Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we enter into the last two weeks of the 2015 session, our time now is spent on the House floor debating and voting on legislation and in our caucus meeting room discussing the merits of bills. There is a usually a flurry of action as we vote on a list of 20 or even 30 bills. Then there is some down time where most of the action takes place behind the scenes as strategies are discussed, amendments are drafted and compromises are reached. It's a hectic time for sure.
This week included one of my favorites: Beef Day! Producers and cattlemen (and women) from around the state – including the 9th Legislative District – travel to Olympia and serve some excellent BBQ. This year, they served over 300 pounds of beef to legislators, staff, lobbyists, and even the occasional pedestrian walking by! It's a fun time for everyone; one that folks here in the Legislature look forward to every year.
Also this week, I celebrated a birthday. It's one of the joys? drawbacks? consequences? of the long session. Celebrating your birthday in Olympia during the legislative session isn't something most folks would look forward to. But even less attractive is the possibility of celebrating Memorial Day or Independence Day in Olympia while the Legislature is still in session! I continue to believe we can finish our work on time and reach a budget solution by the end of the scheduled 105-day session.
As I mentioned in previous updates, the House Democrat budget includes $1.5 billion in tax increases. If you want to watch a quick video of one my colleagues, Rep. Matt Manweller, explaining in detail why we don't need these tax increases, and what they would do, click here. Rep. Manweller is currently a Professor of Political Science at Central Washington University where he teaches Political Economy, Constitutional Law and classes for the William O. Douglas Honors College.
I once again was able to host a couple legislative pages from back home. Collin Pittmann is from Rosalia. He is the son of Tara and Jeff Pittmann and attends Rosalia High School. Emma Schultheis is from Colton. She is the daughter of Jana and Chris Schultheis. I have known both Collin and Emma and their families for years. It was a pleasure to have them in Olympia learning more about the legislative process and serving the legislators and staff on the Capitol Campus.
Thanks for reading my legislative update.