Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank those of you who took part in my survey last week. About 344 of you took the time to let me know what you think about the death penalty, reducing sentences for violent criminals and I-1639. Here are the results:
My colleague, Rep. Jenny Graham from the 6th Legislative District, wrote an op-ed for The Spokesman-Review last weekend. She is very passionate about this issue and making sure victims and their families have a voice in Olympia. Her sister was a victim of Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer. I stand with her and other legislators who want to see violent sexual predators and murders receive maximum penalties.
Legislative cutoffs and bad bill
Throughout the legislative session there are cutoff points – deadlines – designed to keep bills moving along so things don't get bogged down too much on day 103 of a 105-day session. Last week was policy cutoff, where House bills needed to be out of their respective House policy committees. This week is the fiscal committee cutoff. If a bill has made it through a policy committee, but has a fiscal impact (which a lot of them do), those same bills have to make it through one of the fiscal committees: Appropriations, Finance, Transportation or Capital Budget. Starting today, we'll be on the House floor for the next 10 days debating, amending and voting on legislation to send over to the Senate, where the process starts all over again.
We continue to see a wave of bad bills as the bipartisan makeup of the Legislature has disappeared. For example, the governor and Democrats in the Legislature are again trying to establish a regressive low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) despite a bipartisan agreement four years ago to not do one as part of the 11.9 cent gas-tax increase.
House Bill 1110 would direct the Department of Ecology to adopt standards to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel energy in transportation fuels over time. This would follow California's model – the same model that added 13.3 cents to a gallon of gasoline. This number is expected to grow as the program is fully implemented in the years to come.
I know many of you cannot afford to pay more at the pump and for the increased costs of products that would result from this program. It would be especially difficult for those on fixed incomes and those of us in rural areas who drive longer distances for food, gas, school, work, doctor visits, etc.
Another bad bill is Senate Bill 5693, which would require fruit growers and dairy farmers to report whether or not they use slaves, human trafficking and peonage. You read that right; slaves. Sponsored by Seattle Democrat Sen. Rebecca Saldana, this bill is one of the most offensive pieces of legislation I've seen in my decade in the Legislature. It represents the epitome of the disconnect between Seattle and the rest of the state. This bill actually passed the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. You can read more about this bill in a Capital Press article here.
9th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall
On Thursday, March 21, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. please join me and Rep. Mary Dye for our 9th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall. We send out calls right at 6:00 p.m., but if you don't receive a phone call after a few minutes and want to join in, please call (509) 394-4742. You can listen to an update from Olympia and our discussion with your friends and neighbors. We'll also have some poll questions you can take part in. With a district as large as ours, this event is one of the best ways for us to connect with you and hear your thoughts and opinions on the issues you are concerned with.
Thank you for reading my email update and for allowing me to serve you in Olympia. Let me know if I can help you deal with a state government agency or issue. If you come to Olympia, please stop by for a visit. My door is always open.