Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'm in Olympia now for the 2014 legislative session. While there are important issues like health care, education outcomes, transportation and public safety to discuss, I'm confident the Legislature will finish its work within the allotted 60 days and adjourn on time. There is no reason to spend more taxpayer dollars on additional special sessions this year and I'll continue to remind my colleagues in the Legislature of this truth whenever I can!
Staying involved – staying connected
I want to make sure you have every opportunity to be involved in what goes on in Olympia. This is YOUR government. Accessibility to the legislative information and action is paramount to being an involved citizenry. Here are a few ways you can stay connected this year:
- Capitol Buzz – A daily electronic clip service of House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
- The Current – An online publication from House Republicans to include you in the legislative process. Click here to subscribe.
- Capitol Report – A three-minute weekly radio program (aired weekly on KSVR in the Skagit Valley) that discusses current issues of the 39th District and the state. Click here to sign up for my RSS podcast. You can also get all of the Washington House Republican Capitol Report programs on your iPhone and iPad through the iTunes store by clicking here.
- Check out my Web site – www.representativeelizabethscott.com. From this link, you can get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live. You can also watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet: www.tvw.org
- Legislature's Web site – You can get bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov
Please share this e-newsletter with everyone you know and encourage them to sign up for it from my Web site at: www.representativeelizabethscott.com.
Unlike the last several years, the Legislature enters this session WITHOUT a significant budget shortfall. In fact, the latest information about our state's 2013-15 biennial budget shows that we're projected to have an ending fund balance of around $377 million. This will provide budget writers with plenty of revenue to make the statutory changes needed in the 2014 supplemental budget (caseload adjustments, etc.). The supplemental budget is used to make the small adjustments necessary so that we stay within current revenues and we continue to meet our obligations, it is NOT intended to add new programs, increase spending or embark on new ideas with questionable costs.
However, if you watched Gov. Jay Insee's State of the State Address last week, you know that he's proposed a litany of new programs and new spending. I want to reiterate: Now is not the time to enact such large spending increases! Our hardworking taxpayers don't need an additional tax burden.
If you want more information on the three budgets – operating, transportation and capital – click here for a quick summary on each.
In my last update to you before session, I outlined my reasons behind sponsoring House Bill 2133, my student privacy legislation. Since then, it had a public hearing and has received attention from several media sources and research organizations. If you want to read an article from the School Library Journal, click here. For a story from KUOW radio, click here or a story from USA Today, click here. To check out what the Washington Policy Center's Liv Finne said about my bill, click here.
Another one of my bills received a public hearing this morning. House Bill 2191 would begin to reign in the outlandish inspections of child care facilities by the Department of Early Learning (DEL). As many of you know, this state agency is completely out of control. My bill says DEL cannot require standards above and beyond what is required by the local fire marshal and would prevent DEL from punishing facilities that meet local fire-safety codes. It also puts greater parameters around DEL for their inspections and provides facilities some financial recourse if their business suffers financially due to DEL's actions when stepping outside their authority.
Join Rep. Kristiansen and me for a telephone town hall meeting!
On Thursday, Feb. 6, my seatmate, Rep. Dan Kristiansen and I will be holding a telephone town hall meeting for all 39th District citizens. Please dial toll-free 1-800-759-5313 to participate. These forums act like a radio call-in show and serve as an excellent way for us to communicate with folks back home while we're in session. You can take part in answering our survey, ask questions over the phone, or just listen in from the comfort of your own home. These events have proven very successful in the past. I hope you can join us.
This week we celebrated Kids' Day and Martin Luther King Day at the state Capitol. It was a joy to once again have my family join me on the House floor in Olympia. I told my colleagues that my daughter Libby is thinking about becoming a state Representative one day! What a blessing to live in a country where a young child can aspire to lead through public service and have it not be considered a pipe dream!
I also participated in the annual March for Life event at the Capitol steps yesterday. I joined other lawmakers and about 4,500 concerned citizens who believe we have an obligation to stand up for the unborn. I understand that this position is not popular with some, but I will never apologize for my belief that life is a sacred gift from our Creator and that abortion is one of our nation's greatest sins. In that light, I continue to fight against House Bill 2148, the abortion mandate bill which would require all health insurance plans to cover abortions if they also cover maternity care. I hope you'll stand with me in this effort.
Thank you for placing your trust in me to be your voice in the Legislature. And thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. If you have questions, comments or concerns about state government or issues impacting our local communities, please don't hesitate to contact my office.
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7816 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000