What to expect in the 2019 legislative session


Dec. 21, 2018

floorGreetings Friends,

It has been awhile since connecting with you due to election-year restrictions, but those have ended and I will be sending out more regular updates.

In my first newsletter, I want to take a moment to recognize the great people who call our district home.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, students in the University of Washington marching band were in a serious bus accident en route to Pullman for the Apple Cup game at WSU. Injured students were taken to hospitals in Quincy, Ephrata, and as far away as Othello and missed the game. The members of our community worked with school officials to check on students scattered at area hospitals to get them things like food and clothes in their time of need. Moses Lake hotels banded together to get them rooms, and the elementary school in George opened their doors for a potluck for the students. Businesses in the area and regular citizens showed the UW students what Eastern Washington values are all about. In fact, the WSU band learned the UW fight song the morning of the game since the students couldn’t make it. I want thank Lisa Karstetter and Sma Krauscheid for their leadership during that time. I’m so thankful to all of the first responders, many of whom are volunteers, and residents of our communities for stepping up in a big way.

Looking ahead to 2019

Things are starting to get busy as the 2019 legislative session approaches. I recently was re-elected by my Senate Republican colleagues to serve as the Caucus Vice Chair. In that role, I assist running our meetings as part of the leadership team. I will continue my role as the ranking member on the Senate’s water and agricultural committee.

Over the interim (the period between legislative sessions), I’ve been busy on a number of issues, including working with stakeholders on addressing affordable housing in rural parts of our state. Right now, the state’s housing investments are heavily concentrated in the Puget Sound area, but the reality is that the homelessness and housing affordability crisis is happening in our communities, too. I’m exploring ways so we can more efficiently and fairly distribute those tax dollars to build more affordable housing units in rural Washington, in addition to reforming the state’s outdated regulations that restrict housing supply.

I’ll be sure to send more updates on these policies soon.

This past week we’ve had a lot of news coming out of Olympia. A strong economy has meant the state is expected to take in record amounts of tax revenue, about $50 billion. That is much more than we expected when we approved the last budget in 2017. I firmly believe we can make any investments with the considerable resources you’ve already sent state government.

However, the Governor’s recently unveiled budget takes a starkly different approach. He is proposing an additional 20 percent increase in state spending paid for with an unconstitutional income tax, increased taxes on small businesses and property tax hikes. We need to take a critical look at how the state is spending your money. Newspapers around the state have been saying we don’t need new taxes to fund the real priorities of state government. Read a recent editorial by the Walla Walla Union Bulletin entitled, New taxes shouldn’t be first approach to state budget.

On that note, I want your feedback. Please take a moment to fill out this short survey on what you’d like me to focus on during the upcoming legislative session. Click here to be taken to the survey.

Warnick CommitteeWater Update

As part of the Hirst negotiations, the legislative fix included creating task forces to look at specific water policies. One looks at a fix for cities that was a result of the the Foster court decision, and the other addresses the challenges faced by residents in Skagit County. We’ve held several meetings throughout the state to gain input from local residents on how to meet their water needs. I serve on both committees. You can get more information about that work at the following links.

TeannawayProvide your input, and community opportunities

There has been a lot happening in our district since I last wrote to you. Here are a few items with deadlines approaching.

First, the Teanaway Community Forest is a treasure in our district. There are conversations under way regarding the forest’s management plan. You can review conservation efforts and goals by clicking here.  In addition to the work of managing this resource, there is also an upcoming photography competition with prizes and opportunities to celebrate this great recreation spot. Please take a moment to read and share with anyone handy with a camera. Click here for more information.

Second, I serve on an advisory group related to high-speed travel in the Pacific Northwest. The group is met Dec. 10 in Portland, but is seeking input from residents for the study.

One of the key components is an ultra-high-speed transportation system aimed at reducing travel times between the Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C. from more than eight hours to less than two hours. Such a project could help create an international hub for innovative partnerships, significant job creation, and enhanced entertainment activities.

They’d like your feedback to help evaluate this type of ultra high-speed travel and are interested in learning about your own travel patterns and how you think they might change in the future. Please take 15 minutes and share your ideas with the project team. To participate in the survey, follow the link found on the WSDOT website at: bit.ly/ultra-high-speed-study

High tech in Quincy

Earlier this month, I was at George Elementary watching students show off their computer skills. It was part of a nationwide event hosted by Hour of Code to foster student interest in computer science. You can read a short article about it by clicking here.


And last but not least, Charter Communications is partnering with C-SPAN to bring you StudentCam. It is an annual student documentary competition, now in its 15th year. C-SPAN is asking middle and high school students to create a 5-6-minute video documentary, challenging them to think critically about issues of national significance, related to the theme: “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AMERICAN? Choose a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience.”

Please help spread the word about this year’s contest with students you know.

The C-SPAN Education Foundation awards 150 student and 53 teacher prizes, totaling $100,000 in cash. All student winners will receive cash prizes ranging from $250-$5,000, and teachers who are listed as faculty advisors will have a chance to win cash prizes as well. The deadline is Jan. 20, 2019 and winners will be announced in March.

Charter Communications will work with C-SPAN to host an event celebrating local winning students. We will let you know about any student winners and invite you to publicly congratulate these young scholars at that time.

This is a great educational opportunity for students in your community to engage in current events and politics.

For more information on the competition, visit www.studentcam.org.

Work with me in Olympia

During the legislative session, young people ages 14-17 can work with me as a Page. It’s a week-long program where students get a behind-the-scenes experience of state government. Click here for more information and how to apply.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any concerns or ideas you may have. I look forward to connecting with you around the district. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Judy Warnick,

Your 13th District State Senator