Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are almost halfway through the 2023 session. With more than 1,500 bills introduced, our committee work has been extremely busy. We have reached two important deadlines – house of origin policy and fiscal cutoff. This simply means that any bill that did not advance from a respective committee will likely not be considered this session.
However, bills considered necessary to implement the operating, capital, or transportation budgets, or NTIB, are exempt from the standard cutoff rules. Whether a bill is considered NTIB is entirely the call of the majority party, specifically the Speaker of the House.
These deadlines are essential to the legislative process and ensure we stay on track to finish our work in the 105-day allotment.
As we look ahead to the coming week, and our next deadline of March 8, we will be switching our focus from committee work to voting on bills on the House floor. There are some long days and late nights in our future.
Since we have reached policy and fiscal cutoffs, I want to update you on the status of some important bills.
Removing party preferences from ballots
I believe it is time to talk about changing some of the systems that perpetuate political polarization. One of those is party identification on our ballots.
Before the cutoff deadline, I introduced House Bill 1826, which would remove party preferences from the ballot. Ultimately, elections are about electing individual people, not parties, to make decisions on our behalf. This should be based on the person's actual values and qualifications.
This bill did not receive a public hearing in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee in time to make it past policy cutoff. Still, I hope we can start a conversation about the intense partisanship we see in our elections.
For more on House Bill 1826, please click on the following links:
- Read my op-ed: It's time to change some of the systems that perpetuate political polarization
- Listen to my radio interview with host Jason Rantz of KTTH
- Read the MyNorthwest article: Removing political parties from ballots gains momentum in Legislature
- Listen to my radio interview, The Bottom Line, on KONA Radio
- Listen to my Capitol Report radio update
I have once again introduced a bill – House Bill 1210 – to require school boards to record their meetings. I believe in transparency and think it is vital for parents, students, and the public to have access to school board meetings in an effort to help keep parents involved in their children's education.
My bill passed the House with a vote of 96-1 with one excused. It recently received a hearing in the Senate Committee on State Government and Elections. I will update you on the status as it continues to move through the legislative process.
Death with Dignity Act Modernization
- Allowing prescription mail delivery, with delivery safeguards
- Reduces the waiting period
- Expands the list of practitioners allowed to participate in the law
- Requires the Department of Health to post hospitals' policies online
In both 2021 and 2022, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1141, but the bill did not make it to the Senate floor for a final vote.
This session, I have reintroduced this bill as House Bill 1281 seeking to increase access to the provisions of the Washington Death with Dignity Act.
The House Health Care and Wellness Committee advanced this bill forward, and I look forward to voting it off the House floor next week.
This bill directly responds to 16th District constituent experiences, which show improvements to the law are needed.
I have introduced a simple bill regarding jury duty service. House Bill 1312 seeks to allow anyone 70 or older to opt out of jury service for health-related purposes without providing a doctor's note.
The House chamber unanimously voted in favor of my bill 96-0 with two excused. It now awaits a public hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
Walla Walla Water Plan
Public charter schools
I introduced House Bill 1744, which provides additional oversight responsibilities to the Charter School Commission. The bill aims to ensure charter schools comply with the state's charter school law while providing additional resources to help them succeed.
Another bill I support, House Bill 1418, provides funding equity to charter schools. Although Washington's charter schools are open to all students, funded by taxpayers, and part of our public school system, they are not entitled to the same level of funding as traditional public schools. This bill would close that funding disparity by allowing enrichment dollars for programs like sports, early learning, extended school days, etc. Unfortunately, this bill died in committee.
You can stay updated on the progress of all the bills I have sponsored and co-sponsored by visiting my website RepresentativeSkylerRude.com and clicking the Sponsored Bills tab on the top banner of my website or visiting my newsroom.
House of Representatives Page Program
It was an honor to host a legislative page recently. Brie Riggs joined me for a week on the Capitol campus. She learned to navigate the many buildings around campus, delivered messages and documents to legislators and staff, and assisted on the House floor. She 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.
Please reach out to my office to set up a meeting, ask questions, or discuss the issues that matter most to you.
I encourage you to bookmark the links below and share them with your friends and family.
- Visit my website | Representative Skyler Rude
- Visit the Washington State House Republicans website
- Follow Washington State House Republicans on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- Sign-up for The Current | The Washington State House Republican Caucus newsletter
- Sign-up for The Capitol Buzz | A daily summary of online news from across the state, highlighting policies, politics, and other issues that affect Washingtonians
- Bookmark The Ledger | Washington State House Republicans news aggregator
- Visit the Washington State Legislature website
- Bookmark House Committees | How to sign-up to testify
If you have further questions or thoughts, don't hesitate to get in touch with my office.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve!