Rep. Vick waiting until next session to introduce bills

From the desk of Columbian intern Lucas Wiseman:

State Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Vancouver, has not sponsored a bill in the Legislature this year. His lack of bills is not because of idleness, he said. It’s a matter of principle.

“You can write a bill for whatever you want; whether you should write a bill is the question,” said Vick, who is serving his first term in the Legislature.

Vick said that he didn’t see a point in proposing a bill if it had no chance of passing. Democrats have a majority in the state House, which can make it more difficult for Republicans to pass their proposals.

Vick added he has been working on several bills, but he does not think they are quite ready for “prime time.”

“If I would have put them out now, I don’t think they are the best I could have come up with,” he said. “I don’t think my constituents would want that from me.”

One potential bill deals with decreasing tax penalties imposed on family farms located in residential areas. A Vancouver man ran into that problem recently when he wanted to quit farming parts of his land, but doing so meant he’d have to pay taxes on the land as if it was residential property.

“If you have a farm in your family, and you decide to develop the land, you have to go back seven years and pay the tax on that property as if it was a subdivision for those seven years,” Vick said. “We get families that sell their property, and then get stuck with a $30,000 tax bill, and they can’t afford that.”

Another bill Vick’s considering for next session would make it easier for people to get electrician licenses in Washington state, even if they left their previous employer on bad terms. If incoming, experienced electricians can’t get their credentials in Washington, they have to go through the apprenticeship process again, Vick said.

Though Vick has not sponsored any bills directly this session, he has signed off on 44 bills introduced by other lawmakers. Vick said those bills generally concern streamlining tax processes, helping businesses, and simplifying taxes — all concerns he wants addressed to help his constituents.

“It’s those little things that compound and keep adding up that make or break a business,” Vick said.

Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, also has not sponsored any bills before the Legislature this year. DeBolt, the Republican Minority Leader in the House, has served in the Legislature for 15 years.

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