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It's hard to believe, but the 60-day legislative session is almost a third over. The pace of these “short” sessions is always fast, with a lot happening each day. I wanted to provide a quick update on some of the issues state lawmakers are considering and invite you to share any feedback you might have. Thank you for reading on.
Supplemental state budgets
The primary responsibility of the Legislature this year is to pass supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. These are midcourse adjustments to our two-year state budgets that fund important programs, services and projects across our state. You can learn more about these budgets here.
I'll continue to work in bipartisan fashion on the capital budget to build on the historic investments made last year in our mental and behavioral health systems. I'll also support efforts to implement $30 car tabs, like voters said they wanted last November, and find an alternative source for critical transportation funding and needs – without raising your taxes.
Other important issues
Here are some other important issues state lawmakers will be considering this legislative session:
- Gun rights.
- Property rights.
- Carbon and the environment.
- Education, including sex education in schools.
Low-carbon fuel standard
I care deeply about our environment – including the air we breathe and the life-giving water we depend on. I have supported, and at times led, efforts to safeguard our environment – including cleaning up toxic sites, removing legacy nets and derelict vessels from our waterways, clearing fish passages, addressing oil train safety, and making sure our water and fish are free of synthetic and pharmaceutical runoff. We must preserve our environment for the generations to come.
However, I will not support proposals that claim to help our
environment, but really do not, and come at great costs to individuals,
families and businesses. That's why I voted against House
Bill 1110 on Wednesday. The measure would authorize the state Department of
Ecology to create a clean fuels program, by rule, to reduce the carbon
intensity of transportation fuels per unit.
This new program would be regressive and hurt rural residents and those who can least afford it financially – through higher costs for gas and products. It would also come at a great cost to our state's economy and businesses – with very little benefit to our environment. And if there was one strong message from last November it's this: People want fewer costs related to transportation – not more.
House Bill 1110 also passed out of the House in the 2019 legislative session, but died in the Senate. I hope it can again be stopped this year.
Online data privacy
As I mentioned in my last email
update, online data privacy is a critical issue that impacts all
Washingtonians. As the ranking member on the House
Innovation, Technology and Economic Development Committee, I'm directly
involved with these proposals. And a lot is at stake.
It's so important our laws evolve to protect and safeguard our rights. We must create a construct of trust where we can actively participate in a digital economy. That's why I'm sponsoring legislation that would grant rights to empower the consumer, define corporate responsibilities and provide strong enforcement mechanisms under Washington State's Consumer Protection Act.
I talked about online data privacy with Rep. Zack Hudgins on TVW's The Impact this week. Zack and I, despite being from different political parties, work closely together and agree on a lot of issues. You can watch our conversation with TVW's Mike McClanahan here.
Thank you for the feedback
I mailed out a letter at the beginning of the year and asked the question: What do you think state lawmakers should be focused on this year? I have already received around 430 responses. Here is some of the feedback, verbatim, I received from residents of the 10th District:
- Richard: “I applaud your focus regarding online privacy and data protection.”
- Connie: “I am very concerned about our state's funding of the care for Medicaid patients in nursing homes.”
- Jeff: “Stop the partisan bickering and go to work for all people of Washington.”
- Concerned Citizen WA State: “Just do your job. Term limits both State & U.S.”
- Sara: “I disagree with your stance on Ferguson's lawsuit re: NASWI – Growler noise.”
- Anonymous: “People voted for I-976 & Legislature has the nerve to try to stop it. They don't care about the people.”
- Phil: “State spending is out of control – We have to live within a budget, so should the state.”
- David: “Taxes are getting ridiculous in Washington. My wife and I are struggling to pay our property taxes.”
- Alan: “No income tax in WA!”
- Cheri: “Environment. Environment. Environment.”
- John: “Climate change is the most important issue facing the planet.”
- Roger: “Education is a must, but free college is not wise.”
- Anonymous: “Don't penalize those who can't afford to live near their work by imposing a mileage tax on them. This penalizes the poor and is very regressive.”
- Laurel: “No new gun laws!”
- Connie: “I agree with the nice pay raise most districts awarded teacher last year – They deserve it.”
- Erica: “Keep the ferry system in good order!”
- David: “Affordable housing is number 1! Rent keeps going up and up!”
I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who responded to both my recent mailer and my November email update (“With the 2020 session right around the corner, I invite you to take my legislative priorities survey”). Your input is so valuable to me as I consider issues and vote on legislation. And your involvement in the legislative process matters.
You are always welcome to share your ideas with me by a call, email, letter or meeting. My contact information is below. I look forward to hearing from you.
It is an honor to serve you.
435 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7884 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000