Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are at the midway point for the 2018 legislative session. This year is a short session — 60 days — during which we'll work on making small tweaks to our state budgets. We also began this session with some unfinished business — passing a new, two-year construction (or capital) budget and a solution to the state Supreme Court's 2016 Hirst decision, which impacted landowners' abilities to drill a well on their private property. More details are below.
As session continues, I encourage you to stay in touch with my office. Here are some ways you can stay connected:
Visit my website at RepresentativeJayRodne.com.
Call my office at (360) 786-7852
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe to the Capitol Buzz for weekday news clips from around the state.
Watch committee hearings, floor action, and more on TVW.
Legislature approves capital budget
Legislators broke the logjam over the capital budget after approving a bill that addresses some of the concerns that arose as a result of the Hirst decision. This budget makes good on our state's commitment to a quality education by investing $933 million in school construction and modernization, prioritizes mental health by investing $136.5 million in community- and institution-based services, including behavioral health community capacity and making security updates at Eastern and Western State hospitals, and provides $106 million to help fund housing projects for veterans, victims of natural disasters, and supportive housing for the mentally ill.
In addition, numerous community projects will be able to move forward, including:
- $9.5 million to remodel and add onto existing housing units to create a four-bed transitional treatment unit for females at Echo Glen;
- $3 million to improve the water treatment and stormwater system at the Fire Training Academy;
- $268,000 for the Greater Maple Valley Veterans Memorial;
- $1.1 million for Black Diamond Elementary School.
Addressing Washington's opioid crisis
Our state and nation are facing what has been called an 'urgent health crisis.' In 2015, an average of two Washingtonians died a day due to opioid overdose. In 2016, opioid overdoses lead to nearly 700 deaths and 1,4000 hospitalizations in Washington state. This is a serious epidemic that requires immediate action.
This session, I've co-sponsored House Bill 2489, which addresses both the treatment and prevention of opioid use disorder and overdose. Specifically, it encourages the use of medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based treatments, and seeks to eliminate barriers to access medications and services that may treat opioid use disorder. It will also provide resources for local jurisdictions and first responders so they may appropriately intervene and assist those struggling with opioid addiction.
You can read more about the bill here.
ST3 car-tab relief
Recently, the state House passed a bill to provide some relief to Washingtonians who are still experiencing sticker shock from rising car-tab fees as a result of Sound Transit 3 (ST3).
House Bill 2201 requires Sound Transit to use the 2006 MVET valuation schedule when determining vehicle value. Sound Transit's current formula grossly inflates vehicle values, which has led to soaring car-tab fees.
While I supported House Bill 2201, I do think better options were on the table. I talk about some of these proposals, and more, in my latest video update, which you can watch here.
Thank you for reading this legislative update. It's an honor serving you!