Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Upcoming public hearings
Here are a few bills being heard in Olympia in the coming 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:
Work session on welfare. Early Learning & Human Services @ 8 a.m.
SB 5081 — concerning transparency of government expenditures. State Government @ 10 a.m.
SB 5511 — reducing frequency of local sales and use tax changes. Finance @ 3:30 p.m.
SB 5777 — concerning whistleblower protection. State Government @ 8 a.m.
Work session on clean fuel standards. Environment @ 8 a.m.
HB 1938 — enacting the tourism marketing act. Finance @ 8 a.m.
Click on the bill links above and select “comment on this bill” to offer your feedback online.
The Legislature has passed the first major series of cutoffs this session. There are 41 days left of the 2015 legislative session.
Wednesday, March 11, was house of origin cutoff, meaning House bills that did not pass the House are now dead for the session. The same goes for Senate bills. However, legislation affecting the budget can be deemed NTIB, or “necessary to implement the budget” and are, therefore, immune from any legislative deadline this year.
If you were following any piece of legislation and are unsure of where it is now in the process, read our dead/alive bill list here. We keep this list updated throughout session.
Due to the tight party division in the House – 51 Democrats and 47 Republicans – we were able to prevent some bad policy bills from making it through the House so far this session. We have also yet to see the governor's cap-and-trade scheme, capital gains or other harmful measures make their way to the House floor.
The House sent more than 320 bills over to the Senate during the last week and a half. This week we will be resuming regular committee schedules and begin to consider Senate bills. As we examine these bills at the committee level, I hope you will call, write or email me any questions or concerns you may have. My direct contact information is below.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
My bill to help local high-tech companies passes the House
House Bill 1884, a bill I sponsored to expand the definition of an electric personal assistive mobility device, passed the House on a 96-1 vote March 9. This legislation would update current law on electric personal assistive mobility devices to include one-wheeled mobility devices. The existing statute only carved out provisions for Segways, two-wheeled mobility devices.
The bill would specifically assist two Camas-based companies in ensuring their innovations continue to be profitable and that consumers won't be wrongfully ticketed by law enforcement when using these companies' transport devices. The current law is unclear as to where people can ride these one-wheeled machines.
Several weeks ago, Andrew Ross of Inventist, Inc., creators of the solowheel, visited me in Olympia to discuss the bill. Inventist is one of the companies this bill would assist, along with Focus Designs, Inc., which created a self-balancing unicycle.
This bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee Wednesday, March 18, at 3:30 p.m. Click here for more information.
Take my survey
The Senate recently passed its $15 billion transportation tax package, which includes an incremental gas-tax increase to 11.7 cents to help fund 16 years-worth of projects, in addition to other fees. The Senate also paired this package with a series of reforms, including measures to streamline permitting, prioritize congestion relief and improved freight mobility, and requiring design-build, fixed-price contracts for state ferries.
I want to know your thoughts on this tax package. You can let me know how you feel about the proposal by taking this short survey.
Camas town hall meeting
On Saturday, March 14, I hosted a town hall meeting at the Camas Police Department. We covered a variety of topics, including oil train safety, transportation, and education funding and reforms. We also discussed the current state of our budget and what the extra $3 billion the state is expected to get for this next budgeting cycle – an 8.6 percent increase – means for 2015-17.
Thank you to everyone who made it out for the community event! If you weren't able to join us, I hope you will contact me with your questions, comments and concerns about legislation moving through the process. I look forward to hearing from you!