Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Due to election-year restrictions, I have been unable to send you legislative email updates before now. With the 2021 legislative session under way, I look forward to resuming my regular communication with you. Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving our communities in the Legislature. It is truly a privilege.
Monday marked the first day of this year's 105-day legislative session. Legislators convened at the Capitol to pass temporary rules that allow us to meet remotely instead of in person for the next several months. This is far from ideal, but I will make every effort to be as accessible to you as possible. I encourage you to reach out to me any time so we can work together on the most pressing issues facing our district and state. My email address is Larry.Hoff@leg.wa.gov, and my district office number is (360) 419-5592. I look forward to hearing from you.
2021 session agenda
While I am pleased we are back in session, the reality is the governor should have called a special session months ago so we could provide relief for Washington families and businesses. Instead, he decided to shut us out of the process and rule by executive order. That decision has resulted in families suffering, businesses closing, and students stuck at home staring at screens. House Republicans are looking at ways to rein in the governor's unilateral emergency powers, but our top priority is providing immediate relief for those who are struggling. We have a number of proposals on the table to do just that, including:
- Providing a B&O tax credit for businesses.
- Prohibiting increases to unemployment insurance rates.
- Using the state's rainy-day fund to deliver economic relief to working Washington families.
- Providing additional assistance to tenants and landlords.
House Republicans are also standing up for Washington families by fighting against tax increases. Once again, the governor is pushing for an income tax on capital gains. Not only would such a tax hurt small business owners and those planning for retirement, but it would also eliminate one of our state's biggest competitive advantages. The governor is also advocating for new taxes that would make health care, gasoline, and home energy more expensive. This is the wrong approach. Washingtonians deserve tax relief and a balanced budget, not punitive and unnecessary tax increases.
Another priority for our caucus is holding the state's Employment Security Department (ESD) accountable for its failures. Remember last year when ESD paid out $600 million in fake unemployment claims to an international fraud ring? That's money you are now on the hook for. Meanwhile, thousands of Washingtonians are still waiting for unemployment benefits. As the newly-appointed ranking member of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, which oversees ESD, I look forward to working across the aisle with those in the majority to ensure these mistakes never happen again. In order to restore your trust and ensure the agency is performing as expected, we must enact stricter accountability and transparency measures. The status quo simply cannot continue.
One of our other top priorities this year is protecting our communities by fully funding law enforcement, providing vital mental health services, and working to end the homelessness crisis. Unfortunately, the majority party has enabled destructive behavior and left our law enforcement professionals without needed support. House Republicans honor and respect those who serve and protect our communities. With a focus on compassion, enforcement, and accountability, we are working to keep our streets, neighborhoods, and families safe.
Staying connected this session
Although session is going to look a little different this year, there are a lot of easy ways to stay engaged. Please take a look at this document, which provides guidance on understanding the legislative process, watching coverage, providing public testimony, tracking legislation, and more.
I also encourage you to stay informed and involved this session by:
- Bookmarking my legislative website, where you can find my latest press releases, op-eds, radio interviews, and more.
- Following House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook, and sharing our posts.
- Visiting The Ledger, a legislative news aggregator that features the top stories from around the state.
- Watching TVW's “Legislative Review,” which airs nightly and gives viewers a 15-minute overview of what happened that day in the Legislature.
As I mentioned above, please don't hesitate to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns.
Until next time, stay safe and take care.