Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now just over halfway through the 2016 legislative session. House bills have made it through House policy and fiscal committees and we will now spend the next few days on the House floor debating and voting on legislation. Our days usually begin with caucus meetings with our colleagues to go over a list of bills. Then we head out to the House floor and debate and vote. Then we head back into caucus to go over the next list of bills. Interspersed throughout this process are the occasional surprises by the other side as they either hold onto bills or bring up unexpected ones to try to keep us on our toes. Oh yes, and lots of coffee!
As usual, here is our dead/alive list for bills of interest. Our staff updates this regularly. While this list doesn't include every bill, we try to include bills that have been talked about in the media, prominent bills sponsored by House Republicans, or bills that have generated significant constituent responses. I encourage you to view this now and again to track legislation you may be interested in.
9th Legislative District telephone town hall
Please join our 9th District team at our upcoming telephone town hall. Sen. Mark Schoesler, Rep. Mary Dye and I will be hosting the one-hour event on Monday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. We'll discuss issues we're facing this year, some of the major events that have happened so far, and take questions from listeners. We'll also have a few survey questions that you can answer to help us serve you better. These have been very useful in the past in helping us reach a great number of our constituents. With a legislative district as big as ours, this is a convenient and practical way for you to engage with us.
Many residents will receive invitations by phone just before the meeting begins. Those wishing to call in can dial 1-800-269-1146. You can even participate online by going to listen.townhallinteractive.com and use 742951 as the PIN. I hope you are able to join us.
Twitter town hall
I'll admit it: I don't Tweet. I'm not a Twitter. Or a Tweeter. Or a Twitterer? Point is, my social media exposure is limited to posting pictures and making comments I think you might find interesting on Facebook. That being said, I know a lot of you may be on Twitter as well as thousands of Washington residents. My colleagues, Reps. J.T. Wilcox and Matt Manweller, will be answering questions and sharing some of our views during a Twitter Town Hall on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. If you're interested, I would encourage you attend…or Tweet…or Twitter. Or whatever it is you do.
Head of DOC resigns
Last Friday, I reported breaking news to you in my update as the Senate voted to not confirm the appointment of WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson. Shortly following this action, the head of the state Department of Corrections, Dan Pacholke, resigned from his position. As you know, the governor and DOC are under extreme pressure to explain how a software glitch has allowed around 3,700 prisoners to be released early, resulting in the deaths of two innocent people and possibly more criminal acts. You can read more about this situation here and here in the Seattle Times.
Mr. Pacholke did the right thing in resigning, however I'm a little surprised the governor didn't request this earlier. In the corporate world, the small business world, on farms and ranches across our state, people are held accountable for their actions – or inactions. Government should be no different. I continually hear from folks back home, “Where's the accountability? When something goes wrong, do the powers that be simply shrug their shoulders with a 'meh' and continue on?” Accountability and transparency need to be restored and strengthened at all levels of government.
Thank you for readying my e-newsletter and thank you for staying involved in your state government. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.