Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With many successes, disappointments and historic accomplishments, we've reached the conclusion of our 60-day regular session and 20-day special session. In this email update, I would like to share with you an end of session review.
2016 Legislative Review
Legislative Successes –
Here are the successes of the Legislature:
- Passed bipartisan, true supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets
- Saved public charter schools
- Addressed Washington State Patrol recruitment, retention and pay raises
- Created forest resiliency burning pilot project
- Held the WSDOT secretary accountable for agency failures
Economic growth is an essential component in the success of our agricultural industry. The ability to connect with and move our goods and commodities across county, district and state lines is imperative to our economic development. As a freshman legislator, it was an honor to pass my first legislation this session to harmonize the weight limits between two states – Port of Lewiston, Idaho and Port of Whitman, Washington – to facilitate the movement of heavy equipment being shipped through our river system. This legislation will take effect on January 1, 2017.
Through the supplemental capital budget, the 9th District was fortunate to have funding provided for the following projects:
- In efforts to keep our children dry, warm and safe during the school year, the Oakesdale School will receive $216,000 for necessary roof and boiler repairs.
- The Port of Garfield in Pomeroy is a key point on the Snake River for both recreation and agricultural movement. With funding of $322,648, improvements will be made at Pomeroy Grain Growers to extend parking around the boat ramp. Funds will be used to expand, pave and provide more space for boaters to access the river and to alleviate transport of grain trucks using the Port of Garfield terminal.
Legislative Shortfalls –
Here are bills that were supported but didn't reach the governor's desk:
- 2/3rds constitutional amendment for tax increases to voters (HJR 4215)
- Allow GPS use by wildland firefighters (HB 2924)
- Empower communities to make economic development a priority in GMA planning (HB 2719)
- Help churches shelter homeless people (HB 2929)
- School siting, reduce school construction costs (HB 1420, 2377, 2586)
9th District Shortfalls –
The short 60-day session did not provide enough time to carry my bill to support local suppression of wildfires through the legislative process. Our unmet goal was to create a new account to be used to fund immediate, local fire suppression response by local agencies. The new Local Wildland Fire Suppression Account would've been managed by the state Department of Natural Resources and funded through an appropriation through the Legislature. There is still work to be done on this bill with DNR, local jurisdictions and other stakeholders. I will continue to work hard with everyone involved during the interim so it can be successfully reintroduced in the 2017 session.
As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my email updates. Please feel free to share my email updates with your family, friends and neighbors. Because I am running for re-election in November to continue representing you in the Legislature, my communications will be put under an election year freeze. This freeze only restricts the communications I send to you; however, I am not restricted from responding to your emails, phone calls and messages. I am also not restricted from having in-person meetings with you. Please continue to reach out to me as you normally would.
I am honored and humbled to serve as your state representative in the Legislature. It is truly a privilege.