Chapman explains votes

OLYMPIA — Rep. Mike Chapman was among the few Democrats who voted against bills capping rent increases and providing unemployment benefits for strikers.

In Chapman’s view, neither of the two bills, which were approved by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday and are now before the Senate, serve the interests of Legislative District 24. Chapman is a Port Angeles resident who represents the district that covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County. Steve Tharinger, also a District 24 representative, voted in favor of the bills

Both bills were targeted at the large companies of the Interstate 5 corridor, he said.

“I’m trying to look through a district lens,” he said, adding that he used input from small business owners and landlords.

The rent increase cap, which would prohibit landlords from raising an existing tenant’s rent more than 7 percent in a year, would be hard on the “small mom-and-pop landlords” of District 24, especially after an amendment that would have exempted those with five or fewer rentals didn’t make it, Chapman said.

“It doesn’t really help our housing problem if you make regulations so onerous for small landlords” that some end up “selling homes off to out-of-state investors,” said Chapman, who is running for the District 24 state Senate seat that will be vacated by Kevin Van Wege, who is running for the state Commissioner of Public Lands seat.

Chapman said that many factors contribute to rent increases, including the statewide eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 that also delayed collection of some rents.

“They are trying to catch up,” he said.

The bill that would provide unemployment insurance benefits to workers who are on strike “could be problematic for our small businesses,” Chapman said.

Costs would be spread over the state and could increase rates for small businesses, he said.

“I think this is really more of a 1-5 bill for larger businesses,” he added.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at leah.leach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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