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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2018 legislative session is about to wrap-up. We have spent the last few days in the “concurrence” process, agreeing or disagreeing on amendments adopted by the opposite chamber. Because the majority of the bills are amended not just once, but often several times, we must reconcile differences in the versions and approve them before the conclusion of session.

Supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets

The House and Senate recently passed their respective supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. These measures are being negotiated and the final proposals will be voted on very soon.

It was exciting to see an additional $200,000 in funding my office applied for and helped to secure for the Lake Stevens Community Food Bank, plus some much needed funding for some refrigerators at the Snohomish Food Bank. Both centers are a valued assets in our community and provide countless services to those in need.

During the floor debate on the supplemental transportation budget, I offered several amendments. These included requiring Sound Transit to base their car-tab fees on Kelley Blue Book values, a reduction in the car tab tax rate and requiring the agency to receive authorization from the Legislature prior to issuing new bonds. In addition, because of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s failure to meet the performance standards for the express toll lanes (ETLs), I asked that funding for the lanes be removed.

Each of my amendments were ruled “out of scope” or were rejected by the majority party. The fight is not over and I’m continuing to build support to make changes on both these projects.

Open Government

The House and Senate recently passed House Bill 6617. The bill was an attempt to respond to a lawsuit filed against the Legislature for more transparency in state government. I was a “no” vote on this legislation for several reasons. Because I was a city councilmember, I understand the importance of open government. In fact, I supported an alternative proposal to subject the Legislature to the same open and transparent rules that other municipalities are subject to.

Additionally, I felt the process was rushed and didn’t give the appropriate time for public feedback. The governor vetoed the bill. We’ll get another opportunity to revisit this issue next year. Hopefully, we’ll get something better that gives us the transparency we all deserve.

Telephone town hall | Tuesday, March 20 at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, March 20 at 6 p.m., I’ll be hosting a telephone town hall event for all 44th District residents. The community is invited to participate in the conversation as I take questions from callers on various public policy topics.

To join the call, dial (425) 595-3271 starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. Once you are connected, listen-in and press * on your telephone keypad to ask questions.

For any questions or comments prior this event, please feel free to contact my office at (360) 786-7892 or send an email to me at mark.harmsworth@leg.wa.gov.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia!


Mark Harmsworth

State Representative Mark Harmsworth
44th Legislative District
466 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7892 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000