Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank all of you who were able to join Rep. Dan Kristiansen and me last night at our telephone town hall event. It had one of the highest participation rates our staff had ever seen! We had over 3,600 participants in total with around 820 folks on the line at one time. Our operators took 72 questions from you and we had a lively discussion on a variety of state and local issues. Thank you so much for being involved in your state government and for sharing your thoughts, questions and concerns with us.
Also, here are the results from our survey:
1) What issue is most important to you?
State spending (21.9%); Jobs/The Economy (21.3%); K-12 Education (13%); Health Care (13%); Other (12.4%); Transportation (11.2%); Environment (7.1%)
2) The governor is proposing a carbon tax on large employers like Boeing, and also on many large energy companies to pay for transportation and education. Knowing this will most likely raise the price of certain goods and services as well as energy prices, would you support the governor's plan?
NO (59.9%); Not sure, need more information (26.5%); YES (13.6%)
Last week, the House of Representatives approved an early action supplemental budget that taps into our state's rainy day fund – which takes a 60 percent vote – to provide relief for the communities devastated this past year by the Oso landslide and the Carlton Complex wildfires. It also allocates funding to pay for a homecare shared living lawsuit against the state that was costing taxpayers about $20,000 per day in interest payments. I supported this budget because in my mind, the tragic events of this past year are what lawmakers had in mind when creating the rainy day fund to begin with – truly unforeseen emergencies that impact state spending, not your normal ups and down in the economy or variances in tax collections.
This proposal was a bipartisan process from the start and hopefully bodes well and sets the stage for further cooperation in writing our state's 2015-17 operating budget. Remember, folks, we're expecting about $3 billion MORE in tax revenues than the last time we sat down to write an operating budget. We should be grateful to taxpayers for their hard work and resilience that has provided this significant uptick in state revenues. Frankly, I believe state government should refund the extra $3 billion that came in, and work on decreasing the overall burden on our hard-working citizens!
Who knew that my bill (House Bill 1479) to eliminate daylight savings time and have our state revert to Pacific Standard Time year-round would create such a media storm! Studies have shown that work accidents, heart attacks and emergency room visits go up noticeably after we change our clocks in the spring because our sleep patterns get interrupted. A few constituents brought this idea to me last summer and after researching the issue, I couldn't find a modern compelling reason to continue this antiquated practice. I introduced the bill to begin a discussion about our time changes and the media grabbed ahold of it and ran with it. Here's a quick rundown:
Click here for an article on KIRO Radio website (MyNorthwest.com)
Click here for an Associated Press article in The Columbian
Click here to listen to my segment with John Carlson on KOMO Radio
Click here to listen to my segment with Dori Monson on KIRO Radio
I also did a Skype interview with Global TV out of Vancouver, Canada, several other print interviews and a lengthy on-camera interview with Q-13 Fox News that hasn't aired yet to my knowledge. It has been a crazy, but fun, few days!
Many of you have contacted my office on varying issues and have spoken with my Legislative Assistant, Ashley. I decided to include her and our intern, Russell, in my latest video update here. They do an excellent job of keeping me informed and on schedule. I'm lucky to have them as part of the team.
If you continue watching that video update, you'll hear about a package of bills I've sponsored to keep valuable agricultural land from being converted to wetlands or fish habitat. We all know the value of agriculture land, but once you inundate it with saltwater it is effectively ruined for agriculture purposes. You can read an article in The Capital Press here.
I've also introduced House Bill 1687, the Washington State Life at Conception Act. We now know we have a beating heart at 21 days. My bill simply states – and recognizes – that life, and all the protections and rights associated with it, begins at conception.
You can also click here to see the 18 other bills I've been working on to address the bigger issues like Life, Liberty, Property and the Second Amendment!
Again, thank you so much for the honor of serving you in Olympia. Please keep the letter, phone calls and e-mails coming. Your voice is so important as I strive to represent you in the state House.
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7816 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000