Dear Friends and Neighbors,
There’s been a lot of news resulting from our work at the Legislature the past few weeks that I’d like to fill you in on. One of the bigger issues affecting our community is the beginning of the process to explore a new I-5 bridge. After all of the division over the poorly designed Columbia River Crossing a few years ago, there’s a lot of misconceptions about what this new process is and is not. Please read below what’s really going on.
Last week was an important bill cutoff date and today is another. I have a straightforward summary of where my bills are at and which ones are alive and dead.
If you have any questions about any of these issues, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at Lynda.Wilson@leg.wa.gov. I’m happy to help!
Yours in service,
“If you want to go far, go together”: Exploring a New I-5 Bridge
Recently, I came together with other members of the Clark County legislative delegation to introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation to explore a new I-5 bridge. Over the past year, I’ve been working with our delegation to get on the same page about how the process for developing a plan for a new bridge should go.
The meetings have been open to all Clark County legislators and the discussion has been centered on setting the ground rules for what a future project planning process might look like. There has been no project or plan, bridge or otherwise, that has been agreed upon. In fact, I think each member of the delegation probably has a different idea of what they would want a final project to look like at this point. The important part is that we’ve set the parameters of the discussion so that all views will be fairly considered.
Some who saw the news of this bill assumed it was a revival of the CRC. It is not. Some who saw the news assumed secret deals had been made on a new project. They have not. This bill only begins the process of exploring the possibility of a new project to address the traffic congestion we all have been affected by and makes sure it is done in a balanced way that involves all the key stakeholders, including you!
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
BILL NEWS: First Senate Bill Passed!
As a small business owner, I know the feeling of apprehension you get when the government shows up at your door unannounced. Why are they here? What are they looking for? Who do I contact to find that out?
That’s why I was proud to have my first bill passed in the Senate be the Small Business Bill of Rights. This legislation would make the rights of a business owner clear when the government shows up to inspect, audit, or enforce rules on them. It passed unanimously in the Senate and now proceeds to the House for consideration.
BILL NEWS: Protecting Military Recruiting Locations From Active Threats
Adjutant General of the Washington Military Department, Major General Bret Daugherty, brought to my attention that there have been ongoing, credible threats to military recruiting locations in Washington. After multiple deadly attacks on such locations in other states, I worked with him to provide the tools needed to secure our military recruiting locations.
My bill, SB 5405, 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.
The bill passed the State Government Committee last week and is scheduled to be passed in the Ways and Means Committee this afternoon.
BILL UPDATE: 20 of 21 Passed Committee
Right now, 20 of the 21 bills I introduced this year were passed out of their policy committee. Once bills have passed committee, they need to be passed by the Senate before they go to the House. Here are five of my bills that I’d like to highlight as they move forward in the next few weeks:
Enabling Freight Jobs
Property zoned for freight rail use is in low supply and high demand. By allowing certain types of rural and other lands to be used for freight rail expansion, we can potentially add hundreds or even thousands of jobs to our community.
Empowering Disaster Response Volunteers
Professional associations that provide volunteers when a natural disaster strikes should not be held liable for damages. It takes the entire community working together to recover from a major disaster. Freeing associations from this liability will keep them ready to come together when we call for their help.
Accountability for Government Agencies
The state has a committee to review state agency rules and actions, but it has a limited role even as our government agencies turn out more rules – whether they work for Washington citizens or not. My bill simply expands the ability of this committee to hold state agencies accountable for their work and protect our citizens from excessive state rule-making.
Keeping ORV purchases in WA
Because of Washington’s tax policies, we’re driving off-road vehicle (ORV) purchases across the border. This bill would allow Washington dealers to compete with Oregon and close the loophole that pushes people to look out-of-state for these purchases. It’s a win-win that will also help the state gain revenue.
Predictability in Land Use Applications
Developers, cities, and counties need predictability when they’re going through the process of determining how land is going to be used. This bill would help make a property owners vested rights clear in the law after a recent Supreme Court ruling created a lot of uncertainty.