Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have now passed the halfway mark of the 2015 legislative session. The House has passed close to 200 bills and they now head over to the Senate for consideration. This week has been full of floor action and is expected to continue into next week as the March 11 house of origin cutoff approaches. At this time, all House bills must pass the House or be considered dead for the session. Bills necessary to implement the budget are immune to cutoff.
Thank you to those who have reached out to me during session. Your participation and feedback guides me as I serve you in the state Legislature. If you have a question, suggestion or concern, I encourage you to contact me.
It's an honor serving you.
Watch my latest video update
In this short video, I discuss the Senate transportation package and transportation reforms.
If you have trouble viewing the above video, click here.
House passes minimum wage, paid sick leave bills
On Tuesday, the House passed a bill to raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour over the next four years, and another requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. Those bills now go over to the Senate for consideration.
Everyone should have the opportunity to earn a living wage job, comfortably provide for their families, and care for their loved ones and themselves when they're ill. Unfortunately, these bills don't get us to that reality.
Proponents claim a minimum-wage increase will stimulate the overall economy, and that low-income employees are more likely to spend the money they earn immediately rather than save it. The major problem with this argument is there are still no more dollars in the overall economy; you are taking money from one pile and putting it in another, but you are not increasing the amount of dollars in the economy.
Additionally, increasing the minimum wage or mandating paid sick leave to all employers are both costs that will need to be absorbed and may result in increased prices, reduced employee hours and other benefits, job losses, or decreased profits. Our economy has been steadily improving since the Great Recession, and we don't want to jeopardize that positive growth.
With a possible increased statewide minimum wage, our state does face a challenge with teen unemployment. Nationally, almost one-third of minimum-wage workers are teens, and 62 percent of minimum-wage earners are below the age of 25 and are enrolled in school. A minimum-wage job is often a stepping stone into another career path and provides an opportunity to learn valuable skills. Raising the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs for low-skilled workers and young workers at a time when these workers already have higher than average unemployment.
Join Rep. Magendanz and I for a town hall meeting Saturday, March 14
Rep. Magendanz and I are hosting three town hall meetings Saturday, March 14 in Maple Valley, Issaquah and North Bend.
Maple Valley: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Maple Valley Community Center
22010 SE 248th Street
Issaquah: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Issaquah Fire Department, Station 71
190 East Sunset Way
North Bend: 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Mount Si Senior Center
411 Main Avenue S.
I encourage attendees to bring questions to ask during the events, and Rep. Magendanz and I will provide a brief update on the session. I'm looking forward to hearing from you next Saturday!
If you're unable to attend these meetings, please don't hesitate to call, write or email me. It's important I hear from you.