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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

In just a few weeks, on Jan. 11, the Legislature will convene in Olympia. Considered a “supplemental budget year,” the 2016 session is scheduled for only 60 days. I’d like to give you a quick update on the work we are doing to prepare for the days ahead.

Thank you to everyone who contacted my office with your comments regarding the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) tolling changes on I-405.   Constituents have flooded my inbox with comments complaining of more traffic, including longer commute times they have never experienced before. In response to your concerns, in October, I delivered a large packet of your emails and letters to the director of the WSDOT tolling division.

More needs to be done, that is why in the upcoming session I am sponsoring a bill thatI-405 Express Toll Lanes would suspend the I-405 toll lanes. This proposal would revert I-405 back to its prior configuration, with just one HOV lane available during the day, open to all traffic after peak hours. This proposal already has strong bipartisan support.  I will push forward in the coming session for its passage.

Another important issue we’re continuing to work on is data privacy protection. In the 21st century, we share and store our most sensitive personal information on phones, computers and even in “the cloud.”  Today more than ever, we need strong consumer protections in place.

That is why I will be supporting House Bill 1094 which would prohibit the collection and tracking, for commercial purposes, of so-called “biometric identifiers” – through fingerprint and eye scans, facial identification, or voice analysis. The collection of this data would be prohibited unless a person is first informed or gives consent. The same goes for the sale of such information.

We need to make the biometric identifier rules clear — ownership needs to remain in the hands of the consumers.

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns as we prepare for the 2016 legislative session? My legislative aide Cami and I are here to help, please feel free to contact us. My email is mark.harmsworth@leg.wa.gov and my office phone is (360) 786-7892.


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