Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Yesterday in Olympia, we kicked-off the 2014 Legislative Session which is scheduled to end on March 13. Thank you for allowing me to represent you again this year. I am looking forward to the challenge and believe we can make great strides for the state of Washington. My fellow legislators and I are hopeful there will be no need for a special session and the legislature will adjourn on time.
Unfortunately, I am unhappy with the how the process has started this year. Ceremonies quickly turned into unnecessary political maneuvering. Without prior notice, the house Majority Leadership re-introduced a bill from last year within minutes of the official start of session. House Bill 1817, adds eligibility criteria for higher education financial aid more commonly known as “the Dream Act.”
The legislation passed 71-23 off the House floor. The sudden and unannounced introduction of the legislation technically followed the House rules but violated the spirit of transparency in government process. There are nine new members of the House of Representatives who had never reviewed this legislation. This bill should have gone through the public process again. I voted “no” because I believe our limited resources should go to fund the education of our citizens first. For more information about my vote and the history of this bill please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the next 60 days, I will be sending e-newsletters like this one every week. In these emails, I will include information on upcoming legislation pending in committee and scheduled hearings which you can attend. I will also update you on legislation I have drafted and my goals for this legislative session.
A bill I have prime-sponsored will have a hearing on Thursday. House Bill 2099 will help the timber industry in our state by extending the expiration date for reporting requirements on timber purchases. The legislation will be heard in the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources at 8:00 a.m. on January 16.
Below is a list of legislation being considered in committees this week you may be interested in:
- House Bill 2116 – Would reduce the penalty for possession of controlled substances.The bill was heard in House Public Safety Committee today. I am currently discussing the repercussions of this bill with local law enforcement. I do not believe it is necessary to reduce the criminal penalty for drug crimes. The drugs in question are dangerous and need to be kept out of the hands of our youth.
- House Bill 2112 – Would allow renewable energy credits allocated through the BPA's Residential Exchange Program to qualify as an eligible renewable resource. The bill was heard in House Committee on Technology & Economic Development Committee today. This is a long overdue concept that I fully support. Hydro-power is one of the most abundant and clean forms of energy that we have. It is the type of energy that helps to make the Northwest attractive to business interests, and helps to keep electricity costs low for our citizens.
- House Bill 2096 – Would exempt certain transportation projects from the state environmental policy act. This bill hasn't been scheduled for a hearing – I will keep you posted about its progress. This legislation will help reduce the cost of transportation projects in Washington State by eliminating a process that can require local jurisdictions to complete duplicative environmental impact statements for one project. I am proud to co-sponsor this bill.
Please pass along this e-mail to others you may think are interested. They can sign-up for my mailing list here.
While in Olympia I keep the priorities of our communities back home at the forefront of my mind. You are welcome to visit me in Olympia anytime. I am here to be a resource for you.