Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
We are finishing the fourth week of the 2015 legislative session and I am working hard in my committees on bills that make sense for our district and state. I am focusing on common-sense policies that grow jobs, improve our state’s education system and protects our agriculture producers and public resources.
13th District State Senator
Testifying on bills gets easier
Trekking to the Capitol to comment on legislation can be difficult even for a seasoned Olympia watchers. The Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee is making the process easier. My committee utilized new technology to connect constituents with the legislative process via remote testimony. At designated locations throughout the state people can testify on legislation using video conferencing technology. Please click here for more information.
I’m very excited to chair one of the first committees to accept remote testimony. The issues we are working on affect the entire state and it is difficult for our friends east of the mountains to travel and provide their input. Constituents’ views are important and this is another needed tool to engage the public and hear different perspectives.
I’ve just been notified that our district has found another location for concerned citizens to remotely testify on legislation: Big Bend Community College will soon be a viable remote testimony location. I will provide more information on opportunities to engage in the legislative process as they become available.
Ivory trafficking bill misguided
I have been receiving many emails and calls about Senate Bill 5241 concerning ivory trafficking. Thank you for contacting my office to express your views. I do not support the illegal trafficking or poaching of animals for their ivory. We have strong federal and international laws that already prohibit these activities. We do not have an illicit ivory trade in our state and this legislation would criminalize or penalize average people for owning antiques, working on pianos or gun and knife collectors. It would in effect require people who own ivory to prove that it wasn’t poached. Although I agree with the intent of this bill, I have serious concerns about its effects on our citizens and its lack of ability to actually addressing the problem of poaching.
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It is an honor to serve as your senator. We are in the fourth week of the 2015 legislative session and I am working to represent your priorities like investing in education, keeping taxes low and bettering the economy to encourage job opportunities in our community.
This year we have to make a new budget for the next two years. Thankfully we have $3 billion more than in our last budget and I believe we should utilize those dollars responsibly. Raising taxes should be our last option. This session will be a challenge but I am ready to work with my colleagues in the Senate to bring collaborative solutions.