Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Please join Rep. Brad Klippert and me this weekend for our 8th District Town Hall!
We'll be at The Arc of Tri-Cities (1455 Fowler in Richland) on Saturday, March 11 from 10 a.m. to noon. Due to security concerns, no large bags or umbrellas are allowed. No food or beverages are allowed. And notably, no signs, shouting or artificial sound makers are allowed. Topics of the meeting will be focused on state issues.
I hope you're able to join us as we discuss current legislation and issues we're dealing with in Olympia. You've always been an informed and involved citizenry and it is an honor to serve you in the state House.
If you haven't yet had the chance to take my online survey, please click here. I've already had great feedback from many of you – and even some testy feedback, which is fine. No survey is perfect but I do value your thoughts and opinions. I'll keep the survey open for another week and then report the results back to you.
Sick Hanford workers
My bill to address Hanford workers who are sick or injured on the job is getting local and national attention. House Bill 1723 passed the House last week and is now in the Senate for further consideration. You can read an NBC story here, and a Tri-City Herald story here. To watch a KING 5 special investigative report on the issue of Hanford and sick workers, click here.
We've now passed the “House of origin cutoff” in the legislative process, which means any House bill not passed by the House (other than bills necessary to implement the budget) are considered dead for the year. Here are my bills that are still alive in the Legislature:
House Bill 1107 – This bill eliminates the term “branch” as an identifying factor for college and university extended campuses. Passed the House 91-6 and is now in the Senate Higher Education Committee.
House Bill 1129 – This bill allows the Department of Corrections to offer associate degree programs with existing funds for specific inmates. This is an effort to help turn lives around so that we can reduce recidivism rates when inmates are released back into society after they've served their time. Passed the House 77-21 and is now in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
House Bill 1130 – This bill was at the request of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. It repeals the expiration date of the Washington Customized Employment Training Program. This program helps small businesses by allowing them to contract with qualified community and technical colleges or private vocational schools to provide customized training. The program has been beneficial for both employers and employees. Passed House 97-0 and is now in the Senate Higher Education Committee.
Second Amendment/Gun Bills
Several of you have contacted my office this session about the gun bills being proposed. Here is a quick update:
HB 1134 – would have banned the possession, purchase, sale or transfer of so-called “assault weapons” and large capacity magazines (anything over 10 rounds). This bill died in committee.
HB 1387 – would have imposed a special registration-licensing system for large capacity magazines and certain firearms. This bill also died in committee, thanks to the voices of many citizens like you.
HB 1122 – would have required gun owners to lock up their firearms or potentially face Class C felony reckless endangerment charges. I'm not a fan of government telling people how they should defend themselves, their families or their property. Our Second Amendment rights are very clear and very important to me. This bill passed committee but appears to be dead for the session.
We're over halfway through the 2017 legislative session and negotiations are ongoing to implement the final piece to the McCleary puzzle. Education funding plans have passed both the House and Senate and I'm hopeful a solution is forthcoming. We should finish the people's work on time within the allotted 105 days of session and not be thinking about special sessions.
Thank you for staying involved and for reading my e-newsletter. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns about a state issue.