Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have just passed the halfway point of the 2022 legislative session and this week marks the “House of Origin Cutoff”, meaning all Senate bills that are policy-related and not budget related, must be passed off the chamber floor in order to still be considered “alive” or moving in the legislative process. Bills that deal with budgets – such as Transportation, Capital and Operating, have more time.
Next week, we’ll shift focus from floor action to hearing House bills in committee. Today I want to update you on where some of my bills are in the legislative process.
- Greenhouses – Senate Bill 5641 I am very pleased to bring this legislation forward after a constituent brought to my attention how we can encourage the development of noncommercial greenhouses to encourage food production. We know that food insecurity is at an all-time high, and this is just another way that we can help families put food on their own tables and for their communities. This bill is now headed to the House of Representatives after it was voted off the Senate floor unanimously.
- Project analysis under the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) – Senate Bill 5678 This legislation would allow utility companies, like Avista for example, the ability to receive additional guidance from the Utilities and Transportation Commission in order to give future renewable energy projects the best chance of qualifying under the Climate Energy Transformation Act (CETA) guidelines. This is an important consumer protection measure to ensure that consumer’s dollars are not wasted on projects that wouldn’t qualify. This bill passed out of the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee and is now scheduled to be heard in the Senate Ways & Means Committee
- Motion picture competitiveness program – Senate Bill 5760 I recently share information on this legislation I’m cosponsoring that would incentivizes motion picture development throughout our state and in our rural communities. This legislation updates the motion picture competitiveness program and encourages more filmmakers to our state; and with that comes more jobs and opportunities for students to learn about motion pictures. Not only is this a learning opportunity but it’s great for local economic development! This bill was recently passed out of the Business, Financial Services & Trade Committee and will be next be heard in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. While this bill did not receive floor consideration, there is a House version that is still alive… so, stay tuned!
Releasing convicted criminals early
Senate Democrats once again brought back legislation to make it easier for inmates serving life without parole sentences to apply for commutation. Under Senate Bill 5036, which passed off the Senate floor earlier this week by majority Democrats, 128 offenders now serving time for aggravated murder, first-degree murder, first-degree rape and child molestation would immediately become eligible to apply for commutation of their sentences. Another 68 such offenders would be eligible to seek commutation within the next five years.
In the last several years, we have seen the governor let people out of prison early with detrimental results and we’re currently seeing crime rates spike tremendously; why would majority Democrats change the current stringent clemency process if not to make it easier for violent criminals to be released?
Fixing some of the bad police reform policies from last session
Led by Republicans, the Senate passed Senate Bill 5919 last week which would restore some of the public-safety tools lost by law-enforcement agencies due to anti-police bills adopted by majority Democrats in 2021. This legislation would allow police officers to temporarily detain an individual based on reasonable suspicion.
Additionally, after an amendment was rejected in committee by the Law and Justice Chair, the Senate body reinstated reasonable suspicion be used for a vehicular pursuit after it was proposed by a Republican member. This bill doesn’t resolve all the public-safety concerns created by the majority’s actions last year – but I am hopeful to see law enforcement receive more of their tools lost during last year’s “reform” bills. Stay tuned, more could be coming before the session adjourns!
I look forward to communicating with you during session. It is an incredible privilege to serve as your state senator and be your voice. If you need anything at all or would like me to highlight or provide information on any issues, my office is here for you. I can be reached by phone at (360) 786-7612 and by email at Shelly.Short@leg.wa.gov.