Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now entering the last week of the 60-day session. This week, Washington State Cougar head football coach Mike Leach visited as we honored the 99th Anniversary of WSU football's national championship victory. The then-Washington State College finished their season with a perfect record, defeated Brown College 14-0 to win the Tournament of Roses championship game (now the Rose Bowl) and allowed only one opponent touchdown all year. I'm hoping some of that history and good luck rubbed off on Coach Leach and we see the Cougs have a fantastic football season this year.
I joined with my House Republican colleagues in voting against the House Democrat budget this week. We felt the SMCC budget, while not perfect, was more closely aligned with our priorities of funding education first, public safety and protecting the most vulnerable. The House budget also seeks to raise taxes by $100 million (bottled water, e-cigs, etc.) and leaves too little in reserves to protect against unforeseen circumstances. In the end, the SMCC budget passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 41-8. In the House, the only “bipartisan” was the NO vote as one Democrat joined with all House Republicans in voting no. I think the final budget that is negotiated will look more like the SMCC budget than the House Democrat proposal. I'll keep you updated.
I'm proud to report that House Bill 2119 passed the Senate and is on its way to the governor for his signature. This is the bill that designates the Palouse Falls as the official state waterfall. A big thank you to the students from Washtucna who drafted the bill and came over and testified on its behalf. I trust this has been an experience they won't soon forget and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them ends up serving in Olympia at some point in the future.
Health Care Update
Despite the broken promises and high-profile failures of Obamacare in our state, it seems House Democrats may be more interested in expanding it than fixing it. For example:
- House Bill 2594 would expand Obamacare in our state by directing the Health Care Authority to begin econometric modeling to analyze the federal Basic Health Program enrollment and the costs and impacts. Learn more here.
Not one Washington House Republican voted for this bill.
Here are a few of the Obamacare problems in our state:
- 290,000 cancellation notices;
- website glitches;
- tax-credit mistakes;
- unanswered calls at the Exchange; and
- families losing important network coverage, including Seattle Children's Hospital.
We need to fix Obamacare problems, step-by-step, in common-sense ways. While many of the issues must be addressed at the national level in Congress, some things can be done at the state level in the Legislature.
One step would be to allow Washingtonians to buy health insurance plans in other states. Senate Bill 5540, which passed the Senate, would allow Washington residents to buy catastrophic health-care plans in other states. House Democrats won't allow the bill to move forward.
Nothing brings Democrats, Republicans, Representatives, Senators, staff, and even the neighborhood around the Capitol Campus together like Beef Day! This annual event is put on by the Washington Cattlemen's Associations, the Washington Cattle Feeders Association and the Washington State Dairy Federation. It's a great time to remember all the folks – farmers, ranchers, orchardists and producers – who do so much to help feed our state, nation and the rest of the world. To watch a humorous little video of the event that our video people do every year, click here.
As always, thank you for reading my e-newsletter. It's an honor to serve you in Olympia.