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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well! We are just about finished with week six of our 105-day session.

In case you were not aware, there have been over 1,500 bills introduced this session. I bring this up because we will hit our first major deadline on Friday – house of origin policy cutoff. Any policy bill introduced this session must have received a public hearing and “passed out” of a committee to continue in the legislative process. Policy bills do not have a fiscal impact on the state’s budgets. Those bills with a budgetary impact will hit their committee deadline on Friday, Feb. 24, known as house of origin fiscal cutoff.

There are many hot topics and issues facing the Legislature this session. As we transition from our committee work to the House floor, I would like to know what you believe the Legislature’s priorities should be this session. You can record your thoughts in this brief survey. You can click on this link or scan the QR code below. Thank you for your participation!

Update | Less Restrictive Alternative placement of sexually violent predators near Enumclaw

Thank you to everyone who attended the community town hall hosted by the King County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 9. Rep. Drew Stokesbary and I strongly oppose the Garden House. We are doing everything we can to shut it down.

To date, we have:

  • Requested answers from Governor Jay Inslee’s Administration – including his Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Department of Corrections (DOC).
  • Sent two letters to DSHS demonstrating the unsuitability and contractual violations by the operators of Garden House and have asked DSHS to shut down the home.

We have also co-sponsored the following bills:

  • House Bill 1734. This bill would ensure adequate notice is provided to local communities when DSHS contracts with a housing provider for individuals qualifying for a less restrictive alternative placement.
  • House Bill 1751. This bill would require DSHS to: notify the Superior Court in any county where a conditional release and transitions facility is considered and shall consider the Superior Court’s recommendation on the facility siting before entering into any contract; notify the Superior Court in any county where the community transition facility is proposed; receive approval from the Superior Court in the county where the community transition facility is proposed for additional bed capacity; and consider the recommendations from the Superior Court in any county where a correctional facility is proposed on equitable distribution.
  • House Bill 1813. This bill would establish a moratorium on the siting and use of secure community transition facilities.

We will continue to fight this issue on your behalf and keep you updated as we receive answers.

Update | Vehicular pursuits

As many of you know, I am a retired trooper with the Washington State Patrol. I have personally been involved in vehicle pursuits. I have made the decision to safely conduct a pursuit against someone violating the law, and also made the decision to end a pursuit out of safety concerns for myself, the traveling public, and our communities. This discretion is something law enforcement professionals depend on in split-second decisions.

There is a bipartisan effort to give law enforcement back the discretionary tool to conduct vehicular pursuits. If we are successful, reasonable suspicion would replace the current probable cause standard.

Last week, we thought this bill would be voted out of the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee. Unfortunately, at that time, the majority party did not have the votes to move the bill forward and chose to pull the bill from moving forward. To learn more about what happened, please click here or on the photo below to watch our joint media availability with the Senate Republicans discussing the issue.

The bill was brought back for an executive session Thursday, Feb. 16. The House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee voted the bill out of the committee with a few changes. I thank my Democrat colleagues who co-sponsored the bill and those on the committee who voted to move the bill forward. There is still work to be done on this bill, and I’m hopeful we can continue to work in a bipartisan manner as it advances through the legislative process.

Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, the ranking Republican on the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, and I put out a statement on the recent committee action. You can read our thoughts by clicking here.

For additional information on our efforts on vehicular pursuits, please visit my newsroom.

My priorities | Public safety and transportation

This video update provides an update on my priorities in public safety and where we are in the process of crafting the state’s transportation budget. You can watch by clicking here or by clicking on the photo below.

House of Representatives Page Program

It was an honor to host a legislative page recently. Ethan Larsen joined me for a week on the Capitol campus. He learned to navigate the many buildings around campus, delivered messages and documents to legislators and staff, and assisted on the House floor. He also attended page school to learn and understand the operations and actions of the Legislature.

Each session, students from around the state apply to participate in the legislative page program. Pages earn $50 a day and can earn up to 20 hours of community service while serving in the program.

If you have a student between the ages of 14 and 16 that would be interested in becoming a page, please click here for more information.

Stay connected

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas regarding your state government or any of the topics in this e-newsletter. You can find my contact information at the bottom of this email. Below are some helpful links you might also find useful.

It’s an honor to serve you.

In your service,

Eric Robertson

State Representative Eric Robertson, 31st Legislative District
465 John L. O’Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7866 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000