Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Your 42nd District legislative team is back in Olympia for the 2016 legislative session! This session is scheduled to last 60 days, and should adjourn March 10. It's also a supplemental budget year, meaning you shouldn't see any major new policies or spending unless related to caseload forecast adjustments or emergency appropriations.
We have a number of important issues to tackle this session, so legislators must stay focused so we can wrap our work up within the 60 days we've been allotted. For an overview of some of the major issues before the Legislature this year, and a brief update on some of the things I'm working on for Whatcom County, watch my video update here or click on the photo below.
This interim, I was privileged to take part in various meetings throughout Whatcom County and our great state. I hope we can continue the open dialogue, so I encourage you to call, write or email me your ideas, concerns and questions using the contact information below.
It's an honor serving you!
Since November when Alcoa, Inc. announced it will idle aluminum smelters in Wenatchee and Ferndale, Sen. Doug Ericksen, Rep. Luanne Van Werven and I have been working on ways to direct state resources to support displaced workers.
I was pleased by news Tuesday that announced curtailment will not begin at the Ferndale plant until the end of June. Now everyone can breathe a (temporary) sigh of relief; employees can continue to bring home paychecks as they seek permanent employment options. Our hope is to find a solution to keep the plants open for good, but we want to ensure workers are taken care of no matter the final outcome with Alcoa.
If you or your family member or a friend is going to be affected by the curtailment, please contact my office and share your story. I want to hear from you.
Ways I'm representing you
As I said before, this is a supplemental year and I'm committed to working hard within these 60 days to get home on time. Here are just a few things I'm working on that, while they may seem small, would go a long way in advancing our communities.
Watershed improvement districts – Unfortunately, the county has failed to properly maintain drainage ditches, which has ultimately led to water quality concerns. My bill would allow watershed improvement districts to apply for a permit to conduct drainage maintenance. This would remove some burdens from the county and improve water quality.
Allowing animal husbandry on ag-zoned land – This would clarify that certain forms of animal husbandry, including canine kenneling and equine boarding, to be an activity allowed to exist in areas zoned for agriculture.
Powers of the Dairy Products Commission – This bill has bipartisan support, and would allow the Commission to conduct research related to the economic uses of dairy nutrients.
I look forward to sharing more about these bills and others as the legislative process continues.