Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Time has flown by! There are less than 10 days left in the 2016 legislative session. The final pieces of the puzzle will fall into place fast. I'm looking forward to sharing information with you on the final details of the supplemental budget, and passage of my bills.
After nearly 50 amendments and three-plus hours of debating the supplemental operating budget on the floor, I ultimately had to vote 'no.' There are some good things in this budget, but I could not throw my support behind it for a number of reasons:
- It relies too heavily on the rainy day fund for non-emergency spending.
- It calls for $120 million in tax increases, many of which have been rejected in the past like repealing the nonresident sales and use tax exemption. The economic revenue forecast just released this month is proof enough that our state's economy is still fragile. The last thing our state needs is more taxes.
- It's a supplemental year. A supplemental budget is meant for small adjustments to the two-year spending plan. We should not be increasing the size of state government.
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus' budget proposal is more balanced, doesn't rely on new tax increases, and does not drain the rainy day fund.
I'm hopeful budget negotiators can agree on a fiscally responsible approach so I may be able to support the budget on final passage in the coming days.
The Yes Vets program had it's White Salmon launch Monday. I wished I could have made it to the event, but the legislative session prevented me from doing so. I appreciate everyone who was able to make it to the event, and for the hard work and time dedicated by our wonderful hosts.
You can learn more about the program and participate by visiting the official website: https://esd.wa.gov/yesvets. You can follow the program's success on Facebook, too! I hope this program takes off and stands as example to other states. We must make our veterans a priority.
An update on my legislation
Five of my bills are still alive and are awaiting further consideration in the Senate:
- House Bill 2287 (the Travis Alert Act)
- House Bill 2391 (county payroll draw days)
- House Bill 2639 (school-bus rider safety)
- House Bill 2711 (sexual assault nurse examiners)
- House Bill 2970 (voyeurism)
I continue working on my Erin's Law legislation. As a former varsity coach and a mom, keeping our children safe is important to me.
As we round out the final days of the 2016 legislative session, please don't hesitate to contact me with your ideas, questions and concerns.
Honored to serve you,