What’s happening in Olympia? Talk to your legislators Monday

The following e-newsletter was sent to Sen. Shelly Short’s subscribers Feb. 7, 2023. To subscribe to Sen. Short’s e-newsletters, click here.

Telephone town hall set for Feb. 13 — dial in and ask questions of your 7th District lawmakers

Did you know you live in the largest legislative district of the state? Redistricting last year greatly expanded the boundaries of the 7th Legislative District, which now encompasses all or part of seven counties from North Central to Northeastern Washington.

Dear friends and neighbors,

Hello from Olympia! I’m your state senator, Shelly Short, and I want to let you know about a telephone town hall meeting I’ll be having Feb. 13 with my fellow lawmakers from the 7th Legislative District, Reps. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda and Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic. We’ll be talking about the biggest issues before us in Olympia for 2023. I hope you can make it!


Monday, Feb. 13

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Dial-in number: (509) 476-8976

Phone lines open at 5:45 p.m.

A telephone town hall meeting means we’ll be doing this entirely by phone. You can dial in from anywhere in the district, and ask questions as if we were there in person.

Reminder calls will go out to landlines in the district just before the meeting begins. If you are on a cell phone, you will need to dial in to (509) 476-8976. Phone lines open 15 minutes before the meeting begins at 6 p.m.

We’ll have plenty to talk about, from new efforts to restrict guns to the new state income tax that is currently being challenged before the state Supreme Court. But we really are here to listen to you. We’ll be looking forward to the conversation. So get your questions ready!

A few introductions may be in order in the new areas of our district. Legislative district boundaries were changed last year as the result of redistricting, and the 7th now includes Douglas County and parts of Okanogan and Grant counties.  You now live in the state’s biggest legislative district, running from the northeastern corner of the state to the outskirts of East Wenatchee. So if you are new to the 7th Legislative District – welcome! We’re glad to have you with us.

I have been proud to represent the 7th Legislative District since 2009, originally in the state House of Representatives and now in the Senate.

I grew up in the Spokane Valley, and have lived in the 7th for more than 30 years, raising a family on the outskirts of Addy. In the Senate, I serve as Republican Floor Leader, meaning that I help shape our debates and coordinate action when we meet in session.

Most importantly, I am here to serve you. Together with my 7th District House seatmates, I speak for you and your interests in the Legislature. I want to know what you are thinking. If you have a comment or a concern about the direction of state government, or you are having trouble dealing with a state agency, I hope you will contact my office. Service to the people of our region is the duty that comes first.






Sen. Shelly Short, 7th Legislative District


Debate over police pursuits demonstrates Legislature’s big divide

Bill would restore ability of police to chase fleeing suspects

Senate chair blocks vote as Seattle views reign at statehouse

Two years ago, the Legislature passed a bill that prevents police from chasing suspects who flee the scene of a crime. Today this terrible idea is creating chaos across the state, but the chairwoman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee doesn’t want to consider a fix. Her excuse will blow your mind. Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, told reporters, “It is so politicized that I don’t believe the Legislature is the best body now to make changes on this.”

If the Legislature is the wrong place to debate a political issue, where exactly is the right one? If there is any other body that can change this law, I wish someone would tell me.

The law preventing police chases was passed amid a wave of anti-police legislation favored by our colleagues in 2021, a response to the George Floyd riots and the urban activists who see law enforcement as a greater menace than those who break the law. These new laws restricted police weapons and tactics, and allowed Olympia politicians to second-guess police conduct investigations – ensuring politics will play a big role anytime anyone complains of misconduct. The rules got so bad that when a Longview SWAT team cornered an armed suspect in a house, police were reduced to throwing rocks.

We’ve managed to turn back some of the worst restrictions, but police pursuits remain an enormous problem. Previously, police arriving at the scene of a crime could give chase based on an eyewitness description, what is called the “reasonable suspicion” standard. But now they must have “probable cause” – for instance, seeing the suspect in the act. Law enforcement is handcuffed, and criminals know it. The State Patrol tells us there used to be about 1,200 cases per year in which police pursuit was justified. In 2022, that jumped to 3,100. Car thefts statewide are up 50 percent.

Maybe this sounds like a good idea in Seattle, but the rest of us have a problem with it. Republicans and Democrats alike have signed on to Senate Bill 5352, which would restore the ability of police to do their jobs. If enough of us stand together, we can overrule a willful committee chair by taking a vote on the Senate floor. I’ll be in the thick of it as Republican floor leader, and I look forward to the fight.


Why politics are getting in the way of police-pursuit legislation

To see video, click here or on video below —

In this video, I explain how legislative politics got us into this crazy situation — and how they might get us out.


Taking on rising housing costs

As housing prices skyrocket across the state, this graphic shows us something important. Artificial costs imposed by government are responsible for 21 percent of the cost of the median home in the state of Washington.

One of the biggest reasons for the shortage of affordable housing statewide is our state’s land-use law, the Growth Management Act, passed in 1991 when our state’s population was half what it is today. I have two reform bills designed to reduce the cost of compliance with GMA, which in rural areas like ours doesn’t fit too well — sort of a square peg in a round hole.

Senate Bill 5457 reduces redundant planning in slow-growing smaller cities, while SB 5374 allows cities to adopt county critical-area ordinances rather than drafting their own. These bills will speed up permitting processes, provide certainty to property owners about their development rights, and offer adequate protection to the environment. These are among many sensible reforms being proposed this year, many of which are gaining bipartisan support. At last we are seeing some consensus that GMA needs reform.



Contact me!

I hope you will stay in touch. If you are having trouble dealing with a state agency, or you have a general concern with state government, please let me know. I and my executive assistant, Shannon Whitmore, stand ready to help. You also can leave a message for me or any other member on the Legislative Hotline.

Telephone: (360) 786-7612

Email: Shelly.Short@leg.wa.gov

Mailing address: P.O. Box 40407/ Olympia, WA/ 98504

Website address: https://shellyshort.src.wastateleg.org/

Legislative Hotline: 1 (800) 562-6000