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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last week was the busiest and most demanding week we have had so far. We are officially more than half way through the 105-day scheduled session. Voting on the House floor has often gone into evenings last week and carried over into the weekend. The deadline for legislation to be passed out of the House is this Wednesday, March 13; so there is a constant push to move bills as quickly as possible.
Two other important deadlines have passed: House policy committee cut off on Feb. 22 and House budget committee cut-off on March 1. Because of these deadlines, more than half of the bills introduced this session have died. While technically any bill can be revived, it is difficult and unlikely. If you are interested in seeing the House (or Senate) floor debate you can watch it live at www.tvw.org.
If you have not had the chance to visit Olympia and meet with me, I encourage you to attend the town halls I will be hosting on March 16 and 23. Anyone who is a constituent of the 30th district is invited to participate in these public forums. I hope you can attend. The town halls will be held:
- 10:00-11:30 at Federal Way Council Chambers (City Hall)
33325 8th Avenue South Federal Way,
- 1:30-3:00 at Algona Council Chambers (City Hall)
402 Warde Street Algona,
- 10:00-11:30 at the Milton Community Center
1000 Laurel Street Milton,
Legislation to help victims
I'm happy to tell you that legislation to further aid the end human trafficking was unanimously passed off the House floor March 7. House Bill 1291, which was I co-sponsored specifies a portion of fees imposed on perpetrators of sex trafficking be made available for victims' rehabilitative services.
The commercial sex industry can happen under many circumstances. Once people, especially young adults and children, find themselves in this situation it can be nearly impossible to get out. As a state, if we can create protections for victims, while seeking accountability for human traffickers and others that perpetuate this crime, we can give victims their lives back. I'm proud of the work we have done because it will help our communities and citizens have safer, healthier lives.
Hours of voting cause tensions to rise and vigorous debates to ensue on the House floor. I support and understand strong speeches on important issues; especially issues where everyone believes they have the correct perspective or solution. However, we should always treat each other with the respect due to our elected offices. One recent night was marked by a inflammatory speech. A Democrat member, Rep. Hans Dunshee, claimed that a 'no' vote on House Bill 1563 implied a lack of compassion, soul and humanity. I disagreed with this claim and this legislation. A recent blog post in the Tacoma News Tribune wrote about my response and I would like to share some of that with you.
Dunshee's comments prompted Democratic Rep. Jim Moeller, the acting House speaker, to tell him he was out of order. Republicans had trouble getting past Dunshee's comments, however. Kochmar got choked up several times during her response on the House floor.
“While I understand that both sides want to do what they believe is right, while I understand that both sides want to help the homeless, while I understand that both sides of this aisle believe in their hearts that what they are doing is right, I personally find it offensive that any member of this caucus would think that any other member of this caucus was not as compassionate,” Kochmar said.
Kochmar's point was that local governments are required to seek fair market value for any land they sell because that land belongs to taxpayers, not the government.
“We have no right to have a gift of public funds, even though we have good intentions,” Kochmar said. “A council member, a government, has the duty … to find the best price for that land, for the betterment of all their people.”
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) 786-7898, or e-mail me at Linda.Kochmar@leg.wa.gov. You can see more of what I am doing for our district by watching my legislative video update. You can also visit my Web site for the latest information on bills I am working on, news releases and more. 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 look forward to hearing from you.
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7898 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000