Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I’m back in Olympia for the 2018 Legislative Session. The 60-day session began this Monday at a breakneck pace.
Just one day into the session, and the Senate’s new Democratic majority’s first official action was to repeal the 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases. I hate to say it, but this action may be a harbinger of things to come.
After the pomp and circumstance of Monday’s opening-day ceremonies, Governor Jay Inslee delivered his State of the State address on Tuesday. The centerpiece of the Governor’s speech was his proposed $20 per metric ton carbon tax, which would increase taxes by about $3.3 billion over four years. Consumers would see an increase in the cost of fuel by 6-9 percent, the cost of home utilities by 4-5 percent, and the cost of natural gas used in homes by 10 percent. Seattle-area residents would see the smallest increase since the bulk of their power comes from renewable hydro sources.
I was disappointed that the Governor made no mention of a fix for the Hirst Decision in his speech, but I am optimistic that the Senate and House can finally agree to a fix. Encouraging news came yesterday, when the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee unanimously passed a bipartisan compromise bill to address Hirst, but there is still a lot of heavy lifting to do.
I am serving on two committees this year: Labor & Commerce and Law & Justice. I am excited about being on both these committees because they provide me a platform to continue my work on creating policies that encourage economic growth and protect the citizens of the state of Washington.
I’ve introduced several new bills this session and will also continue to work on some of my holdover bills from last session. I’d like to highlight a few of those bills here.
SB 5525 – The Mental Health for Heroes Act helps military personnel, veterans, and their families by providing a full-time counselor specializing in their unique mental health needs at each of our four-year institutions.
SB 6119 – I recently learned that state law does not allow community and technical colleges to protect their campuses in the same manner as we allow our common schools and four-year institutions with regard to a police presence. This bill will correct that deficiency and provide equal levels of protection for all Washington students.
SB 6292 – Provides domestic violence victims with an additional level of protection by updating our electronic monitoring statutes to include modern technology victim notification systems.
SB 6293 – I’ve spent the past three years working with a very tenacious constituent and the Washington State Patrol to come up with a solution to the persistent problem of vehicles being illegally licensed in other states. There are an estimated 20,000 vehicles in Clark County registered in Oregon to avoid taxes. The Department of Revenue estimates $16 million in sales tax revenue is lost annually due to this fraudulent activity. This bill creates a deferred prosecution pilot program to incentivize license cheaters to do the right thing, while still holding them accountable for breaking the law.
For a complete list of all my sponsored bills, take a look here.
As your state senator, I welcome your input. If you have questions, ideas, or concerns about any of the issues mentioned in this update, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can call my office at 360.786.7632 or send me an e-mail to Lynda.Wilson@leg.wa.gov I’d love to hear from you!
Yours in service,