Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Jan. 14, I officially took the oath of office and became the newest state legislator for the 30th District. The last three weeks of the session have been very busy and exciting. Thank you for entrusting me to be your voice in Olympia.
The Legislature is scheduled for a 105-day session. During that time, I will be frequently sending out e-mail updates, like this one. These e-mails will include highlights of what is happening in Olympia and specific work I am doing on behalf of constituents back home. Please feel free to pass along this e-mail to others you think would be interested. They can sign up for my updates by clicking here.
I will also be communicating with you via video updates. You will be able to view these videos on our local television stations and my new website at houserepublicans.wa.gov/kochmar.
This year we face many challenges and major decisions. After spending time with my fellow legislators, participating in several hours of committee hearings and many hours on the House floor, I believe we really can make progress this year.
I encourage you to contact my office. I am here to be a resource for you. If there is any element of state government that I can help you with, my door is always open. My goals are to keep our communities safe, decrease taxes, increase employment and improve your quality of life. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at (360) 786-7850, or e-mail me at Linda.Kochmar@leg.wa.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.
Beginning in the second week, we started the real business of legislating: holding committee hearings and sponsoring legislation. I am proud to have co-signed a few bills that are especially impactful to our district including:
- A bill to return money to the community that funds local efforts to stop prostitution. The bill would support increased enforcement and rehabilitative services for victims. House Bill 1291 focuses on prevention of prostitution or commercial sexual abuse of a minor. This is a big issue for our district where many women and children are victims of the sex trade.
- Legislation that would give parents a break on the cost of school supplies. You would no longer have to pay sales taxes on the items needed for your kids to go back to school. House Bill 1329 would create a back-to-school sales tax holiday and require an economic impact study of the sales and use tax exemption. The study portion of the bill is particularly important. It is likely to conclude that citizens could benefit from this tax break long-term without affecting state revenue.
- A final bill that would fund education first. I believe this is the only responsible way to comply with the state Supreme Court ruling in the landmark McCleary v. State court case. House Bill 1174 would require a separate K-12 education budget be passed and signed by the governor before any other state spending is allocated.
I am also continuing to work on legislation that addresses the transportation issues in our district. Completing the “Triangle Project” in Federal Way is a congestion relief initiative that tops my priority list. Statistically, this is the fifth most accident-prone spot in the state. Initial improvements were done in 2012, but complete reconstruction of the I-5/SR 18/SR 161 interchange still needs funding. We are in the process of working with multiple stakeholders to fix this dangerous and inconvenient interchange. You can find more information on this, and other projects here.
Another important regional transportation project consists of planned improvements to the I-5/SR 167 freight corridor. This stretch of freeway facilitates freight mobility for our district and the South Sound region. The Legislature, the Department of Transportation, and various other stakeholders are in the process of developing long-term plans and strategies to address funding challenges and other issues. I will continue to keep this at the top of my priority list. It is an economic necessity that directly benefits our cities and communities.
In November, legislative leadership met and formed several newly-reorganized committees. I will be serving on five House committees this year. It is a great honor to be chosen for so many committees and also a great responsibility. The House committees I am serving on are: Business and Financial Services; Technology and Economic Development; Transportation; Rules and Local Government. In Local Government, I will be holding the position of assistant ranking Republican.
These committees are a great fit with my experience and the needs of our district. I look forward to becoming well-versed in additional issues as the session progresses and sharing my insights with you.
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7898 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000