Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Upcoming public hearings
Here are a few bills and work sessions being heard in Olympia this week. Please note I do not necessarily support all of these. I share this information to keep you informed and give you the opportunity to testify or offer your comments:
- Public hearing on HB 1059, concerning the treatment and release of sexually violent predators. Public Safety @ 8 a.m.
- Public hearing on HB 1099, providing consumers the option to cancel contracts over the Internet when entered into on the Internet. Judiciary @ 10 a.m.
- Work session on Common Core and assessments. Education @ 1:30 p.m.
- Work session on the governor's revenue-related budget components. Finance @ 3:30 p.m.
- Public hearing on HB 1093, concerning the use of unmanned aircraft systems. Technology & Economic Development @ 8 a.m.
- Work session on college affordability. Higher Education @ 1:30 p.m.
- Work session for an update on recent WSDOT mega projects. Transportation @ 3:30 p.m.
- Public hearing on HB 1161, indexing senior citizen property tax exemption eligibility to inflation. Finance @ 8 a.m.
Click on the bill links above and select “comment on this bill” to offer your feedback online. Committee meeting agendas can change, so be sure to check leg.wa.gov for the most up-to-date information. You can watch all of these events, and more, on TVW.
The 2015 legislative session officially began Monday, Jan. 12. I and my 18th District colleagues were sworn in, along with fellow House and Senate legislators. We have a lot to accomplish as a state, but I'm hopeful with 105 days scheduled for this session we can get the job done!
On Tuesday, the governor delivered his State of the State speech. Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, issued our caucus' response, which you can watch here.
While I can surely agree with the ideas of a healthy environment and prosperity for all Washingtonians, the governor's desire to add billions of dollars in additional taxes is the wrong approach. Our state will have $3 billion in additional revenue compared to the previous budget. This is an increase of roughly 8 percent over the preceding two years. Most families and business would be ecstatic with these kinds of numbers. The growth rate of our state government is much higher than the growth of our economy and wages. We must live within our means and enact wise reforms to be proper stewards of the state budget and protect our economic prosperity.
Gov. Inslee's budget proposals contain several damaging tax increases, including: capital gains tax, a cap-and-trade scheme, bottled water tax, cigarette/e-cigarette tax, and B&O tax increases. I believe the governor has missed a critical opportunity to constructively examine the budget for improving efficiency and increasing cost-savings. This year's budget should be about finding innovative, proactive solutions to our budget difficulties instead of reacting with irresponsible tax increases.
I'll be updating you periodically throughout session to let you know what's happening in Olympia and how it affects you at home. Don't forget to call, write or e-mail me with any questions or ideas you have about state government. I really do appreciate you reaching out to me and providing feedback on how the Legislature can improve. Having your voice heard is essential to effective representation.
If you have friends or family that you think would be interested in receiving these updates, feel free to forward this e-mail. Anyone who is interested can sign up by logging onto my website and entering their e-mail address at the top of the page.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you. And go Hawks!