Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last Thursday, lawmakers approved the state's two-year construction budget. After more than a year of tough negotiations, we were able to approve a strong bipartisan state capital budget with more than $4.17 billion in infrastructure funding, and $2.72 billion in construction bonds. This budget will provide construction funding for parks, housing for low-income residents and veterans, prisons, colleges and universities, K-12 schools and other capital facilities and programs.
Capital budget | 2017 – 2019 biennium
K-12 school construction is prioritized with more than $933 million allocated for the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). These funds will help meet the record number of local school bond levy needs across our state. Additionally, more than $27 million will also be dedicated to career and technical education facilities – including STEM grants.
Working with my colleagues in the House, I was able to assist in securing several important local construction projects, including some much needed funding for Western State Hospital and several other local projects.
Here is a list of some of the projects approved for the 28th District:
Western State Hospital:
- $2.55 million – Windows security;
- $1.95 million – Roofing replacement;
- $1.7 million – East campus security fence;
- $1.56 million – Renovations;
- $1.5 million – (30) Forensic beds; and
- $400,000 – Master plan update.
Other local projects include:
- $2 million: McChord Airfield North Clear Zone, property purchase.
- $500,000: Lakewood Water District, water treatment mitigation.
- $60,000: Lakewood Playhouse lighting system upgrade and replacement.
- $26,000: Anderson Island Historical Society Archival Building.
- $31,000: Steilacoom Historical Museum Association Storage Building.
- $53,000: DuPont Historical Society Museum upgrade.
Click here to see a complete list of all the approved projects for the 28th District.
Update | We have a solution for Hirst!
For more than a year, lawmakers have been debating solutions for the state Supreme Court's Hirst decision. The uncertainty caused property values in many rural areas to plummet. I'm glad to report we were able to secure a long-term Hirst water and property rights fix.
Under the new law, all existing wells are grandfathered in. Depending on the Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA), there are some water usage limits of 950 – 3,000 gallons per day of indoor use for new wells. However, the new law will allow many property owners and developers to proceed with building on their land. This bipartisan bill is a big win for property owners across our state now, and for generations to come.
Video update | Amtrak derailment briefing with the House Transportation Committee
Watch my recent video update on the House Transportation Committee briefing regarding the Amtrak derailment and a status on my bill that will help ensure level-3 sex offenders are not released before they should be.
More taxes | Soda tax proposal
The city of Seattle is now heavily taxing a variety of sugar-sweetened beverages. While desiring a healthier populace is a noble goal, let's be clear, taxes don't make people healthier. Customers are simply making their purchases outside the city limits where people can purchase soda without paying the huge tax hike. Seattle's tax is 1.75¢/oz, which increases the cost of a 35-pack of soda from $10.99 to an average of $18.34. This almost doubles the price of soda. Seattle's new tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is particularly burdensome on the poor. The soda tax doesn't ease inequality – it's simply making the poor poorer.
Despite the large outcry by Seattle residents since this tax went into effect, a bill was introduced this session that would impose a soda tax statewide. The measure would cost even more than the tax being collected on the sale of soda in Seattle. This is outrageous. Whenever the government attempts to parent, rather than govern, it ends badly. We cannot, nor should we, legislate healthier diets.
My bill to allow the state to develop nuclear evacuation plans receives a public hearing
In 1984, a ban was placed on creating plans to evacuate or relocate people in advance of a possible nuclear attack. This restriction is puzzling to many of us. Today, we face the danger of attack from rogue nations that have the capability of developing long-range nuclear weapons.
The state Emergency Management Division currently has plans for many types of emergency scenarios: earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, serious winter storms. My bill will allow for the division to plan for a response in the case of a nuclear attack. It's common sense to have plans ready, no matter how remote the possibility, to help evacuate and relocate people should a nuclear attack occur. I recently testified on behalf of this legislation before the House Public Safety Committee. House Bill 2214 should be coming up for a vote in the coming weeks. Stay tuned. I will keep you updated on the progress of this important measure.
Town hall meeting | 28th District lawmakers to host community event
Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-University Place, Rep. Christine Kilduff, D-University Place, and I are inviting community members to attend a town hall meeting, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. This is a great opportunity for us to hear your questions and concerns about state government.
If you would like to submit your questions early, or have questions about the event, please feel free to call my Olympia office (360) 786-7890 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
Place: Steilacoom Town Hall
Address: 1717 Lafayette Street, Steilacoom, WA 98388
Doors open: 3:00 p.m.
Event time: 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Your feedback is always welcome. You can email or call my office any time. Additionally, if you need assistance navigating a state agency or other state government-related issues, please do not hesitate to call my office.
It is an honor to serve as your state representative.