Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now in the final month of the 2014 legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn March 13. We are spending a lot of time on the House floor debating and passing legislation that will be further considered in the Senate. We'll transition to holding public hearings on Senate bills in the next week or so.
Rep. Chad Magendanz, Sen. Mark Mullet and I are hosting some town hall meetings on Feb. 22 where you can receive a more detailed update on the session and ask us questions. The event times and locations are as follows:
10 – 11 a.m.
Maple Valley Community Center
22225 SE 231st Street
1 – 2 p.m.
Issaquah Highlands Fire Department
1280 NE Park Drive
3 – 4 p.m.
Snoqualmie Police Department
34825 SE Douglas Street
We look forward to seeing you there! If you cannot attend, please feel free to contact me anytime with your comments, solutions and questions.
The Senate had a vote on a bill that would have reinstated the two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase taxes this week. I was disappointed to see that it failed to receive enough votes to pass because I feel that having a high bar to take more of your paycheck is only fair. Additionally, 5th District voters supported the last ballot measure, Initiative 1185, by 68 percent to require this two-thirds vote of the Legislature or a vote of the people to increase taxes.
If there is a true need to increase taxes on hardworking citizens for a critical or emergency service, it would require strong bipartisan collaboration. The requirement to sit down and find middle ground is what I think residents want, particularly when it comes to asking them for more of their paychecks.
The governor announced he authorized a moratorium on the death penalty punishment in our state for as long as he holds office. I know this is a difficult issue on both sides – victims' families and defendants – but I believe the issue should have been debated in the Legislature so representatives and senators could weigh in with their constituents, talk to victims' families and advocates, and our local prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys. Personally, I welcome the dialogue on this issue and feel it is overdue, but unilateral action hurts all involved. I sent out a statement on this issue, which can be read here. You can watch the press conference on this issue here.
I think we can do better when it comes to addressing an issue as sensitive as the death penalty.
As always, please feel free to contact my office with questions and concerns. I hope you will join us for one or all of our town hall events on Feb. 22. Government does work best when those we represent share their voices.