E-NEWSLETTER: Survey says…

Hello, Friends and Neighbors!

Of the nine bills I’ve introduced this year, seven were still alive when the first deadline of the 2019 session arrived with the close of business today. Those include two already passed unanimously by the full Senate. I’m hoping to see votes on the remaining five over the next few weeks.

Representative Harris, Representative Kraft and I have chosen WSU-Vancouver for our upcoming town hall March 16. There will be much to discuss, because by then we will have a far better sense of which bills are still in play in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

To the hundreds of you who participated in my online transportation survey – thanks! We nearly got to 600 responses (final count: 597), which is a great turnout. Keep reading for more on the results.

Senate endorses Blaze Pink for Hunter Safety
When I was diagnosed this past fall with breast cancer, I decided to turn it into an opportunity for raising awareness of the importance of breast self-exams and regular mammograms. Part of that was using the hashtag #OnWednesdaysWeWearPink on related social-media posts – like on my Senate Facebook page.

I’ve greatly appreciated legislators and staff showing their support by wearing pink on “Wilson Wednesday” these past several weeks. This photo was taken in the Capitol Rotunda shortly after my Blaze Pink for Hunter Safety bill passed in the Senate.

The leaders in the Senate majority who set the calendar for floor votes took my pink-on-Wednesday theme to another level by purposely scheduling SB 5148 for a vote this past Wednesday. That’s my bill to let hunters in Washington wear blaze pink as their required high-visibility clothing, in addition to fluorescent orange.

In committee, a representative of the Hunters Heritage Council had testified about research which suggests pink is superior to orange when it comes to the visibility of hunters in the field — and more visibility equals a higher level of safety.  Click here for the news release and more details.

Two more of my bills are before the Senate Rules Committee, including SB 5150, to address the lack of proper campus security at Washington’s community and technical colleges. It doesn’t make sense that the public four-year colleges and universities can have their own security forces, and K-12 districts can have school resource officers on campus, but CTCs can’t maintain a law-enforcement presence on their campuses. For them, security should mean more than dialing 9-1-1.

Survey says: opinions vary about replacing the I-5 bridge
I’m not surprised by the strong response to my online transportation survey, which ran from January 18 through February 15. The topic of replacing the I-5 bridge between Washington and Oregon has been a hot one for years. And I’m also not surprised by how people answered most of the multiple-choice questions.

What priority would they put on replacing the I-5 bridge? “High” and “critical” accounted for nearly 3/4 of the replies. For more than 60%, the reason wasn’t safety or traffic congestion or freight mobility alone – it was the combination of the three. A majority didn’t see a third bridge over the Columbia as absolutely necessary. When asked the transit question, more people favored the idea of bus rapid transit over light rail. And the number who don’t want to pay tolls to fund a new I-5 bridge got close to 60% (there were 174 written responses to that question, and they were heavily against tolling – on top of the 167 who chose a different no-tolling answer).

I encourage you to click here for a look at the survey results in detail.

Frankly, the surprise came from the two questions I put at the beginning, to get a sense of who uses the bridge and why. Nearly 49% of the respondents don’t use the I-5 bridge for work, but for travel related to shopping or other activities. And nearly 44% said their travel is affected by the bridge only once in a while. I would have expected more use of the bridge for job commutes, and for travel to be affected more often.

Why I’m sometimes known this year as ‘Wilson, L.’
Our state has 147 legislators – 98 in the House, 49 in the Senate – and every so often, two of them have the same last name. When our state’s 30th Legislative District elected Claire Wilson as its senator in November, I knew it might become an issue; sure enough, there has been a bit of confusion among news reporters, and people phoning and e-mailing my office.

She’s a Democrat, I’m a Republican, and politically we’re pretty far apart. The tipping point came several days ago when a reporter listed this Senator Wilson as co-sponsoring a bill that could put some tourism-related employers out of business. No way was that me – I understand that a thriving private sector is essential to generating the revenue that supports important public services and programs. So if you see “Wilson” associated with legislation, it’s a good idea to look for a first name or at least an initial, as in this example.

Click here to see the list of bills I’ve introduced or am co-sponsoring. If you plan to come to the Capitol before the session ends on April 28, please let me know! I greatly appreciate all the e-mails and phone calls that have been coming from our district this year, and hope you’ll make a point of taking part in our March 16 town hall.

Yours in service,