Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2013 session started January 14 and is scheduled to last 105 days.
This year, I will serve on three House committees:
- Agriculture and Natural Resources, where I will continue to serve as the ranking Republican. My goal is to preserve the vitality of Washington agriculture which has stayed strong through a poor economy. Water management also will be a major focus of our discussions in this committee. I will be sending separate updates on agriculture issues, I encourage you to sign up here.
- Appropriations, which considers the state's operating budget. With a $900 million shortfall between spending and revenues, this will likely dominate the discussions in Olympia. The good news is that our state is still expected to bring in $2 billion more in the next two years than we did in the last budget cycle. As the assistant ranking Republican, I look forward to being part of the solution.
- Business and Financial Services, considers the licensing and regulation of businesses; insurance practices; banking procedures; and the regulation of securities and investments. My goal is to simplify regulations and create a stable, predictable environment for small business.
With a new governor, 20 new lawmakers in the House and several more in the Senate, everyone is getting to know each other. I was encouraged Governor Inslee reached out to me to ask about my priorities for our district. As your representative, I have heard loud and clear that we cannot increase taxes on hardworking families. I agree, and so does our new governor. That's why I am joining an effort to change the House chamber's business rules to follow the will of the people to require two-thirds requirements to increase taxes. Our district approved this measure on the ballot by 68 percent.
There are three other House rule changes I am supporting:
- Fund education first in a separate, stand-alone budget before adopting any other budget. This ensures education is given the priority required by our state constitution and a recent Supreme Court ruling (McCleary vs. State).
- Allow citizens to testify first in public hearings here in Olympia. This means if you come to testify for or against legislation, and travel hours to do so, you will receive first priority before lobbyists and agency officials.
- Allow each member to have a bill heard by a committee so the 137,000 people represented by that member are heard. Voters supported their representative because they believe in them as people and in their ideals; those voters should have the opportunity to have their ideals heard in the Legislature.
It's an honor to represent you, and it's essential for me to hear from you. Please contact my office anytime with the information below to share your ideas, concerns or suggestions.