Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank those of you who were able to participate in the recent survey I sent out asking if you would support the creation of a 51st state east of the Cascades. There were more than 1,000 responses with many folks commenting. The final tally showed that more than 69% of those who responded would like to see a 51st state.
Some of the comments included:
|If connected with E OR and Idaho, I would support…|
|Unsure – Eastern WA benefits from taxes collected on the West side, and a new state might experience poverty.|
|I would also support a two district state. It might be easier to get this enacted.|
|Another option would be having Electoral College on state races so all counties have equal representation.|
|Could also try change WA constitution to push more power from the state level down to the county level.|
|Just another waste of money. Change of logo, addresses, double the government offices, etc.|
|Why destroy our state. We get lots of $ from the West side|
|A ridiculous idea. No economy to support more overhead.|
While the survey was strongly in favor of a 51st state, there were strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Everything from “do it now” to “this is a ridiculous idea.” There was a variety of other ideas and suggestions as you can see by just the small sample of comments above. There is obviously some passion around the idea and folks are concerned about their freedoms and having a voice, especially during such a divisive time.
We know this is a big lift, and maybe it doesn't come to fruition but it gets ideas out there. I know a main concern is cost and being able to sustain our own economy. Idaho and Oregon have very different tax structures and they make their situation work. Given what we are seeing in other states, maybe redrawing lines is an easier, more sensible way to go. While this is a long way to go before this could become a reality, and no matter where you stand on the issue, I can assure you I am working hard to protect your rights and freedoms guaranteed to you by our Washington state and U.S. constitutions. My goal is to bring the 51st state question to a vote of the people of East Washington so that we can see if residents really want this or not. Then we can proceed forward or drop it.
The governor recently issued two orders related to mandatory vaccines. On Monday, Aug. 9, he issued an order requiring most state workers, as well on-site contractors and volunteers, public and private health care and long-term care workers, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct 18, or lose their jobs.
This Wednesday, Aug. 18, he extended the vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education. K -12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities. The requirement includes public, private and charter schools and comes just as schools across Washington are soon returning to the classroom for the 2021-2022 school year. The order also expanded the statewide mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
The governor, nor state government, should be dictating to the citizens of Washington what they should be putting in their bodies. This is a personal choice that I believe crosses some constitutional lines, as well as some related to privacy, individual rights and freedoms.
We have received thousands of emails on this issue over the last few days. I appreciate those of you who have taken the time to contact me and share your concerns and opposition to the mandatory vaccination requirements.
The governor's actions continue to demonstrate the need to end the “emergency” order we have lived under for more than 500 days and allow legislators to collaborate with the executive branch during a pandemic and other times of crisis. The Legislature should not be relegated to the sidelines while these types of decisions are being made affecting each and every citizen of Washington.
Police reform laws making our communities less safe
This summer, it has become clear controversial police reform bills passed by majority party Democrats in the 2021 session are having serious impacts on the law enforcement officers, first responders and the safety of our communities. House Republicans warned months ago that House Bill 1310 and House Bill 1054 would make communities less safe. And that's exactly what's happening.
We have seen a large number of stories in the media about the impacts of the new legislation on law enforcement and local elected officials and what it means for their communities. Below is a small sampling of some of the stories we have seen across the state.
- State Patrol says troopers were unable to pursue wrong way driver because of new law (KOMO TV)
- Idaho deputies unable to track down suspect who crossed into Washington, citing new policing laws (KHQ TV)
- Tri-Cities woman slashes tires on 3 cop cars. New law kept police from stopping her sooner (Tri-City Herald)
- New restrictions on Washington state police may lead to spike in crime (Q-13 TV)
- Local leaders fear new WA police reform laws do more harm than good (KEPR TV)
- 'It will place individuals at a greater risk': Police worry about new laws, social justice groups welcome the changes (KXLY)
- 'We are a little handcuffed': Eastern Washington law enforcement concerned about police reforms (KREM TV)
- Police officers feel limited by new law enforcement reforms in Washington (KING TV)
- Eastern Washington law enforcement leaders concerned about new reform laws (KXLY)
- Washington police reform laws will impact local policing (KWHT)
- Spokane County Commissioners unanimously back Spokane sheriff's opposition to new policing bill (KHQ TV)
- Confusion over new police reform law continues amid calls for special session by lawmakers (KOMO TV)
Republicans are more than willing to work with the governor and the Democrat majority to fix the problems created by these new policies. The sooner we can do this, the less harm done to the communities and citizens we represent in Washington state. For more information check out our webpage: Why Democrats' police reform bills have made communities less safe.
Mandatory payroll tax
A mandatory payroll tax to fund a long-term care program is rapidly approaching. In 2019, the Legislature passed House Bill 1087 creating the new state Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program, being branded as the WA Cares Fund. The payroll tax begins on Jan. 1, 2022. All working Washingtonians will pay $0.58 for every $100 of their income, including hourly wages, salaries, bonuses, and company stock.
If you do not want to pay the payroll tax, you have a limited time to opt-out. It could take as long as three months so I urge you to look into this now.
Check out these two stories for more on the decisions many Washington workers are facing:
- Deadline coming on Washington long-term care: private or state plan (AP)
- Long-term care tax looms for nearly all Washington workers (Columbia Basin Herald)
House Republicans created this web page, which includes frequently asked questions.
I urge you to stay informed on what is happening in our communities and Washington state. It is important we continue to make our voices heard on critical issues coming before us.
Below are a couple websites to keep you updated on what is happening in state government. They include:
- Capitol Buzz: This daily electronic clip service offers headlines and stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, and television.
- The Washington State Ledger: This is a legislative news aggregator administered by state House Republicans. It is a great source for information related to state government, public policy and the legislative process. It is updated frequently.
Please continue to share your ideas, concerns, and thoughts with me on this issue and many others affecting our communities and district.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you!