Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today marks the 68th day of the 105-day legislative session. The Legislature has a lot to accomplish in the next 37 days but I'm optimistic we can end session on time and pass a sustainable budget that best serves our state. The majority party in the House has said they will release their operating budget proposal by next week, which should give the entire chamber and the Senate enough time to consider and modify the proposal.
At this point in the legislative process, the first major cutoff has passed and committees have now begun hearing bills from the opposite chamber. As we start to hear this new set of legislation, I encourage you to contact me should you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.
It's an honor serving you.
Thank you for attending my town hall meeting
On Saturday, March 14, Rep. Chad Magendanz and I hosted three town hall meetings in Maple Valley, Issaquah and North Bend. Thank you to everyone who was able to take time out of their weekend to participate; we both appreciated hearing directly from our constituents about the issues that matter most to the 5th District. If you weren't able to attend, I hope you will contact me with any questions, comments or concerns you have by emailing me at email@example.com or calling me at (360) 786-7852.
During the community meetings, we covered a variety of topics but two major issues stuck out: transportation and education.
Since I serve on the House Transportation Committee, I provided a brief update on the transportation revenue package and reforms passed by the Senate. You can get an overview of the Senate's transportation package here. At each venue, I did a spot poll and asked how many people would support an 11.7-cent gas-tax increase if major projects in the area were funded. The results were pretty consistent at each meeting, with about one-third of the participants saying they would be willing to absorb a gas-tax hike.
What I do know is the Senate's proposal is far from being the final version of the transportation package. Whatever the final bill looks like, it's critical it's paired with serious reforms to streamline permitting and lower projects' costs.
Results from my previous transportation survey
In my Feb. 20 email update, I asked subscribers to take a short survey asking individuals if they would support an 11.7-cent gas-tax increase.
If you didn't take my survey, or if you're a new subscriber, you can do so here.
Washington's mental health system's failures
By co-sponsoring Joel's Law (House Bill 1258) this year, and in my work with Doug and Nancy Reuter, parents of Joel Reuter who was fatally shot by police in 2013 during a severe mental episode, it's abundantly clear to me the state needs to take significant steps in improving treatment policies and family-court access.
House Bill 1258 is scheduled to receive a hearing in the Senate Committee on Human Services and Mental Health & Housing at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 23. You can watch the hearing live at tvw.org, or search the archives a few hours after the hearing. This bill must pass the Senate and get signed by the governor so we can prevent future tragedies like the one the Reuters experienced. If you're as passionate as I am about this issue, I encourage you to contact the members of the Senate Human Services and Mental Health & Housing Committee and urge them to pass this bill out of committee.