Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year! Since the 2014 legislative session ended in March, I've been in district meeting with different constituent groups and individuals, gathering your feedback on state government.
As the legislative session kicks off, I remember my friend and colleague, the late Rep. Roger Freeman. It's difficult to enter this session without him. He always brought such a positive tone and vibrancy to this place. In spite of our political differences, we had a great partnership and always tried to do what was right for our constituents.
He's truly missed and my thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family and those closest to him.
The 2015 legislative session convened on Monday, and I've taken the feedback and ideas you've given me down to Olympia. This session is scheduled to last 105 days. It's a long session, so that means we'll be negotiating a new, two-year budget for the state.
Budget decisions are never easy, but with a 74 Democrat, 73 Republican split in the state Legislature, I'm sure we can reach an agreement on a well-crafted, bipartisan budget. Plus, we are expecting $3 billion more in state tax revenue, so those extra dollars should be helpful as we prioritize the budget.
2015 legislative session
This session, I was assigned to three committees by House leadership: Business and Financial Services, Capital Budget, and Transportation. These are all important committees that align with the 30th District's values.
Capital Budget is a new committee for me this year, and I'm really looking forward to being part of capital budget discussions as the session progresses. I've been involved in ongoing discussions with local leaders and residents about some of the needs in our communities. Our district has been struggling with homelessness issues for some time. I'd like to be able to secure funding for a hygiene center, and some temporary housing for homeless individuals. It's important we provide the resources for these individuals that empower them to seek and find work, so they can support themselves and contribute to our local economies.
I'll be working with my colleagues on proposals like this, and others, in the coming weeks.
The first week of session just concluded, but I have dropped some legislation this session:
HB 1079 – a statutory modification that would authorize two or more public agencies (state, local, etc.) to enter into a contract for architectural or engineering services, provided other statutory provisions are met.
HB 1279 – relating to the creation of a local tourism promotion area for Federal Way and other local areas to increase tourism and economic development.
Last year, former Rep. Freeman and I sponsored a felony elude bill to toughen the punishment for offenders who refuse to pull over on a public highway after being notified by police. This bill made it out of committee last year but failed to reach the House floor. I will be reintroducing this bill this year and am hopeful we can get it passed, and signed by the governor.
I've also signed on to several pieces of legislation, including an effort to create a separate, K-12 education budget to ensure the state meets its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funds for K-12.
There are several ways you can stay up-to-date on what's happening in Olympia. My e-mail updates are one way, and I'll be sure to keep you updated periodically throughout session. You're encouraged to pass these e-mails along to friends or family you think might be interested. They can also sign up to receive their own e-mails by visiting my website and entering their e-mail address at the top of the page.
You can also visit the Legislature's official website for recent information on committee agendas and updated bill information.
Of course, I would like to hear from you during session, too. Please don't hesitate to call, write or e-mail me with any questions or ideas you have about state government. I'm here to serve you!
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7898 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000