Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I was hoping I could offer you an end-of-session recap in this update, but our work is not yet finished. While the regular session adjourned March 10, the governor has called us back for a 30-day special session because an agreement was not reached on the supplemental operating budget. While the Senate proposal is fiscally responsible, the House proposal relies on nearly $120 million in tax increases. It also relies too heavily on funds from the Budget Stabilization Account (also known as the state's rainy day fund), which are supposed to be dedicated to emergencies.
While we are all disappointed about having to enter yet another special session, the governor expressed his disappointment in an unprecedented way. He decided to veto 27 of the 37 bills that were sitting on his desk waiting to be signed into law. To use a blanket veto to express disappointment at the Legislature does nothing to advance budget negotiations. Instead, it only hurts Washingtonians who worked incredibly hard to get these bills passed. These were bills that addressed disabled college students, economic development, and out-of-pocket health care costs. It remains to be seen what will happen to them now. Leadership is about bringing both sides together, even when there are enormous differences, and dealing with setbacks in a responsible way. I'm disappointed that didn't happen.
Saving our public charter schools
I was so proud to cast a vote last week in favor of Senate Bill 6194, which would keep public charter schools open in Washington state. As you know, the state Supreme Court ruled voter-approved charter schools unconstitutional last summer. That was a devastating blow to the many students and families who relied on these schools. To be able to bring them hope once again is a wonderful feeling.
This bill now heads to the governor.
The latest on House Bill 2519
After passing the House 76-21 last month, the Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2519. The bill is now on the governor's desk.
This is a good bill that will help our cities and also help restore property values in certain neighborhoods where nuisances currently exist. If the bill is signed into law, cities will be allowed to recover as much as $2,000 in costs associated with cleaning up abandoned properties. Many of these properties are littered with trash, abandoned furniture, and in some cases, rodent infestations. It's important that cities not be entirely on the hook for removing these nuisances. These funds must be recovered so they can be allocated for other important government services.
Please continue to get in touch with me with any comments, questions or concerns. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is (360) 786-7820.
It is an honor to serve you in the state House of Representatives.