Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now two-thirds of the way through the 2014 legislative session. We spent much of the past two weeks on the House floor debating and voting on House bills. The floor cutoff was this week, meaning any House bill that hasn't passed the House by now is considered dead (unless it is “necessary to implement the budget” – NTIB). The same goes for Senate bills in the Senate. As of today, the House has passed 333 House bills and the Senate has passed 189 Senate bills. Monday was a very long day that actually stretched into the wee hours of Tuesday as the House passed 100 bills and the Senate passed 21.
We'll spend the next week or so in committee hearing Senate bills and then will come the final days of floor action. I expect the Senate to release their supplemental budget proposal next week, followed by the House. A lot can – and will – happen in the last three weeks.
State Revenue Forecast
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council announced this week that the General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue forecast for 2013-15 has been increased by $30 million and the GF-S forecast for 2015-17 has been increased by $82 million. Of this increase, about $31 million is due to economic changes and $51 million due to revenue from I-502 (recreational marijuana). If you're interested, click here to view the forecast presentation. Basically, our revenue is flat, which is not a bad thing. At this point, anything that isn't trending down should be good news for lawmakers.
Congressman Doc Hastings and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rogers visited us this week. Doc has announced his retirement after serving 20 years in Congress. A big “thank you” to Congressman Hastings for his many years of service.
It was also an extreme honor to visit with U.S. Army Captain William Swenson who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan. John M. McHugh, secretary of the Army said:
“The Battle of Ganjgal was ferocious. And it was tragic. And we lost so many good lives that day. But following the violence, and the death, came inspiration. And we were inspired by those who fought there, by those who would not accept defeat.”
I'm so grateful for the men and women who sacrifice so much in their service to our country. Saying “Thank you” to someone like Capt. Swenson doesn't seem like enough, but I was honored to meet and thank him for his service.
Join me for a telephone town hall next week!
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.
I hope you continue to find my updates from Olympia helpful and informative. If you ever need assistance with a state agency or have questions or comments on legislation, please feel free to contact my office. It is an honor to serve you in Olympia.