Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Lawmakers are in Olympia this week as the final days of the second special session wind down. On Wednesday, the House passed seven bills, and more votes are expected for the remainder of the week. Budget negotiations are ongoing and the majority parties will hopefully reach consensus soon. As our governor said in a press conference last week, there's no reason why we shouldn't have a budget deal before the end of the month. Majority parties are inching closer to finding a middle ground and we should be able to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Given our latest state revenue forecast, which projects the state will be receiving a 9 percent increase in revenues this budget cycle ($3.2 billion), there's no reason for House Democrats to continue to urge lawmakers to pass a budget that includes major tax increases and new taxes. The Senate has provided a fiscally responsible budget option that makes historic investments in K-12 education, reduces college tuition, improves our mental health system and more — all without tax increases. Olympia doesn't need any more money from taxpayers; the state can live within its means.
I'm optimistic negotiators will reach an agreement soon.
Over the past few years many of you may have been following my push for legislation addressing what has been termed “revenge porn.” I'm happy to report the bill passed the Senate unanimously today, and is en route to the governor's desk. I'm hopeful the governor will sign my bill so we can finally give victims recourse in addressing this devastating and unacceptable behavior.
I introduced another bill this week to require the Washington State Department of Agriculture to develop a contingency plan to address an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu. Nationwide, we have seen the devastating impact to our poultry industry from avian flu, including the necessary destruction and disposal of millions of infected and potentially infected birds. It is imperative we have a statewide plan to coordinate the various agencies including the state and local health departments, Fish and Wildlife, and Ecology as the fall wild bird migration brings a heightened risk of avian flu to both backyard and commercial birds.
While I recognize it is too late this year to get this bill passed, its introduction gets the conversation going and encourages the agencies to begin their discussions sooner rather than later.
As negotiations continue, I was able to come home to meet with folks in district the past few weeks. I've enjoyed seeing so many from our communities at parades and other community events, and I look forward to having more opportunities this summer to meet with constituents. If you have questions you need answered, need help navigating state government, want me to speak at an event, or want to discuss possible legislation, I encourage you to contact my office. You can do so using the contact information below.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you.