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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

While I had hoped the Capitol would be open to the public this session, we are once again operating in a remote environment due to the pandemic. While far from ideal, I will continue doing everything I can to be available and accessible to you throughout session. Please feel free to contact our office anytime by emailing Larry.Hoff@leg.wa.gov or calling (360) 419-5592.

Before I get to a rundown of the major bills House Republicans have introduced this session, I want to invite you to take this seven-question survey that asks you to weigh in on a number of important items. The seven questions are:

  1. What issue area do you believe the Legislature's focus should be during the remaining weeks of the 2022 legislative session?
  2. Do you agree with the Legislature delaying the long-term care program and payroll tax until 2023, or do you believe the program and tax should be repealed?
  3. Do you believe the Legislature should pass emergency powers reform this session to restore the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of state government?
  4. Do you support a state income tax?
  5. Do you believe the Legislature should provide tax relief this session?
  6. What is the most significant financial challenge your family faces on a monthly basis?
  7. Do you have any legislative ideas you wish to share with me?

Thank you in advance for your responses. I will read them all.

House Republican priorities this session

From day one of session, House Republicans have been focused on fixing problems created or left unaddressed in past sessions. We are working hard to advance bills that provide tax relief and make life more affordable, make communities across Washington safer, hold state government accountable, and empower parents to help their children succeed in school and in life. For an overview of our bills that fit within these four main priorities, read on.

Providing tax relief and making life more affordable for all Washingtonians

Due to tax collections remaining strong, the Legislature entered the 2022 session with a four-year budget surplus of around $10 billion. House Republicans believe we should use that surplus to provide meaningful tax relief for you and your family, and have been urging the majority to join with us in that effort.

We have also been focused on doing everything we can to make daily life more affordable. We know how unpopular the majority's long-term care program and payroll tax is, in addition to being insolvent and ineffective. Earlier this session, we attempted to repeal the program and tax through House Bill 1594. We also introduced a bill, House Bill 1913, that would have repealed and replaced the program and tax with an affordable and optional alternative. Both of these bills were dismissed by the majority, which subsequently passed an 18-month delay that was signed into law by the governor last week. Every member of the House Republican Caucus believes long-term care insurance is important, but we do not believe coverage should be mandated by the state.

House Republican solutions:

House Bill 1898: Reducing state property tax levies

Returns $2 billion back to taxpayers through a reduction and rebasing of the state levy from overcollections from 2018-2022, occurring because property values have risen much faster than anticipated when legislation was passed in 2017. If House Bill 1898 is not adopted, an additional $3 billion in overcollection will occur between 2023-2027.

House Bill 1594: Repealing the long-term care trust act and payroll tax

Repeals the payroll tax and wholly inadequate and insolvent benefit from the Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Trust Act.

House Bill 1913: Repealing and replacing the long-term care trust and payroll tax

Repeals the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Act and associated payroll tax, replacing it with a privately-managed program that leverages the state's existing revenue to make long-term care coverage both affordable and optional.

House Bill 2015: Expanding the Working Families Tax Credit

Expands and enhances the Working Families Tax Credit by expanding income eligibility, doubling the base payment, and increasing the minimum benefit for working families with children.

House Bill 1858: Reducing manufacturing tax rates

Lowers Washington's main business tax rate for manufacturing and trucking by 40% and extends and expands an existing tax preference for food processing.

Strengthening communities by making public safety a priority and supporting effective community policing

It is critical for the Legislature to fix the deeply flawed police reform bills that were passed by the majority and signed into law by the governor last year. These bills have created enormous confusion for our men and women in law enforcement, made volatile situations more dangerous, and allowed criminals to escape justice. While I believe we must hold law enforcement personnel to the highest possible standard as they serve and protect our communities, I have never and will never support policies that make it harder for them to do their jobs effectively.

We also need to think about the damage these bills are doing to our recruitment and retention efforts. Washington already ranks last in the nation in terms of the number of police officers per thousand people in our state. It's been that way for 11 consecutive years. If we continue adopting laws that hinder their efforts to take dangerous people off the streets and keep our communities safe, we will continue losing them to other professions. We can't afford for that to happen, which is why House Republicans have introduced a number of bills this session to fix the majority's misguided laws and support law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

House Republican solutions:

House Bill 1737: Restoring balance and common sense to police reform

Rolls back a number of harmful provisions passed in last year's “police reform” bills, restoring tactics and tools to help police bring criminals to justice and help keep communities safe.

House Bill 1788: Allowing law enforcement to chase suspects

Eliminates the disastrous probable cause requirement for vehicular chases of criminal suspects, allowing peace officers to engage in a vehicular pursuit, when there is reasonable suspicion a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a criminal offense.

House Bill 1787: Putting more police officers on the streets

Provides funding for signing bonuses, retention bonuses, body cameras for local agencies, and additional Criminal Justice Training Commission classes to get officers trained and ready more quickly.

House Bill 1656: Protecting our retailers from theft

In Washington, it is not against the law to hide stolen retail goods under one's clothing. This bill amends the definition of theft to include the concealment of the property of another when the intent is to deprive the other person of its use or benefit.

House Bill 1873: Stopping catalytic converter thefts

Requires that catalytic converters be added to the list of items for which sales records must be kept by scrap metal dealers, prohibits the sale of catalytic converters by anyone other than a commercial enterprise or the private owner of the vehicle, and increases the seriousness of repeated offenses.

Holding state government accountable, improving outcomes, and enacting emergency powers reform

The governor and his appointees have overseen a growing number of failures, including:

  • A homelessness crisis that has only gotten worse.
  • A child care affordability and accessibility crisis.
  • A bottom 10 ranking in housing affordability.
  • Drug overdose deaths at an all-time high.
  • Violent crime at a 25-year high.
  • Heartbreaking outcomes for children in our foster care system.
  • 2.7 million acres of unhealthy forests, which contribute to catastrophic wildfires.
  • Significant cost overruns for transportation projects.
  • The decertification of Western State Hospital, which led to a loss of federal funding.

Many of these failures have had devastating consequences. Not only are we working to hold the governor and his agencies accountable for them, but we also continue introducing solutions that would improve outcomes. All we need is for the majority to join with us in getting these solutions to the governor's desk.

House Republicans also remain focused on restoring the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches. While it's important for the governor to have emergency powers in certain circumstances, those powers must have limits. It is unacceptable for anyone in state government to have indefinite unilateral authority to change lives and livelihoods on a whim. I was glad to see the majority give Rep. Chris Corry's emergency powers reform bill (HB 1772) a hearing on Monday, though I wish they were advancing it out of committee.

House Republican solutions:

House Bill 1772: Adopting emergency powers reform

Modeled after a variety of emergency powers statutes utilized in almost every state in the nation, this bill increases legislative involvement during states of emergency, allowing for legislative oversight on states of emergency that last longer than 60 days.

House Bill 1541: Increasing funding to cities for homelessness solutions

Provides $200 million per year to cities to combat homelessness, provided they ban injection sites and clean up encampments near schools and parks.

House Bill 1177: Implementing the periodic review of state spending programs

Requires every new state spending program that meets certain criteria to include an expiration date, performance statement, and data requirements to measure the effectiveness of the program.

House Bill 1178: Improving state budgeting through zero-based budget reviews

Requires agencies to regularly “zero-base” their budgets to better prioritize spending, and then submit that analysis to the governor and Legislature. This bill would help constrain the growth of government and improve outcomes.

Transportation solutions: Reprioritizing Existing Appropriations for Longevity (REAL) Act

A suite of bills to make Washington's transportation system safer and function better for travelers. Instead of raising taxes, these bills reprioritize our current budget surplus to pay for transportation projects.

Empowering parents by providing transparency and the necessary financial and educational flexibility to help their children succeed in school and in life

Parents matter, which is why we are focused on empowering them to become more involved in their children's education. We believe they have a right to know what is being taught in the classroom, and that they deserve the financial and educational flexibility necessary to help their children succeed throughout their educational journey.

House Republican solutions:

House Bill 1536: Establishing regional apprenticeship programs through ESDs

Requires each educational service district to establish two apprenticeship programs for high school students in different industries based on input from local programs and industries. Each ESD will have two FTEs to help implement this program.

House Bill 1633: Promoting school choice through the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program

Establishes an educational scholarship program of $10,000 for 100,000 homeschooled and private school students to cover costs associated with alternative education such as books and learning materials, transportation, and tuition fees.

House Bill 2042: Establishing an education scholarship program to promote equity

Establishes a homeschool and private school voucher program of $7,000 for 130,000 students to cover costs associated with alternative education. One quarter of these scholarships would be awarded to students within special populations, such as students experiencing homelessness.

House Bill 1973: Requiring school board meetings to be recorded

Requires regular and special meetings of school boards to be recorded and must include the comments of the board and members of the public if testimony was taken at the meeting. Recordings must be provided to the public upon request.

House Bill 2056: Increasing transparency in the classroom

Requires teachers to make syllabi and primary materials available on the school district's website to promote transparency in our public school system.

Staying engaged and contacting me

I hope you'll stay engaged in the legislative process throughout session. You can follow House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook, visit The Ledger (our daily legislative news aggregator), sign up for caucus text alerts, and utilize the resources listed in this document. You can also bookmark my legislative website, which features my latest communications.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with your comments, questions, concerns, or ideas for legislation. My email address is Larry.Hoff@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 419-5592.

It is an honor to serve you.

Sincerely,


Larry Hoff

State Representative Larry Hoff, 18th Legislative District
RepresentativeLarryHoff.com
406 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
larry.hoff@leg.wa.gov
(360) 419-5592 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000