Rep. Keith Goehner’s Legislative Update: Town hall thank you, housing legislation and public safety

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Zoom Virtual Town Hall event Rep. Mike Steele, and I held February 1. We had over 150 people online from all regions of the 12th District. It was good to hear from folks in the new part of the district and see people engaged in the legislative process. Constituent input is always welcome and encouraged. We have tentatively scheduled our next Virtual Town Hall for Thursday, March 16 at 7 p.m. This will be after the cutoff date for the House of Representatives to move bills, so we will be able to discuss what passed the House, what didn't, what legislation is coming over from the Senate and much more.

Affordable housing

No one disputes that there is an affordable housing issue in Washington state. We are producing fewer housing units per household than any state in the country. Yet some of the legislation we are seeing would add more burden to local governments and builders.

One of those bills is House Bill 1181. It would add climate change and resiliency goals to the Growth Management Act (GMA) on cities with a population of 6,000 or more and counties with a population of 100,000.

Many local entities are challenged to meet the original GMA goals. This legislation would add more requirements and increase the workload of our local governments making it extremely difficult or unattainable to reach these GMA goals.

Our goal is to address unnecessary regulatory costs and fees, permitting delays, overly restrictive zoning laws, and making changes to the Growth Management Act to provide more affordable housing. Unfortunately, this bill and others will take us in the opposite direction.

Real solutions to address housing crisis

Below are some of the housing solutions we are working on. They include: House Bill 1401 would expedite housing permits; House Bill 1402 would expand development boundaries; House Bill 1245 would increase housing options through lot splitting; and House Bill 1633 would create a Homes for Heroes Program.

Public Safety

If you have been following the news, you know the vehicle pursuit issue continues to make headlines. There is strong bipartisan support for a fix in the House. HB 1363 has about 40 sponsors, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. It was scheduled for a vote in committee Feb. 16. While it looks encouraging in the House, the battle may be in the Senate. The chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee has indicated she will not move the House bill or a Senate version. We have heard from local government officials who are concerned about their communities. Businesses across Washington state, and law enforcement are asking to address this serious public safety matter.

In the House, some of the other public safety solutions we are focusing on beyond vehicle pursuit include: House Bill 1380 would add more police officers on our streets; House Bill 1415 would recriminalize hard drugs to a gross misdemeanor; House Bill 1682 would address the rise in auto thefts; House Bill 1456 would redefine retail theft. Keeping our families, neighborhoods, and streets safe continues to be a high priority for many this session.

Follow the Legislature

The policy cutoff was Friday, February 17. It was the last day policy committees could consider and approve bills in the chamber in which those measures originated. This is significant because if a policy bill is not voted out of its respective committee it is considered “dead” for the rest of the session. There are certain extenuating circumstances that could revive a bill, but it does not happen very often.

A reminder below are some websites and links that will help you stay engaged this legislative session.

My legislative website, Here you can find contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, radio appearances, and much more. The Ledger, a legislative news aggregator; Capitol Buzz – Daily news clips Daily news clips; The Current, an online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans; TVW, The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online. Legislature's website bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature. While it is not a virtual session, you can still testify remotely. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions, concerns or comments. I appreciate your input and feedback.


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