Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now passed the first committee cutoff and will be spending the majority of the next 10 days on the House floor debating and voting on legislation that has advanced through the various fiscal and policy committees. My day is spent in budget negotiation meetings or on the House floor for marathon floor sessions.
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council recently released the state's newest revenue forecast. As someone who studies and teaches economics at the college level, I'm pleased to report we should see slow but steady economic growth for the foreseeable future.
The four pillars of our economy of automobile sales, home sales, construction and IT services are steadily improving. The Washington economy added 31,600 jobs in the three months since the November forecast was adopted, 13,300 more than the 18,300 expected in the forecast. And, Washington exports reached an all-time high of $25.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 thanks mainly to aerospace.
When we look at the volume of debt students incur while in college, and how it negatively impacts their lives, I believe there is value in allowing schools to teach personal finance and budgeting. My bill (House Bill 1121) does this by creating new K-12 standards for personal finance education within existing resources as we work with partners from business, finance, government, academia, education and state affiliates. The bill passed 92-5 and now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
Around Spokane/Human Trafficking
We must continue to send the message to human traffickers that if they are found guilty, their punishment will be swift and severe. Legislation I sponsored the last few years increases the fees for human trafficking (up to $10,000), requires them to register as sex offenders and can lead to the forfeiture of assets . To watch a recent KXLY News story on how our involvement in this issue is impacting our community, click here.
I also had the opportunity to be a guest on KXLY Radio's Rick Rydell Show where we talked about the budget. Click here to listen.
Please join me and my seatmate, Rep. Jeff Holy, for a telephone town hall meeting on Thursday, March 19 from 6:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m. You can join in by calling (509) 822-6314. If you want to ask a question at any time during the program, just press the STAR (*) key on your telephone keypad. These events have proven to be a great way to listen to your concerns and relay to you what's going on in Olympia. I hope you can join us.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000