Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we finish up this third week of the 2016 legislative session it's become abundantly clear there are four things the House Democrat majority does NOT want to discuss:
- charter school fix
- making it harder to raise taxes with a two-thirds legislative vote
- transgender bathroom/locker room issue
- tolling on Hwy 405
While that last one may not mean much to those of us in Eastern Washington, and in the 9th District specifically, the first three certainly do.
This week, in an effort to speed up the process, I joined my House Republican colleagues in an attempt to amend a bill to include a bipartisan fix for charter schools. You can read more about that here. Despite the fact the Senate passed the same “fix” this week, House Democrats didn't allow a vote on the amendment. I'm beginning to wonder about their commitment to allow parents and students this vital option for their education needs.
During the same floor session, we tried a procedural move to bring up a bill that would send a constitutional amendment to the voters requiring a two-thirds legislative vote to raise taxes. Voter in Washington have approved this idea six times in the last 22 years! I don't think we need another committee hearing on this. We know what the voters want and it's time for the Legislature to allow the voters to decide this once and for all with a constitutional amendment. However, our attempt failed on a party-line vote of 48-49.
As I reported in last week's update, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee has no intention of hearing any bills on this issue. We're still trying to determine if proper procedures were followed in posting and adopting these new rules, but it's been difficult getting answers from the commission. I encourage you to watch this very short video of my colleagues asking the head of the commission some very pointed questions about the process. As you can see, clear and concise answers were difficult to come by.
Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement – Your 9th District Legislative Team will be hosting a telephone town hall towards the end of February. We're ironing out the details now but I hope you'll be able to join us. These are an important tool for us to hear your concerns and answer questions about issues we're dealing with in Olympia.
Stanzi Hay visited me in my Olympia Office this week. Stanzi serves as the Vice President for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. She is attending Asotin High School. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Stanzi and wish her success throughout her tenure with FCCLA.
As always, thank you for reading my e-newsletter and please pass it along to friends and family who may be interested. And thank you for allowing me to serve you in Olympia.