Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As your state legislator, it is my job to protect the tax dollars you send to Olympia. After several weeks of tough negotiations, the Legislature produced strongly supported bipartisan supplemental operating and capital budgets. I am glad to report these updated budgets do not unnecessarily use our state's rainy day fund or raise taxes. While I am disappointed it took longer than it should have to approve these changes to the state's original two-year plan, I believe this will put us in a better position to continue to make improvements in 2017.
With the conclusion of the 2016 session, we are about to enter a period where I am prohibited from sending out correspondence like this. However, I can respond if you contact me directly. Please remember, although we are a part-time Legislature, I work for you year-round. Feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments or concerns about state government. I am happy to keep you informed on what's happening in Olympia.
2016 supplemental operating budget
The original operating budget, approved just last year, pays for the day-to-day operation of state government from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017. This year's update, called a supplemental budget, makes minor adjustments for one-time unexpected expenditures and addresses unforeseen state emergencies – like the damages caused by the 2015 wildfires.
The 2016 supplemental operating budget increased state spending by 0.5 percent in the context of the already approved two-year $38 billion plan. Along with helping to rebuild after the wildfires, it makes targeted investments in K-12 education, mental health and affordable housing. One of the smaller items approved this session in dollars, but an important investment, is $1.7 million in professional development for paraeducators who provide more than 50 percent of classroom instruction for special needs students.
Supplemental capital budget includes local project funding
The capital budget is often called the 'bricks and mortar budget.' It pays for infrastructure projects throughout the state. I was glad to help get funding for the following local area projects approved:
- $309,000 – Lake Stevens Civic Center
- $257,000 – Mill Creek Public Works
- $500,000 – Cavelero Park (Lake Stevens and Snohomish County) *approved in 2015 capital budget
Read more about the supplemental capital budget.
Good bills approved during the 2016 session
- Washington State Patrol trooper pay increases. House Bill 2872
- Protecting vehicle owners. House Bill 2274
- Establishing the Washington Cybercrime Act. House Bill 2375
- Helping to protect consumer financial information. House Bill 1078
- Creating the Cybersecurity Jobs Act for detecting and responding to security incidents. Senate Bill 6528.
- Saving public charter schools. Senate Bill 6194
- Addressing the teacher shortage and enhancing teacher recruitment. Senate Bill 6455
- Creating the Parent to Parent Program – a statewide program that connects parents of individuals with developmental disabilities with support and resources. House Bill 2394
Holding government accountable
It is vital for government, at all levels, to be held accountable. Because of a series of missteps and failures within WSDOT, I supported the state Senate exercising its constitutional oversight authority by not confirming Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. Also, because of a mistake in how the Department of Corrections (DOC) calculated early release time 3,200 inmates were awarded too much time off their sentences. One inmate who was released early because of the miscalculations has since been charged with murder, another with vehicular homicide. The head of DOC, Secretary Dan Pacholke, resigned as a result this critical agency failure.
District office information
In order to better serve you we have a district office in Mill Creek. This location is a resource for constituents to reach me while the Legislature is not in session.
15129 Main Street, Suite 201-E
Mill Creek, WA 98012
Office phone: (425) 225-5584
I want to hear from you!
Please share your ideas with me on how we can create a better Washington. I welcome the opportunity to meet with you, or meet with groups and organizations interested in legislative issues. Please feel free to contact my office if you would like to schedule a meeting.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!