Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today marks the 67th day of the 105-day session. We recently passed the March 11 house of origin cutoff, meaning House-originated bills that did not pass the House are likely dead for the session. The House has now begun hearing bills from the opposite chamber during committee meetings.
My bill to provide a criminal offense for committing revenge porn was given a hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Monday. Last year, a similar bill that I also sponsored stalled in the House. I'm hopeful this year we can get the bill out of the Senate and signed by the governor. You can watch my testimony on the bill here.
The majority party in the House said they will release a two-year spending proposal by March 23, which would give the Senate adequate time to work with the House to produce a sustainable, compromised budget for 2015-17. The 2015 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 26, and there's no reason the Legislature shouldn't be able to do so, provided everyone works together. That said, I'm not willing to support an unsustainable budget simply to get done by the end of session.
On Saturday, March 14, Sen. Ericksen, Rep. Van Werven and I hosted a town hall at Whatcom Community College. We had roughly 200 people in attendance! Thank you to all who were able to take time out of their weekend to join us. And a special thank you to Whatcom Community College for letting us use their facilities for this community event.
We covered a wide variety of topics – transportation, education, oil train safety, medical marijuana, agriculture and irrigation issues, to name a few. The issues covered and the perspectives presented during the meeting were reflective of the district and Whatcom County values.
I hope everyone found the meeting informative and had an opportunity to have their questions answered. If you missed the event, I hope you will email me at email@example.com or call me at (360) 786-7854 with any questions you have about this session.
Take my transportation survey
A few weeks ago, the Senate passed their $15 billion transportation tax package, which includes an 11.7-cent gas-tax increase. Besides the sizable fuel tax, I have a few other concerns regarding the package. While the Senate made an attempt to pass some meaningful reforms, I think the Legislature needs to go further in ensuring taxpayers' dollars are spent wisely. One major concern I have is we currently bond 15-year projects for 20 years, bonding them five years beyond the life of the project. I'm also concerned about elements of project permitting processes. Expenses that go into permitting these projects go above and beyond what's mandated by federal law.
Please take my brief survey here, and let me know what you think about this transportation package.
Thanks again to everyone who has contacted me this session to share their views and provide feedback. Please keep your questions, concerns and suggestions coming. And thank you for allowing me to serve you.