I have been spending long days, some evenings and even an all-day Saturday session on the “virtual” floor of the House, helping to pass good legislation, working to stop bad legislation — but most importantly, working across the aisle to make legislation better. The days are sometimes long — up to 17 hours at a computer screen — as we discuss and debate police reform, your Second Amendment rights, budget and taxes and our environment. It is my honor to be working for you!
Take my survey. I want to hear from you!
Our legislative session works best when the people are involved. Your calls, letters and emails are important to me, because they help me understand the concerns of our district. Another way to help is to take my survey. Click on the link below or use the QR code below to access my 2021 Legislative Priorities Survey. Please consider taking the poll and telling me about the issues important to you and your family.
Take my survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Abbarno2021Survey
You can also use your smart phone to access my survey through this QR code.
To use the QR code:
- Open your smart phone camera or QR Code app.
- Point at the code box above.
- Take the survey!
Extreme low-carbon fuel standard mandates passes, but not without a fight
My House Republican colleagues and I fought hard on the virtual House floor for more than five hours Saturday to stop, slow, and amend a very bad and expensive bill that could drive the price of gasoline up by as much as 57 cents a gallon, and diesel as high as 63 cents a gallon.
House Bill 1091 would require refineries to reduce the carbon content of their fuel or buy credits. The bill authorizes the Department of Ecology to run a program that issues deficits and credits to fuel producers to incentivize lower carbon in gasoline and diesel. That will create “winners” and “losers” in the fuel market – and significantly drive up costs. And yet, it would do very little to reduce global carbon in the environment.
House Republicans offered amendments to lessen the effects on working Washington families, timber, agriculture and other industries. Among those were two amendments I proposed:
- Amendment 136 requires the Department of Ecology, in annual reports or other public documents or communications that refer to assumed public health benefits from the Clean Fuels Program, to distinguish between pollutant reductions from the program and those reductions attributable to vehicle emission standards. The amendment was adopted, 92-1. Watch my floor remarks here.
- Amendment 134 would have required the Office of Financial Management to conduct an independent economic analysis of the mandate through 2050, including effects on employers and employment, and the equities and inequities of economic impacts. Unfortunately, the amendment was rejected, 39-53. Watch my floor remarks here.
Of the 27 proposed amendments, 12 were rejected, nine were adopted and six were withdrawn. It's my hope the bill can be stopped in the Senate, as it has in previous years.
Get more information on House Bill 1091:
Job-killing legislation fails
House Bill 1084 would have prohibited the use of natural gas in newly constructed homes and buildings, including for space heating, furnaces, water heaters, interior gas fireplaces and even back deck grills. This would have eradicated an entire industry and the jobs that industry provides. It would have also put a further strain on our electrical grid system.
My House Republican colleagues and I each spoke against the measure to advocate for consumer choice, lower heating costs and our trade workers. We also voted against it in the House Environment and Energy Committee. We received the backing of the trades industry and unions across the state in opposing this bill.
It passed out of the Environment and Energy Committee and was sent to the House Appropriations Committee. We got on the radio and did lots of media across the state to let people know about this horrible bill and the opposition grew. On the final day of fiscal cutoff, the bill was not brought up for a vote – meaning that it died in the Appropriations Committee.
It's a victory for the people of Washington. However, we are not loudly celebrating, because bad bills have a nasty habit of coming back to life when we least expect it. Instead, we are being vigilant in watching to ensure this bill does not move forward this session.
Here is a look at my bills:
- House Bill 1263 would establish a competitive grant program to support rural infrastructure projects, such as broadband, sewer, storm water, transmission, and more. The measure has received a tremendous amount of bipartisan support. It is on the House floor calendar and could come up for a vote any day now. Learn more about this bill here.
- House Bill 1540 would address the discharge of waste into storm drains and waterways, which contaminates drinking water. The measure would direct cities subject to stormwater permits to establish a program, as part of the permit process, to identify and prevent illicit discharges from vehicles. It would also encourage local governments to enact ordinances to prohibit overnight parking in certain areas and provide outreach for alternative parking locations, as well as housing resources and vital services. This bill has been referred to the House Environment and Energy Committee. Learn more about this bill here.
Ensuring vaccination access equity in the 20th District
It is unfortunate that several counties were being left behind in the governor's vaccination distribution schedule, including Lewis County, which The Chronicle reported was “dead last.” When it was called to our attention that Lewis County was not getting the vaccines it needs, my seatmates, Sen. John Braun and Rep. Ed Orcutt, joined with me to author a letter to Gov. Inslee, asking for a full accounting of the state's COVID-19 vaccination distribution.
Within 24 hours of the governor receiving our letter, the state Department of Health announced it would send an additional 2,000 doses to Lewis County.
We believe distribution of vaccine doses should be open, transparent and fair. We will continue to monitor this like watchdogs, to ensure the health and safety of all the people we represent across the 20th District.
Learn more about Rep. Abbarno
- Watch my Freshman Video
- Watch my Legislative Update Video
- Listen to Chronversations — a podcast from The Chronicle
- Listen to Capitol Report – My weekly program on KELA Radio
Be sure to stay informed and involved.
Check out my website for all the latest news and information. Also go to the Legislature's website to get bill information and remotely testify or submit comments on legislation. Although the deadline to introduce new legislation to be heard this year has passed, please continue sending me your ideas. Some of the best legislation comes from you! It is an honor to serve and represent you and our neighbors in communities across the great 20th District.