As we close the third week of the legislative session, I wanted to bring you up to date on the latest news from Olympia. It is an honor to work for you in our goal of less taxes, less government and more freedom!
HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES CREATE JOBS
As the assistant ranking member on the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee, I'm helping to negotiate legislation to reform our unemployment insurance and workers' compensation systems. It's my goal to reduce costs that burden employers. We want to get government off the backs of our employers so they can create jobs.
Sometime next week, I expect the House will be voting on House Bill 1091. This is an unemployment insurance (UI) reform bill that came through our committee.
As originally written, the measure would have allowed up to 85 percent of all employers to pay less than their projected 2011 UI tax rates, and would have allowed more than $300 million to be kept in the economy to support job and create greater economic stability. Unfortunately, labor interests were able to get the bill changed in committee to add “dependent benefits” of $15 per week for an unemployed claimant, a permanent extension of benefits, and additional training benefits.
While the business community is okay with the training benefits, the other provisions of this bill would break the bank and end up costing employers much more. My House Republican colleagues and I will propose an amendment on the House floor to return the measure back to its original provisions. I welcome your comments and support on this critical issue.
On the workers' compensation system: I'm negotiating a resolution on legislation that would create a final structured settlement. I'll have more on this issue in future e-newsletters.
FIGHTING TO PRESERVE PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS
In addition to my efforts to create private-sector jobs, I'm also fighting to preserve property rights.
I've re-introduced legislation that would give citizens a first right of repurchase for property lost through eminent domain then sold by the Department of Transportation as surplus. Only the former owner would have the right of repurchase if the property is declared surplus.
Eminent domain is and should always be a method of last resort. Government should never use it to prosper at the expense of property owners. This bill would provides a small measure of protection against eminent domain abuse by giving people the first right of repurchase of their former properties. While to a small degree this measure would cure an inequity in the law, it would make a large difference for many who lost their properties to the Department of Transportation through condemnation proceedings, and want them back.
YOUR INVOLVEMENT IS WELCOME AND NEEDED!
Our citizens' Legislature works best when you are involved. I urge you to stay informed and become active. Go to my Web site at houserepublicans.wa.gov/Shea for more information. From there, you can e-mail me, read my news releases and newsletters, and find out about current legislation. I also invite you to contact my office any time you have questions, comments or ideas. My phone number is (360) 786-7984.