Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's hard to believe we are halfway through the 105-day legislative session! There has been a lot of floor action this week, and the House has already voted on more than 100 bills since Monday. Some of these bills would be great for Washington state, while others would take the state in a direction I think is counterproductive.
As I've mentioned several times before, I will only be supporting bills that work toward the goal of limited, but effective, government. I won't be supporting bills that unnecessarily increase the size and scope of government. I am a firm believer in individual responsibility, personal freedom and letting the free enterprise system do what our founders intended, unimpeded by unreasonable government regulation.
My first bill passes in the House
After enduring some light hazing, as is the custom in the House when freshman lawmakers pass their first bill, my House Bill 1610 was approved unanimously last night with a 98-0 vote. The bill would shorten jury terms and service in counties with a jury source list of at least 70,000 names.
There are many people who have served on jury duty multiple times, while others have never had the opportunity to serve. The ultimate goal of the legislation is to get more get more people involved in jury service, which would be a good thing.
Read the press release on House Bill 1610's passage here.
Survey question results
In my last email update, I asked you to vote on the following survey question:
Last Thursday, state Senate leaders unveiled a $15 billion transportation revenue package that includes an incremental gas tax increase of 11.7 cents over the next three years. Would you support this gas-tax increase if it helped fund the completion of Spokane's North-South freeway, which has been in the works since the early 90s?
The results are as follows:
Yes: 17 percent
No: 82 percent
Don't Know: 1 percent
With a 27-22 vote on Monday, the state Senate passed the $15 billion transportation package, including the 11.7 cent gas-tax increase. It will now be sent over to the House for our consideration. I have repeatedly promised that I will oppose all efforts to increase taxes and/or implement new taxes, and I will not waver on that. I oppose this gas-tax increase, and don't believe it's the right approach.
In my most recent video update, I talk about the opportunity I had to travel home a couple weekends ago and tour a couple of different places. I also discuss the telephone town hall I recently held with Rep. Shea and Sen. Padden. Take a look!
Revenue forecast released
The state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released the latest revenue forecast last week. Revenues for the 2015-17 biennium increased by $129 million, in addition to the $3 billion additional revenue the state will see from the last budget. This is good news, as the Legislature has several major budgetary obligations it must meet this session. Chief among them, of course, is education.
Governor's Prayer Breakfast on Friday
I am honored to have the opportunity to say a prayer at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast on Friday. The prayer breakfast is a wonderful annual occasion in which leaders from all over Washington state gather together to pray for our cities, leaders and state. I look forward to it being a great time of fellowship, where all of us in attendance can take a momentary break from politics to lift up our state in prayer.
Meeting with constituents
I've met with many constituents over the past couple of weeks, and thank them for having conversations with me on a variety of important topics.
• Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington
• Central Valley School District
• Spokane Valley Council
• Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium
• Spokane Substance Abuse Council
• Spokane County Fire District 8
• Spokane County Parks and Recreation
• Spokane Valley Tech
• Spokane Arts Commission
• The Arc of Spokane
• West Valley School District
I'm very thankful for all of your letters, emails and calls, and want you to continue to stay in touch with me as we move past the halfway point of the legislative session. My door is always open and my phone is always on. You can reach me at (360) 786-7820 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a privilege to serve you in the people's House.