Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This is the 48th day of the 60-day session. This week, budget proposals were released from the Senate and House Democrats. I’ll provide more information next week, but the good news is that the supplemental operating budget is very close to being adopted and the Legislature will likely complete its work on time.
I’m pleased the House capital budget proposal includes $2 million for emergency dam repairs on Moses Lake – I’m working to ensure the final version keeps this funding. I’m also working with local and state agencies to secure the remainder of the funding needed to complete this project. You can read more about it here.
Last week, Congressman Doc Hastings and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers paid a visit to Olympia. I was pleased to bring them into our caucus room to thank Doc for his 20 years of service as he plans to retire at the end of the year, and get an update from D.C. from both of them. See a photo of our meeting to the right.
Update on legislation
Two bills I’m working on to provide infrastructure and jobs in our smaller, rural communities are moving forward.
- House Bill 1484 would make adjustments to the Public Works Board to include public utility districts and water-sewer districts on the board and provide additional flexibility for special financial or emergency situations. The Board helps local communities finance critical infrastructure that protect public health, the environment and balanced growth with low-interest loans that are paid back to the state. The bill passed the House 92-5 and is now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
- House Bill 1260 would restructure and modernize the Community Economic Revitalization Board by: improving the board’s flexibility in providing loans, ensuring representation from both western and eastern Washington, and helping the board prioritize funding according to the greatest needs and largest benefit. While the legislation originally included a bad component dealing with median wage requirements, I’m pleased the Senate removed this component in committee, because the rest of the legislation is important. The bill passed the House 56-39 (when it included the bad component) and is now in the Senate Rules Committee, where it could be scheduled for a vote by the entire Senate soon.
I have heard from many of you who attended the town hall meeting about public safety issues in Grant County Wednesday night. I’m pleased to hear the community is engaged and looking for solutions together. Here in Olympia, I have introduced and supported several pieces of legislation to address gangs:
- House Bill 1729 would increase penalties for gang members who possess or commit crimes with firearms.
- House Bill 1730 would add drive-by shooting to the list of most serious offenses. (Basically it would make it eligible for one of the three “strikes”)
- House Bill 1731 would add unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree (committed one of the worst crimes) to “most serious offenses.” (Also making it eligible for one of the three “strikes”)
- House Bill 1732 would modify provisions relating to adjustments to standard sentences for offenders being sentenced for a criminal street gang-related offense.
Unfortunately, none of the bills received public hearings last year or this year. However, sometimes the best and most effective solutions don’t come from Olympia. I encourage community members to watch out for each other – to not be afraid to speak up when they see something, and to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement to keep their streets safe.
Made in Washington vehicles will get tax incentives
I was pleased to hear today that the state Department of Revenue has decided it will allow BMW i3s – made with carbon fiber made entirely at Moses Lake’s SGL plant – to qualify for a sales tax deduction. You can click here to read more about the original concern myself and Rep. Matt Manweller had with the agency’s original interpretation of the law.
As always, I appreciate hearing from you. Please continue to contact my office with questions, comments or concerns. It’s an honor to serve you.
13th Legislative District
Olympia Office (January-March)
427A Legislative Building – P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7932 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
District Office (March-December)
326 South Cedar Street, Suite A
Moses Lake, WA 98837