Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2016 legislative session has begun. While there will be many issues before us in this quick 60-day session, I want you to know my priorities and those of my House Republican colleagues:
- Provide students with a world-class education
- Empower families and strengthen communities
- Protect taxpayers and hold government accountable
- Safeguard our neighborhoods
These priorities will be at the forefront as I make decisions that will impact citizens in the 15th District and around the state.
This year's budget should truly be a supplemental budget, one of the first I've seen in many years. We will only need to make very minor changes to the two-year spending plan we passed last July. However, some in Olympia can't seem to get enough taxpayer dollars and would like to tax things like bottled water. To see the governor's 2016 supplemental budget proposal, click here. To read my statement on his budget, click here. With this summer's devastating wildfires, it may be necessary to tap into the state's Rainy Day Fund, similar to how we did last year to pay for the Oso Landslide and the Carlton Complex Fire. This fund is for unforeseen emergencies, not daily expenses, and is expected to have close to a billion dollars by the end of 2017.
K-12 Education: McCleary and Charter Schools
Despite what some may say, the state is on track to meet our McCleary obligations. We made historic investments in K-12 education last year with full-day kindergarten, reducing class sizes and giving teachers cost-of-living increases. We currently have a bipartisan workgroup to determine how much local school districts rely on local levies for their “basic education” needs. I expect this levy issue to be addressed during the budget-writing 2017 legislative session.
Unfortunately, the state Supreme Court once again overstepped their bounds with last year's ruling against the voter-approved public charter school system. There is bipartisan support in the Legislature to arrive at a solution. However, the governor has not expressed his support, though he has had numerous opportunities to do so. To watch a quick, informative video on the charter school issue along with our solution, click here to watch the ranking Republican on the House Education Committee, Rep. Chad Magendanz.
Serving as a legislative page
It's always a privilege to host legislative pages from back home. For more information on the House page program, click here. To watch a video about what it's like to be a page, click here. This week, Clare Wilmes from La Salle served as a legislative page. Clare is the daughter of Kathleen and Stephen Wilmes and attends La Salle High School.
I invite you to stay connected to the Legislature here:
Capitol Buzz – A daily electronic clip service of House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
The Current – An online publication from House Republicans to include you in the legislative process. Click here to subscribe.
Check out my website – www.representativebrucechandler.com. From this link, you can get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases.
Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live. You can also watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet: www.tvw.org
Legislature's website – You can get bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov
Legislative Hotline – 1-800-562-6000 – You can leave messages for me or other elected officials on issues and legislation.
Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns about your state government. It is a pleasure to serve you in Olympia.