Greetings from Olympia,
I hope that you are faring well after this most recent spate of winter weather. The state Legislature’s work has been slowed considerably, even seeing the cancellation of business this past Monday. We are fast approaching a deadline, so now that operations are back to normal, there seems to be a bit of a frenzy to catch up. I wouldn’t mind that too much, but many of the proposals coming out of Olympia are cause of concern, such as mandatory in-home visits from government employees when you bring a new baby home, endless taxes, and regulations that are making it much harder to live and work in Washington.
There are so many bills coming at us so fast, but I want to thank everyone from our district who reach out with input and words of encouragement. My office receives over 600 emails a week. Some of the issues we work on can be contentious and my goal as your state Senator is to represent our community. I was heartened to receive a phone call recently about such a piece of legislation with some great insights about what positive things it will do for that constituent and the future of his family business.
One issue being discussed is a statewide ban on plastic bags and requiring a 10-cent fee on paper bags. This is really just a 10-cent tax on consumers that the state Department of Revenue estimates will take $75 million per year from shoppers. Proponents of this tax believe that it will help the environment by encouraging use of “reusable” fabric tote bags.
In theory, bills like these sound good, but aren’t backed by science. In the grand scheme, fabric bags are actually worse for the environment by requiring more carbon-intensive resources to make. The life cycle use to offset the production of fabric bags is much higher than plastic. The other consideration is that the plastic that is supposedly plaguing our oceans isn’t ours. Instead, that plastic is coming here from other countries, namely China.
It is similar to the Governor’s push for higher taxes to help fight global climate change, making Washington residents pay higher costs for fuel, energy and food when we are already one of the cleanest states in the country. No one is saying that we shouldn’t be good stewards of our environment, but we should really focus our efforts and your tax dollars on things that work. The Spokesman-Review’s editorial board recent published a great take on the issue that highlights why this ban is bad policy. Click here to read more.
While the state Legislature is a whirlwind, I want to highlight some things happening in our community. I received word that Kittitas High School has a star in its midst. Brock Ravet has been recognized as the state’s all-time high school basketball scorer. What an accomplishment for him and our community!
Sadly, rodeo legend Deb Copenhaver passed away earlier this month. He was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1992. A Creston resident, he was known as “one of the greatest riders to come out of the Pacific Northwest.” I had the privilege of getting to know and spend some quality time with Deb over the years. He was a great man and will be missed. The Spokesman did a great write-up on Deb’s legacy. Click here to read more.
Save the Date!
My seatmates and I will be holding town halls in March. If you’re interested, we are planning on being in Ellensburg, Friday, March 22, and Davenport and Moses Lake Saturday, March 23. More details to come.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any concerns or ideas you may have about your state government.
Your 13th District State Senator