Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2010 legislative session convened Monday, Jan. 11 and not without great challenge. More than 170,000 Washingtonians are unemployed, coupled with a $2.6 billion budget shortfall. Job growth and restoring economic vitality has rarely been as of critical nature in our state's history as it is today.
Yet, costly regulations, an inefficient workers' compensation system, and noncompetitive tax rates for new employers, all encumber Washington from reaching its potential. There are currently 3,855 people in the 6th district who need and want jobs. If employers don't succeed, employees don't work. Therefore, I'm supporting a package of legislation to make “Made in Washington” mean something again. This legislation creates and fosters job growth for Northwest Companies, but most important, gets Washington back to work. Approximately sixty-eight cents of every dollar spent with a local business stays in the local economy.
There are other important issues that require our attention this year.
One of the many lessons learned from the escape of a mentally ill patient who had a violent past from Eastern State Hospital was the lack of communication which prevented the quick re-capture of this individual. I am sponsoring a bill to change notification procedures for those who escape from state facilities. We just held a public hearing on this bill Wednesday and the bill passed committee unanimously and is now headed to the House floor for a vote. This legislation would expand the requirement for those who must be contacted in the event someone from a mental institution has gone missing.
I'm also working on legislation to address the growing achievement gap in classrooms across the state. There are several common sense solutions we can adopt to help more students succeed and prepare for the future. I'll provide more information to you about this in the coming weeks.
Please feel free to contact me by phone (360) 786-7922 or e-mail throughout this 60-day session. I love hearing from you.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000