Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have reached the end of our 105-day session. We await the final gavel indicating Sine Die. Sine Die is a Latin term meaning 'without a day.' This is the adjournment of our legislative work for the regular session, without a day scheduled to reassemble.
Budget negotiations have yet to reach an agreement. This will move us into a rolling special session. What this means? It's a waiting game. Budget negotiators and leadership from both chambers will remain in Olympia to find common ground on the operating and capital budgets. The next state revenue forecast will be release in June. The budget will likely be finalized upon review of these projections. Once final common ground is reached, legislators will be called back to vote on the agreed upon budget proposals.
Here are some highlights from Week 15.
2017-19 Transportation Budget
There is some good news on the budget front. The House approved the final 2017-19 Transportation budget, with a vote of 82-14-2. Here's a breakdown of this $8.56 billion budget.
- Retention and recruitment of highly qualified state troopers.
- Maintenance and repairs to roads across Washington state.
- Removal of fish passage barriers.
- Ongoing ferry operations.
- Continued implementation of Connecting Washington projects.
- Minimum solutions to Sound Transit 3.
- Cost overruns associated with the delayed Alaskan Way Viaduct project.
- Pilot program to study a pay-per-mile tax in lieu of a gas tax.
Gov. Jay Inslee signs bill extending the work of the
Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Statewide Coordinating Committee
I was able to work with Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, of Federal Way, as the co-sponsor on this important legislation. This committee addresses critical issues to combat the scourge of sex trafficking of children and youth. The committee expires on June 30, 2017. This legislation extends the committee's work to June 30, 2023.
Life outside the Legislature
Washington state has what is commonly known as a citizen legislature. Each chamber is made up of citizens who have a full-time occupation outside their duties as a legislator. I never miss a vote on the House floor. Unfortunately, this week I missed several votes. Why? I am a police officer with the Seattle Police Department. On Thursday, three of my fellow officers were shot during an armed robbery in downtown Seattle. I left the House floor at the news of this tragedy to be alongside my law enforcement family, specifically the family members of the officers who were shot. I ask that you please keep the officers and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
It's an honor to serve you.