As we wrap up week five of the 2023 legislative session, we are approaching the Feb. 17 policy committee cutoff. That’s the deadline for policy bills to pass out of committee in the chamber (House or Senate) where they were introduced. Bills that don’t advance by this deadline are considered “dead” for the year. Fiscal house of origin cutoff is one week later, Feb. 24, for bills that involve appropriating money.
View the session cutoff calendar here.
We need emergency powers reform now
With the policy deadline in view, I’ve been calling on members of the House majority to hold a public hearing on House Bill 1535, our emergency powers reform legislation. Rep. Chris Corry and I introduced the bill on Jan. 24 and it has not received a hearing.
The memory of the pandemic will eventually fade away, along with the important lessons we learned. We cannot allow history to repeat itself. We owe it to future generations to find the right balance between the executive’s ability to deal with emergencies and proper oversight from the Legislature. We need to come together as Washingtonians this session, regardless of party, and do our job as legislators.
Read my full statement here.
Your involvement is crucial!
As your representative, I believe your involvement and input are crucial to the process. That’s why I made this step-by-step video guide on how to participate in the legislative process.
Zack’s Law update
House Bill 1004, also known as “Zack’s Law,” was unanimously passed out of the House Transportation Committee on Feb. 2 and now sits in the House Rules Committee where it waits to be scheduled for a vote from the full House of Representatives. I am optimistic that we’ll be able to get Zack’s law across the finish line this year.
Background: Zack’s Law honors 18-year-old Zachary Lee Rager, who fell victim to cold-water shock and drowned in the Chehalis River on March 23, 2021. I am sponsoring this bill to help inform the public about the very real dangers posed by diving or jumping into cold water. If this measure saves even a single life, then I believe it’s worth passing.
The story appeared in King 5 News on Tuesday. You can read the article here.
Our 2023 legislative survey
If you haven’t already, please take my 2023 legislative survey and tell me what you think about some of the issues facing Washington this year.
Click here to take the survey.
Click here to view the results of the survey (so far).
Share your Stories
As always, I invite you to contact me at Peter.Abbarno@Leg.Wa.Gov and share your stories with me about how inflation is impacting your family budget, how crime is impacting your neighborhoods, and how recent state policies are making it more difficult to live, work, and enjoy everything Washington has to offer. Just share your first name and city and I will be sure to share your stories with others.
Helping Veterans, military members and their families get jobs
The House Finance Committee held a public hearing on Feb 2. for legislation I am sponsoring to create work opportunities for military members, veterans and their families.
House Bill 1005 would double the existing business and occupation tax credit for employers who hire a veteran, spouse of a veteran, or spouse of an active-duty military member and employ them in a full-time position for at least two consecutive full-calendar quarters.
Other bills I am sponsoring
- House Bill 1011 would repeal the state’s new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax set to take effect July 1, 2023.
- House Bill 1014 would provide a new grant funding source for rural fire departments whose buildings and equipment are inadequate to meet the fire safety needs of their communities.
- House Bill 1259 would update the executive team of the office of the secretary of state by adding signing authority to the chief of staff position.
- House Bill 1361 would modernize laws related to state employee documents and procedures.
- House Bill 1409 would expand the residential building code in an effort to reduce costs associated with building residential treatment facilities.
- House Bill 1729 would create and expand tax incentives for the research, development, production, and sale of hydrogen fuel products in Washington state.
For the most up-to-date information on bills I am sponsoring, click here.
I’ve been receiving a lot of emails and phone calls opposed to House Bill 1333, a measure to establish a “Big Brother” type government commission to investigate citizens’ political speech. As the ranking member on the State Government and Tribal Relations Committee, I led the effort to stop this bill.
I discussed this bill and others with Mike Wallin on KEDO Radio in Longview. You can listen to our conversation by clicking here.
Check out the 2023 House Republican list of good and bad bills this session here: HouseRepublicans.wa.gov/good-bills-bad-bills
I had the opportunity to sit down with TVW and talk about the 20th District, my legislative priorities, and my role as a community volunteer and father.
In the news
- ‘Zack’s Law’ proposal hopes to save young lives after family’s tragedy – King 5 News, Feb. 7
- North Clark County lawmakers’ bills make moves – The Reflector, Feb. 6
- Representative Abbarno: Democrats have prioritized criminals’ voting rights over those of seniors and veterans – Shift WA, Feb. 3
- Rep. Peter Abbarno urges immediate action on emergency powers reform – HRC, Feb. 3
- Capitol Report with Rep. Abbarno: Supporting law enforcement and early learning – HRC, Feb. 3
- Rep. Abbarno discusses public safety, housing, Zack’s Law, and bad bills on KEDO Radio, Longview – KEDO Radio, Feb. 2
- Local Republican Lawmakers Say Return of In-Person Session Draws Hope for Bipartisanship – The Chronicle, Feb. 1
- Abbarno Bill to Expand Veterans Employment Tax Credit Scheduled for Committee Hearing – The Chronicle, Jan. 30
- Goal of Zach’s Law: Educate Washingtonians about cold-water shock – The Columbian, Jan. 29
- Rep. Abbarno discusses majority party’s proposed semi-automatic rifle ban and his effort to reform emergency powers on KXL Radio, Northwest – KXL Radio, Jan. 27
- Public hearing scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2 on Abbarno’s Veteran-hire bill – HRC, Jan. 27
Stay involved and in touch!
Your involvement and input are important to our legislative process. Please call, write, or email me if you have questions, comments or suggestions about legislation, committee hearings, the legislative process or state government. I am here to serve and represent you!
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to be your voice in the Legislature as we embark on a new legislative session.