Update from Olympia
Greetings Friends & Neighbors
There are only three days left in the 2015 legislative session and House Democrats are calling it quits before we meet our statutory deadline on April 26. They have failed to bring their proposed tax increases to a vote for their budget proposal that won’t balance without an increase of $1.5 billion in new taxes.
This is unfortunate because delaying a budget means significant hardships for schools, teachers and students across the state. We continue to wait for the House to come to the negotiating table with a complete budget, not just a wish list.
Successful leaders do not write checks they are not prepared to cover. The House budget is like writing a check without the money in the bank to cover it.
We encourage them to drop their needless push for more revenue and support a sustainable budget which meets the needs of our state without new taxes.
Gift of Life
Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5532 into law. This bill makes changes to the ‘Gift of Life’ award that was created in 1998 to recognize the special generosity of those who donate their organs. This law directs the governor’s office to annually present this award to families of donors. This law recognizes people for “the greatest act of kindness in donating organs to save the lives of others,” as the awards are inscribed.
Representing you in Olympia
The most important part of my job as a legislator is representing you in the state’s capitol. I am committed to ensuring your priorities get the attention they deserve. Here are some of the priorities in the transportation and capital budgets that I am working on so that our community has the resources it needs to grow and flourish.
Last Tuesday the state Senate approved a bipartisan capital-budget proposal for 2015-17. This proposal builds over 2,100 classrooms, devotes $60 million to local-government infrastructure projects statewide and invests in state parks and trails. In addition, this plan would boost local investments, create jobs and promote significant economic development.
I was pleased that significant projects, totaling over $65 million for the 10th Legislative District were included in the Senate’s capital budget. Our community would see investments for local government such as $2.5 million for the Oak Harbor Clean Water Facility and community programs like $1.2 million for the Stanwood Camano Family YMCA.
The capital budget proposed by the Senate also makes significant investments toward conservation efforts with $500,000 for Glendale Shoreline Access and Restoration, over $1 million for farm land preservation in Skagit County and the Whidbey-Camano land trust, and roughly $36 million for various state Conservation Commission projects.
You can click here to view a list of projects and locations that are funded in the Senate’s proposed capital budget. As we head into the special session, I will continue working to keep these priorities in the final budget.
Legislature passes Bailey bill adding Everett Community College to loan program
Senate Bill 5746, was approved nearly unanimously which adds Everett Community College to a list of approved aerospace training and educational programs eligible for the Aerospace Training Student Loan Program. This program offers low-interest student loans for those studying to work in the aerospace industry.
Our state has great talent and the aerospace industry is such a large part of our community. Senate Bill 5746 expands opportunities for people right here at home.
A recent report by the Washington Roundtable, a non-partisan think tank, notes that 25,000 jobs go unfilled every year due to lack of qualified candidates. Most of these jobs are in the technology and engineering fields.
As chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, I have been working to increase alignment with college education and career opportunities to meet the demands of the 21st century economy. Expanding access to this loan program can mean a significant difference for our community in the aerospace industry.
Continuity of Operations Planning
The governor signed Senate Bill 5020/House Bill 1047 into law today. This law makes needed changes to allow state government to provide essential services in the event of a disaster or emergency. Governors Gregoire and Inslee have directed state agencies to maintain these plans however there has never been a statutory requirement. Led by the Washington Military Department and Adjutant General, the law will streamline our state’s efforts to respond effectively in a crisis situation.
It is an honor to serve as your state Senator.
10th Legislative District
109-B Irv Newhouse Bldg.
P.O. Box 40410, Olympia, WA 98504