Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As part of the legislative process, the Legislature has many deadlines it must follow to ensure we finish our work in 105-days. We've reached our first deadline, known as policy cutoff. Any bill introduced this session that wasn't approved through its respective policy committee is now considered dead.
In this update, I'll give you the status of the bills I've introduced and if they've made it through the cutoff point.
District concerns | Elk
During the last several weeks, my seatmate, Rep. Carolyn Eslick, and I have been attending meetings regarding the continued problem involving elk.
We recently met with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, tribal members, ranchers and stakeholders to brainstorm solutions. It's been over 15 years since something has been done. The status quo is no longer acceptable. Several ideas were brought to the table:
- Possible reimbursement for damage caused by the elk.
- Fertilizer for certain crop plots to keep elk away from the crops.
- Alleviate the red tape around the permitting process for “master hunters.”
A couple bills were introduced this session in hopes of bringing some relief:
House Bill 1875 (sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Eslick) – This would expand the scope of crops eligible for compensation for damages caused by the elk. This bill is currently in the House Appropriations Committee awaiting a hearing. This is a fiscal committee. The bills currently sitting in fiscal committees were not impacted by policy cutoff.
House Bill 2055 (sponsored by Rep. Tom Dent) – This would expand the elk management pilot project. Unfortunately, this bill didn't receive a hearing in the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. It won't see any movement this session.
It's great we're talking about the issue, brainstorming ideas, and trying to come up with solutions to benefit everyone involved. We will continue to work toward finding the right answers.
I'm interested in what you feel are viable solutions to this issue. Please contact my office with your questions, concerns and thoughts.
Aligning priorities with key issues | Reducing property taxes
One of the main things I continue to hear from you: when is something going to be done to reduce property taxes?
Recently, I introduced a bill to cap state property taxes. This is a simple, common-sense solution with a major impact on homeowners. It would slow the rate of property tax increases by placing a cap on the tax rate when a home's value is assessed.
Under House Bill 2106, the residential real property value subject to property taxation for state purposes would be the lesser of that property's assessed value in the assessment year, or of that property's assessed value in 2019.
For more information, please read my press release by clicking here.
Fiscal committees are still hearing bills. This bill has the opportunity to be heard in the House Finance Committee this week. I will keep you posted on its status.
Aligning priorities with key issues | 2nd Amendment rights
Second amendment rights, and ensuring they're not infringed upon, will always be one of my top legislative priorities. It's also a key issue the Legislature consistently debates.
Status of House Bill 1649
Earlier in session, I introduced a bill that would eliminate the second background check to transfer or sell a firearm between concealed pistol license (CPL) holders. There is no reason for a redundant background check between law-abiding citizens.
Unfortunately, this bill was a causality of policy cutoff and will not advance this session. I'll continue to work on this common-sense solution.
House Bill 2103
This measure would repeal the initiative passed by voters in the 2018 general election. I proudly co-sponsored this measure to overturn I-1639 because it's a direct violation of our constitutional 2nd Amendment rights. It punishes law-abiding citizens.
I-1639 has created a constitutional headache for law enforcement who swore under oath to serve and protect under the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Washington.
The Supreme Court could overturn this law. Until then, we, as lawmakers, must fight to amend this terrible law and yet another attempt to take away our right to bear arms.
Save the date | 39th District town halls
I will be co-hosting two town hall meetings around the 39th District with my seatmates – Rep. Carolyn Eslick and Sen. Keith Wagoner. The events will take place on Saturday, March 16 at the following locations:
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Where: Darrington Library (1005 Cascade St)
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Where: Concrete High School Commons (7830 S Superior Ave)
We hope you will join us!
It's an honor to serve you.
Robert J. Sutherland
WA State Representative, District 39