Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’ve reached the end of the regular legislative session and the Senate has done its job to pass a responsible budget without new taxes that meets our constitutional demand to fund schools equitably for students and fairly for taxpayers.
We’re still waiting for the House to catch up.
There have been a number of great accomplishments this year to help small businesses, align education with careers, modernize business rules, streamline government, and overall protect the future of our community. The last step is to pass a smart and balanced budget.
The Senate’s budget sticks to these priorities:
- Balanced over the long-term
- No new taxes
- Prioritizes education
- Provides a great education for every student – no matter where they live
- Fair for taxpayers across the state
Unfortunately, the House is still dead-set on their budget priorities:
- $8 billion in unnecessary new taxes they refuse to vote on
- Prioritizes union pay increases
- Leaves in place an unconstitutional education funding system
- Protects an unfair and burdensome tax structure
Because the House has been unwilling to budge from these unworkable budget ideas and has even refused to vote on the billions in tax increases their budget relies on, we are headed into a special legislative session.
In the Senate, we’ve done our job and put forward a serious and responsible budget plan that protects taxpayers and puts kids first. Only when the Democrat-controlled House gets on board with a realistic budget can we reach a final agreement.
The Senate is ready to get the job done. We’re just waiting for the House to stop playing games!
Yours in service,
BILL UPDATE: Signed into Law
We’ve reached the final date for bills to pass in both chambers of the Legislature. Our remaining work this week is the concurrence process, which means negotiating the differences between the House and Senate on bills that were amended by either chamber. Five of my bills and four of my companion bills have already passed that hurdle and are on to the final step in the legislative process: being signed into law!
First Senate Bill Signed: SB 5185 – Empowering Disaster Response Volunteers
My Bills Headed to the Governor’s Desk!
SB 5285 – Aligning education guidance with ag/natural resources job market
SB 5338 – Keeping ORV purchases in Washington
SB 5665 – Modernizing small business alcohol purchasing rules
SB 5778 – Protecting veteran college tuition assistance
Allowing Clark County to Grow
On Sunday, The Columbian published my op-ed calling for the House of Representatives to pass much-needed solutions to our need for more affordable housing and economic development in Clark County.
To read the full op-ed, click here or below.
Local View: Anti-growth interests obstruct new jobs, affordable housing
Clark County is bursting at the seams. Anyone who lives here or even attempts to pass through traffic on Interstate 5 knows we have a major growth crunch driving up costs and driving out affordable housing. These are serious problems derived from good things happening — they’re signs of a growing and prosperous community.
Unfortunately, how the state responds to this growth may spell the end of that prosperity.
My Senate Page for the Week: Annalise Peterson
I was very pleased to welcome Annalise Peterson to Olympia this week as my Senate Page. Annalise is from Vancouver where she lives with her parents John and Laura Peterson and attends Cedar Tree Classical Christian School in Ridgefield. Her sister Alyssa was a page for me when I was in the House and Annalise wanted to come learn more about state government after hearing about her sister’s experience and getting involved with TeenPact Leadership Schools.
TeenPact offers students opportunities to gain experience and greater understanding of state government and politics, so Annalise came to the job already prepared with a good knowledge of the Legislature. She really seemed to enjoy her week here in Olympia and I’m glad Annalise was able to get more hands-on experience with the Legislature!
Meeting with the Consul General of Japan: Masahiro Omura
I had the great privilege of meeting with the Japanese Consul General Masahiro Omura recently and I really appreciated getting the chance to discuss the relationship between our state and his country.
This was a particularly special opportunity since Vancouver is a sister city to Joyo in Japan. Our connection to Japan is strong and it was a great chance to meet in-person with their representative in the US.
Honoring the National Guard
The Legislature recently had the honor of recognizing the National Guard and all they do to serve our communities. It’s because of their service to protect us that I’ve used my role as Senator to help give back and protect them from credible, active threats. That’s why I sponsored SB 5405, which would provide guarantees of adequate protection for National Guard facilities not based at a secure military installation. This includes locking devices, ballistic barriers, security cameras, armed security and other protections based on an assessment of threats and vulnerabilities.
While the Senate passed the bill and included it in our budget, the House failed to pass the bill. Despite this, we still may be able to get part of this job done in the final budget agreement. I’m working with the budget team to include the one-time expenses needed to provide these much-needed protections through a budget proviso. It all depends on the House being willing to work with us.