 10. Similar to last session, the majority party in Olympia has decided it will be a mostly remote session with online committee hearings, very few staff, and not much public access. Only legislators who have attested to their vaccine status or those who agree to undergo regular testing may access their offices on the Capitol Campus. While I'm disappointed in this decision, there are still ways for you to stay involved in YOUR state government. To testify remotely in the House or Senate, click here. In addition:
- My legislative website: You will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- How you can be involved in the legislative process: This includes a citizen's guide to effective legislative participation.
- TVW: The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- The Ledger: A legislative news aggregator that is updated frequently.
- Capitol Buzz: Sent out each weekday, featuring stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, and television.
It's time for tax relief!
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) recently adopted the November revenue forecast which increased state revenue projections by nearly $2 billion over the next four years. This has created a substantial operating budget surplus as Washington taxpayers continue to send tax dollars to Olympia at a record pace. The state is now projecting a four-year surplus of $8.8 billion plus along with $1.2 billion in unspent federal stimulus funds.
Much of this surplus is due to massive tax increases passed by Democrats here in this state. You can see a list of these recent tax increases here.
I believe it is time for the state to give some of its excess back to the citizens – the TAXPAYERS – of this state. If we allow the majority party to create new entitlement programs and spend all of the surplus, what happens when we return to normal revenue collections? Or even experience a slight dip in the economy? The state will have committed to spending at unsustainable levels. This will lead to broken promises or higher taxes to make up the difference.
With average families experiencing high inflation costs, they are paying more at the pump, more to heat their homes, and more to put food on the table. It's time we take a look at significant property tax relief. This is something I'll be fighting for during the 2022 legislative session.
Other important issues
The new long-term care tax for all Washington employees goes into effect Jan. 1. Only those who have a state-approved long-term care insurance plan can opt out. I anticipate legislation to repeal this tax or to help address some of its shortcomings. The original bill passed in 2019 with no Republican support. To learn more about this plan, why it may not be right for you, and what Republicans are doing about it, click here.
Several police reform bills passed last session. Even many of the Democrat cosponsors of these bills admit to serious problems with these bills as they have made many communities less safe as violent crime skyrockets around the state. To learn more about these bills, click here.
Across the nation, we are seeing fuel prices continue to rise. There are several factors involved, including refining capabilities and supply chain issues. But here in Washington, the governor's regressive “cap and tax” and “low carbon fuel standard” legislation is having – and will continue to have – an impact on rising fuel costs. You can learn more here.
As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read my email update. Please feel free to contact my office with your thoughts and concerns regarding state issues or potential legislation. Many of the best ideas for bills come directly from constituents who see a problem and come up with a solution! Your voice matters! Please stay engaged in the legislative process and thank you for allowing me to serve you in the state Legislature.
435 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(509) 960-5393 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000