Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This is the second week of the 60-day session. Things are moving quickly in this short session, which is a good sign. The governor provided his State of the State address to the Legislature and statewide elected officials last week – you can watch it here. While the governor's supplemental budget proposed in December was described as a “hold steady” budget, he quickly changed his tune after the Washington Supreme Court reprimanded the Legislature for not doing enough to fund education in our two-year budget set last year. First, the current two-year budget includes more than $1 billion in new funding to education; a substantial move forward in responsibly funding education according to our state constitution. Second, I'm concerned the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds and creating a very serious balance of powers question.
Now, the governor is asking the Legislature to make dramatic changes to our supplemental budget this year to appease the Supreme Court. I'm concerned about making such changes in a short session that is meant to make only minor adjustments to the budget set last year.
The governor also proposed the Legislature increase the minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage will only serve to create economic hardship, especially in Spokane, where many employers can simply move across the border to Idaho. This could result in very real job loss in our area. While I believe every employee should make enough to provide for their families, Washington already has the highest minimum wage in the country. I believe the current minimum wage provides an opportunity for people to move up in their workplaces and earn more.
Telephone town hall meeting tomorrow
I want to remind you about a telephone town hall I'm hosting tomorrow. My seatmate, Rep. Kevin Parker, will also be joining me for the call. The live call will begin at 6:30 p.m. You can call toll-free 1-800-759-5308 anytime during the one-hour call, and press star (*) on your phone to ask us a question. We'll also be asking you instant-result poll questions you can participate in, all from the comfort of your home.
Legislation I'm working on
I'm working on a few straightforward bills this year. In a short session, I don't think we need to be making any major policy changes – these deserve more thorough review during a long session.
- House Bill 2491 would allow county treasurers to host foreclosed property sales online to provide convenience for potential buyers as well as a greater opportunity to earn more funding for counties.
- House Bill 2423 would recognize Statehood Day, the day Washington was signed into existence. The bill would recognize the day in concurrence with Veteran's Day on Nov. 11. This year is the 125th year of Washington's statehood and this bill would help celebrate our state's history.
Finally, I was excited to read that Spokane was pitched as a potential site for Boeing 777X work – I will be a huge proponent of this potential for our area and the many jobs that would come with it!
As always, feel free to contact my office anytime with questions, concerns or suggestions. It's an honor to serve you.