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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'm not sure if you watch the Winter Olympics or not. Our current place in this 60-day session reminds me a lot of our Olympic downhill alpine ski athletes. They get to the start gate, look down the mountain, anticipate what each turn will bring and the speed they will need, and push off, like they've done a hundred times before. Regardless of how many times they've raced a race, each course brings different challenges.
Much like a downhill ski race, there have been twists and turns at a fast pace as we've met the House of Origin cutoff. What this means? Any bill introduced in the House, which made it through its respected committee, and passed the House chamber, remains active in the legislative process. There have been 320 bills that have passed the House to date.
Haven't I heard this before? | Government efficiency bill
Last session, I introduced House Bill 1828, requiring the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to conduct space utilization studies to establish standards for use of state-acquired real estate, and evaluate opportunities for co-location and consolidation of properties.
This policy is about smaller, more efficient government. It's about holding state agencies honest and accountable for the use of space in their facilities. If there is under-utilized space, the state needs to combine multiple agencies rather than spending taxpayer dollars to obtain new real estate. This is an area where the state can find savings to keep taxes low, and continue to live within our means.
Unfortunately, this bill ran out of time last year and didn't cross the finish line. It's been reintroduced this year, and has unanimously passed the House chamber. It now moves to the Senate for further consideration. I will keep you posted as this important policy continues its journey.
The race isn't over | Battles to come
There are still major issues on our plate as we head into the last gates of this 2018 session race, heading towards the finish line. As I'm sure you've all heard, the governor and the majority party are pushing for more taxes. One particular tax is a carbon tax. This will have massive impacts on our working families as gas prices, natural gas and energy prices will all go up. This policy is about bringing in more money for the state to spend, on the backs of you – the taxpayer, rather than actually curbing carbon and passing sound environmental policy.
Everyone cares about our environment and wants clean air and water. It's how we go about finding the right solutions that matter most. I support balanced policy that actually address the carbon problem, and doesn't further impact our economy, jobs, and lifestyles.
Things to come! | Constituent outreach opportunity
Telephone town hall. Rep. Drew Stokesbary and I will be hosting a telephone town hall in early March. This community conversation, which is similar to a call-in radio show, gives you the opportunity to ask questions directly to us. I look forward to an engaging conversation and encourage everyone to attend. We are still working out the date and details so stay tuned for more information in upcoming updates!
Please feel free to contact my office with any questions, issues or concerns. I am your voice in Olympia and I want to hear from you.
It's an honor to serve you.
430 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7866 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000