Dear Friends and Neighbors,
There are four days remaining in the 2015 legislative session, and negotiations are still ongoing regarding the operating budget, capital budget and transportation package. If negotiators from the House and Senate do not reach an agreement on all three by the April 26 deadline, we will likely be headed into a special session. I mentioned some of the differences in the House and Senate operating budget proposals in my last update, but here is a more detailed look.
I appreciate that both budgets make significant investments in K-12 education to meet our McCleary obligation, but at a time when we have $3 billion in additional revenue for the 2015-17 biennium, raising taxes should be the last resort. I also believe it is time to cut tuition, as opposed to simply freezing it. The Legislature has frozen tuition the last two years, but students today are still footing 62 percent of the bill. We should seize the opportunity to lower tuition for students for the first time since the 1970s.
An update on my bills
House Bill 1316 is currently in the concurrence process, which is the final stage it must go through before being sent to the governor's desk. The bill would place temporary protection orders for elderly adults on par with other protection orders, and would require a police officer to arrest someone the officer has probable cause to believe has violated temporary protection orders.
House Bill 1554 was signed by Gov. Inslee earlier today. The bill protects children's privacy in public records requests by exempting their guardians or family members from being included in the public record. The city of Fife found this loophole in existing law, and it was an honor working closely with them and my fellow legislators to fix this oversight and get HB 1554 signed into law.
Rep. Zeiger's House Bill 1313 signed into law
I was proud to co-sponsor Rep. Hans Zeiger's House Bill 1313, which was signed into law by the governor yesterday. I had the opportunity to attend the bill signing.
House Bill 1313 authorizes fire protection districts and regional fire protection authorities to adopt biennial budgets with mid-biennium reviews and modifications for the second year of the biennium. This will create more time savings and allow fire district commissioners to have a more long-term focus while creating their budgets.
The bill was requested by the Central Pierce County Fire and Rescue District.
2015 Daffodil Parade
The 2015 Daffodil Parade was held on Saturday, April 11. I began the day judging parade floats from across the Pacific Northwest, and then walked through the Puyallup portion of the parade with Sen. Dammeier. I enjoyed saying 'hi' to the many familiar faces in the crowd that lined the parade route.
The parade went through four cities – Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting – and was a great showcase of our strong community, local businesses, and talented marching bands.
Speaking at the Connections for Women breakfast
I recently had the opportunity to be the main speaker at the Connections for Women Breakfast. Connections for Women is an organization dedicated to promoting and empowering female business entrepreneurs. This dynamic group has been meeting in Olympia for the past 18 years. I shared about being a small business owner, the path that led me to the Legislature, and my experience during my first legislative session. I want to thank Connections for Women for inviting me to speak.
House Page Program
This week, I've had the privilege of hosting Kalles Junior High student Anna Hogenson as a House page. Anna is a leadership student at Kalles, and has played competitive volleyball for several years. She is currently the captain of the Kalles varsity volleyball team. This week, Anna has attended page school every day, learned the inner workings of state government and assisted legislators on the House floor. I want to thank her for all of her hard work!
To become a page, applicants must have a legislative sponsor, be between the ages of 14 and 16, and obtain written permission from their parents and school. For more information about the House Page Program, click here.
Please continue to contact me in these last few days of session. If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at (360) 786-7948.
It is an honor to serve you in the state House of Representatives.