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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope all of you are doing well!

I want to open this update by inviting all of you to join 26th District Rep. Michelle Caldier and myself at one of several community town hall events coming up.

On Saturday, March 11, we will cross the 26th Legislative District all day trying to engage with as many of you as possible with four in-person town hall meetings, including stops in Gig Harbor, Vaughn, Port Orchard, and Bremerton. These are a wonderful opportunity for us to meet in person. We can share more legislative updates with you and you will have an opportunity to ask questions. Engaging with you is such an important part of my work in the Legislature and I truly hope you can attend.

If you can’t make it to the in-person town hall meetings next Saturday, March 11, don’t worry – we are also hosting a virtual town hall meeting the following Saturday, March 18. Full details and registration for the virtual town hall opportunity are included at the end of this update.

Now that we have passed the halfway point in session things are moving even more quickly. We have been busy in the House all week debating and voting on bills often late into the night. I passed my first two bills off the House floor on Tuesday.

The first bill is about improving safety on our roadways. House Bill 1540 would require all driver training courses in the state to add curriculum to their courses on how to safely share the roads with large commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks.

It is a simple adjustment that will help save lives as Washington state sees the highest number of traffic deaths on state roads and highways since 1990.

Also on Tuesday, the House passed my bill that would help local transit authorities save some money in their budgets. House Bill 1334 would exempt Public Transportation Benefit Districts from having to pay a lease for easements on state-owned aquatic lands or harbor areas they use for ferry terminals or docks.

In Washington state, our ferries and ports are exempted from leases on Department of Natural Resources lands. This bill would give the same exemption to our local transit authorities. It would cost the state virtually nothing and greatly benefit our local transit authorities.

Both bills passed out of the House unanimously and now move to the Senate.

Click the image below to watch my latest video update.

Later in the week, I had the opportunity to work on larger issues facing our state and district, including housing – specifically housing providers and tenants.

I spoke against House Bill 1074 which would place new limits around the circumstances in which a housing provider can withhold any portion of a tenant’s security deposit for damages. The problem is the bill is vague and will lead to confusion and more disputes between housing providers and tenants. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the need for balance between the rights of the tenants and the rights of housing providers, but we have yet to find that balance and this bill does nothing to get us closer. That leads to my big concern – this bill will add one more layer of onerous burden on our small, local housing providers and drive more of them out of the state further exacerbating our housing supply problem.

WATCH: My floor speech on the housing-provider bill here.

It’s Saturday and we are here in Olympia still voting on bills. I need to sign off and get back to the floor. I’ll bring you another update soon. In the meantime, I hope you will join Rep. Caldier and I for one of our community town hall events March 11 and March 18. Details below.

See you there!

Town Hall Schedule for Saturday March 11

10 AM – Gig Harbor

Swift Water Elementary School: 10811 Harbor Hill Dr., Gig Harbor, WA 98332

1 PM – Vaughn

Key Peninsula Civic
Center’s Whitmore Room: 17010 S Vaughn Rd. NW, Vaughn, WA 98394

4 PM – Port Orchard

Kitsap County
Commissioner’s Hall: 619 Division St. 4th floor, Port Orchard, WA 98366

7 PM – Bremerton

Bremerton City Hall Chambers/Norm Dicks Government Center: 345 6th St. #600, Bremerton, WA 98337

If you miss the in-person town halls on Saturday, March 11, we hope you can attend our virtual town hall the following weekend. That will be held Saturday, March 18, from 3 PM-4 PM. You can register here.

Questions may be submitted in advance to hanna.scott@leg.wa.gov

Spencer Hutchins

State Representative Spencer Hutchins, 26th Legislative District
122D Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7964 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000