Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This will be the last email update I will be sending before the Legislature convenes. Legislators will be under election year restrictions from Dec. 1 until Jan. 13, the first day of session.
I will still be able to respond to any emails, mail, phone messages or other direct communications in which you contact me. Please let me know if you have any questions.
If you voted this November you opened your ballot to see a page full of advisory ballot measures. As a reminder, when the Legislature passes a tax increase, an advisory vote is placed on the next general election ballot. While the intention is to keep lawmakers accountable to taxpayers when it comes to taxes, the results do not change the law.
Taxpayers voted to repeal most of the tax increases on the ballot. I view the advisory votes as important feedback for me and other elected officials in Olympia. While they were only advisory ballot measures, I appreciate the voice of the voters. I will take this information into the legislative session as I expect more tax proposals to come before us in 2020.
Taxpayers also made their voice heard on I-976, the car-tab initiative. Counties in the 12th District supported the initiative overwhelmingly:
- Chelan: 61.28%
- Douglas: 68.11%
- Grant: 72.84%
- Okanogan: 65.06%
However, this issue is far from over. Some cities and counties are challenging the validity of I-976 and have filed lawsuits. In fact, the courts have just ruled that I-976 be put on hold while plaintiffs argue their legal case against the initiative.
We will have to follow the court case as the session progresses. The initiative and transportation funding will get a lot of attention during the upcoming legislative session.
For more information on I-976 click on the Department of Licensing's Fact Sheet. There is also a graph below on where the potential impacts from the initiative's passage will be in the upcoming biennium.
I am currently working on a number of issues for the upcoming session. One piece of legislation would require the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to treat the siting of cannabis license locations like liquor store locations. The state should allow local governments to decide what are suitable locations for cannabis stores under their own zoning rules. Local government carries the burden of enforcement and zoning so it should be their decision. Under current law, the LCB asks for comment, but makes the final decision without regard to local zoning.
I will also be working on House Bill 1633 again. This is the legislation that would make the posting of state and federal fuel tax rate information by fuel pump inspectors permanent.
I introduced this bill last session and it passed the state House of Representatives by a vote of 92-2. Unfortunately, it did not even receive a public hearing in the Senate.
Transparency must come with taxation. Consumers already know what taxes they are paying on most services and goods. This becomes even more important with the looming debate on transportation funding with the passage of I-976.
My bill makes a law permanent that was part of the transportation budget last biennium. However, because it was only part of the budget, the law expired in June.
House Page Program
The House of Representatives offers students ages 14 to 16 an excellent opportunity to get involved in their state government by serving as a page for a week during the legislative session. Students in the program attend page school every day, deliver messages and documents to legislators and staff, and complete other tasks important to the operation of the Legislature.
To serve as a page, a student must have permission from a parent or guardian, and his or her school. Paging is a paid position – $35 per day. To apply for the House Page Program you can access an online application here or the printable application here. If you have any questions feel free to call my district office at 509-664-1274.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a legislative issue or an idea you'd like to discuss. If you plan on being in Olympia during the session, contact my office to set up a meeting. It is great to see folks from the 12th District during the legislative session.
It is an honor to serve you!