Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now more than halfway through the 105-day legislative session, and the pace has really picked up. Over the past week, the House voted on more than 100 bills. We continued to vote on legislation today, and will be casting more votes next week.
I am approaching each of these votes with the philosophy that government should fulfill its most critical duties, and then let citizens prosper without interference. We need to see practical and sustainable solutions to the many issues we face, and while I have been pleased with numerous bills that have passed, I've been disappointed by others.
My first bills pass unanimously in the House
After some light hazing (video here), which is customary in the House when a freshman representative passes their first bill, two of my bills, House Bill 1527 and House Bill 1989 were both unanimously approved by the House on Tuesday. Both bills will help rural districts like the 13th.
House Bill 1527 would provide for a more efficient way for pesticide licensees to become recertified and for the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to conduct licensing recertification.
House Bill 1989 was requested by the city of Quincy on behalf of small cities that seek to procure long-term maintenance service contracts for their water storage assets in order to provide certainty and save money. Both bills will now go over to the Senate for further consideration in the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee.
Additionally, House Bill 1526, my bill to require all aircraft excise tax revenue to be deposited in the aeronautics account, has been deemed Necessary to Implement the Budget (NTIB). Bills deemed NTIB are exempt from all cutoff dates, and remain alive all the way through the budget negotiation process until a final budget is passed.
I want to hear from you! The survey questions this week are:
1) On Monday, state Senate leaders passed a $15 billion transportation revenue package that includes an incremental gas-tax increase of 11.7 cents over the next three years. Would you or would you not support an increase in the gas tax?
2) Would you support a bill requiring reforms to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)?
To answer both questions, click here. I'll let you know the results in my next update!
Revenue forecast released
The state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council recently released the latest revenue forecast for Washington state. Revenues for the 2015-17 biennium increased by $129 million, in addition to the $3 billion in additional revenue the state will see from the last budget. This is great news, as the Legislature has several major budgetary obligations it must meet this session. I believe we must stay disciplined and focus on ways to meet the challenges we face without implementing new or higher taxes.
Meeting with students from LEAP
LEAP's mission is to improve academic achievement of Latino/a students in Washington state, and their goal is to make sure all students graduate from high school with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed for success in postsecondary education or in today's workplace.
It was great to talk with these students about some of the key issues they're passionate about. I always enjoy meeting with young people to hear their stories and think about ways in which we can help provide more opportunities for them to succeed.
House Page Program
If you know a student that would like to serve as a page here at the House of Representatives, have them get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To serve as a page, a student must:
• Have permission from a parent or guardian.
• Have permission from school.
• Be at least 14 years of age and not have reached his or her 17th birthday.
To learn more about the House Page Program, click here.
Thank you for the honor of serving as your 13th District state representative. Every day, I am working hard on your behalf to advocate for the issues important to you. I want to continue to hear from you as much as possible as we head into the second half of the legislative session, so please keep the letters, emails and phone calls coming. My office phone number is (360) 786-7932, and my email address is email@example.com.
It is a privilege to serve you.