Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, we had the privilege of being visited by an impressive group of students (grades 3 through 6) from Washtucna. They were visiting Olympia to testify in support of my bill, House Bill 2119, that would officially designate the Palouse Falls as the state waterfall. The five students who came over were among several who submitted written essays explaining why they thought the Palouse Falls deserved such distinction. The essays were then judged by the high school students and the winners were awarded a trip to Olympia. There was even a live video feed of the committee hearing being shown at the school in Washtucna! After the students testified, the committee rules were suspended and executive action was taken. I'm pleased to report that the bill passed the committee! Great job by all the students, parents and teachers involved. I was so proud to see our district and our region represented in such a professional and honorable way!
If you want to watch the students testify in committee, click here.
If you want to read a short article in The Spokesman-Review about the students and their efforts, click here.
Washington state already has the nation's highest minimum wage yet liberal thinkers from Washington, D.C. to Seattle to Olympia are proposing employers pay more. With all the debate and rhetoric flying around, it got me thinking about my first job. I believe I was paid $1.50/hour for bagging groceries, facing shelves and moving freight and a local grocery store. Even though there was no mandatory sick leave offered (as House Democrats are calling for with legislation that passed the House this week), no thought of vacation pay and I was only making six bits an hour, I thought I was in hog heaven. It was my first “work” experience off the farm and I was getting paid!
What was your first job? How much did you make in your first foray into the working world? What was your “benefit” package like? I'm seriously curious to take a quick walk down memory lane with you. Share your thoughts with me and if I get a few good ones I'll report back to you later in the session.
This week we also had public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee for two initiatives dealing with firearms. Since neither one is likely to pass the Legislature, they both are expected to be on the ballot this fall. YOU – the voters – will decide on these two issues:
As expected, the public hearing brought out the arguments and passions for both initiatives. While it was extremely crowded that day (The picture you see on the left is the line to testify – it stretched outside the building and down the sidewalk!), it was great to see so many people engaged in the legislative session. It's truly what our citizen Legislature is all about. You can watch the full public hearing here.
I will be hosting a telephone town hall for all 9th District residents on Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Just call toll-free 1-800-761-6268 and you can participate with your neighbors in this “Community Conversation.” These events have been very successful in the past and help me keep in touch with you. You can ask me questions, take my survey or just listen in from the comfort of your own home. I hope you're able to join me.
Thanks for reading my e-newsletter. Please feel free to pass it along to your friends, family and neighbors. It is an honor to serve you in Olympia.