Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2014 legislative session has begun and I'm back in Olympia attending committee hearings, meeting with constituents and voting on solutions to make Washington – and specifically Eastern Washington – the best place in the nation to live, work and raise a family. It is an honor to serve you in the state Legislature.
The latest information about our state's 2013-15 biennial budget shows that we're projected to have an ending fund balance of around $377 million. This is just enough wiggle room to make the statutory changes needed in the 2014 supplemental budget. The supplemental budget is used to make the small adjustments needed so that we stay within current revenues and we continue to meet our obligations. We should make these necessary adjustments quickly and adjourn the session ON TIME!
However, if any of you watched Gov. Jay Insee's State of the State Address this week, you know that he's proposed a litany of new programs and new spending. While some of his ideas might be good, now is not the time to enact such large spending increases. As I serve on the House Appropriations Committee, I'll continue to work towards smart, efficient solutions that don't extend or increase your taxes.
Homelessness continues to be a problem throughout our state. I'm proposing two bills (House Bill 2415 and House Bill 2416) that will help the homeless by allowing them to obtain a temporary ID card so they can apply for work. Homelessness is a vicious cycle. Many times, without a physical address, people find it nearly impossible to apply for work. I'll keep you updated on these bills as the session progresses.
Protecting our community and our citizens is vitally important to me. I had the immense privilege of helping to host a human trafficking vigil last weekend in Spokane with Miss Washington, Allyson Rowe, who lives in Spokane Valley. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich was also in attendance. The event was held by Lutheran Community Services and Mabel Wong who personally does so much work to end human trafficking. The focus of the event was to increase awareness of this horrific form of modern-day slavery. By raising awareness, empowering our communities and educating lawmakers, we can help stamp out human trafficking here in our state.
If you would like to read the article in The Spokesman-Review about this event, click here.
Join me for a telephone town hall next week!
My seatmate, Rep. Jeff Holy, and I will be hosting a telephone town hall for all 6th District residents next Thursday, Jan. 23 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Just call toll-free 1-800-759-5308 and you can participate with your neighbors in this “Community Conversation.” These events have been very successful in the past and help us keep in touch with you. You can ask us questions, take our survey or just listen in from the comfort of your own home. I hope you're able to join us.
Thank you so much for entrusting me to represent you in Olympia. It is such an honor. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns about state government or issues impacting our Eastern Washington communities.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000