Legislature Convenes for 2021


If you are a first-time home buyer, I hope you can testify on my American Dream Home bill (SB 5189) Tuesday Jan. 19 at 8:00 am. You can register to testify here if you’d like to testify remotely or just list your support (Pro) or opposition (Con) to the bill to the committee using the same link.

The bill would eliminate government impact fees and reduce permit costs to bring down the cost of an entry level home by as much as $60,000, saving about $280 per month in mortgage payments.

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

It has been an eventful start to the 2021 legislative session. The first week is generally reserved for ceremonial aspects of the Legislature like swearing in officials, speeches, and the like. Much of that still occurred, although we are meeting mostly remotely under what I’d consider undemocratic rules that shut out the minority’s voice and limit the public’s engagement with their government.

I fought against the adoption of such rules in the Senate that bar the public from in-person participation. While I agree that digital access to legislative proceedings does expand access in some ways, in others it makes it more difficult. That is particularly true when the governor completely barricades the Capitol Campus with fences and the armed National Guard.

Already, there are significant policies moving forward, such as the governor’s climate scheme that will increase fuel costs, and a new proposal to implement a type of state income tax.

While the state is doing well concerning tax collections, the majority is bent on raising taxes during a time when businesses are being forced to close, and families are struggling. I think that is the wrong thing to do.

I encourage you to stay involved during this challenging legislative session. Know that I am working as hard as I can to represent you and bring your voice to the proceedings in Olympia.

Staying Connected

Town Hall

We’ve had some great success reaching people in the district via virtual town halls. I’ve held two so far. I made the commitment to do more during the session so that you can get the news on what’s happening straight from the source and so I can get your input directly. So, I’ll be holding another virtual town hall next week on Friday, Jan. 22. Please keep your calendar open. More details to come.

Capitol restrictions are hypocritical

Security remained tight at the state Capitol for the opening of the 2021 legislative session. The Capitol Campus was fenced off from the public over the weekend after demonstrators had trespassed onto the grounds of Gov. Jay Inslee’s official residence Jan. 6. The governor also had called hundreds of armed National Guard and State Patrol to be present, effectively preventing other protests or demonstrations.

The people have a right to access their government, to protest, or be present for the deliberations of the Legislature.

The points I made in my floor speech are that for 10 months my constituents have been asking for my help to do something. We are finally in session, and the first thing the majority did was to give our authority away to the Governor. I’ve contended that since May this is no longer an emergency, it is a crisis that needs to be managed with legislative oversight. Ceding legislative authority to the Governor takes away my ability to represent you.

Watch my floor speech here. 

It’s not necessarily the proclamations

The discussion around emergency proclamations has been overshadowed by the more controversial mandates by the governor that have ruined our state’s economy and hurt Washington families. However, some of these are good policies, like those to protect privacy, reduce regulatory burdens, and provide tax relief. That is why I’ve introduced legislation to make those permanent.

The recent passage of SCR 8402 takes us down the wrong path because it removes a necessary check on the governor’s power via the Legislature.

Find out more.

Want to help open up Washington?

There is a bipartisan proposal, Senate Bill 5114, that would allow for all businesses affected by the governor’s shutdown to reopen safely and immediately under the standards of Phase 2. There will be a hearing on this legislation Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 8 a.m.

If you are interested in lending your voice to this conversation, I welcome it. I’ve co-sponsored the bill.

You can testify remotely from your computer by following this link. It will take you to the testimony sign up page. The window closes one hour before the start of the hearing.

Please feel free to share this information with your family, friends, colleagues, and coworkers.

Want to follow bills on a topic of concern?

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It is an honor to serve you and my office is here to help you with any questions you may have about your state government.


Fortunato Signature

Phil Fortunato,

Your 31st District State Senator