The Current | February 28, 2014

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share

The Current

An update on your citizen Legislature • February 28, 2014

The Capitol

Letter from Leadership

Week seven of the legislative session continues. The House Appropriations Committee will meet tomorrow to take action on bills. This committee work will conclude a busy week in the House and help set state lawmakers up for the homestretch of the legislative session. 

On Wednesday, House Democrats rolled out their supplemental operating budget. Our budget leader, Rep. Bruce Chandler, released this statement on it. We will take action on this budget on the House floor early next week.

That same day, Rep. Drew MacEwen held a bipartisan news conference to share a new plan that would help construct classrooms for full-day kindergarten and K-3 class-size reduction. The story to the right has more details.

Yesterday, the Senate passed its supplemental operating budget by a strong, bipartisan 41-8 vote. If you don't feel like reading a long document, try this short summary.

I'm happy to report that 79 bills prime-sponsored by Washington House Republicans have passed off the House floor this legislative session. For a comparison of the last 60-day session in 2012, click here.

Only 13 days remain in the legislative session. We will keep you updated on the major issues as they develop. 
In your service,
Rep. Dan Kristiansen
39th District
House Republican Leader

The week ahead

Next week will include a lot of time on the House floor. Monday is fiscal committee cutoff, and Friday is opposite house chamber cutoff. Find the House schedule here

In the news

"This isn’t a Republican thing, or a Democratic thing, but the right thing to do."

- Rep. Drew MacEwen, on House Bill 2797. Learn more below.

Rep. Drew MacEwen

Bipartisan school construction plan introduced

Rep. Drew MacEwen, pictured above, helped unveil a new plan Wednesday that would allow for $700 million in bonds, backed by state Lottery revenue, for grants to school districts to construct classrooms for full-day kindergarten and K-3 class-size reduction. You can watch the news conference here

One important aspect of the legislation is that school districts would not be required to pass a local levy to match the construction funding.

House Bill 2797, in addition to helping the state take another important step toward its McCleary obligations, would also create jobs. It passed out of the House Capital Budget Committee and now awaits House floor action.

Rep. Chad Magendanz

Pioneer Educator Award 

Rep. Chad Magendanz, pictured above, recently received the 2014 Pioneer Educator Award from the Digital Public Schools Alliance. The 5th District lawmaker spoke to the group at the Capitol last week. 

Expert Review Panel reveals more WSDOT failures 

The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program Expert Review Panel Report came out yesterday. As expected, it highlighted more WSDOT failures -- a state agency under the governor's control.

On page 35 of the report, it says: "The ERP finds that the most important schedule-related risk item for the Project is with regard to effective partnership between WSDOT and STP: the entire WSDOT AWV Project Team must work in collaboration with STP and other stakeholders to get the TBM moving and progress tunnel excavation."

Rough translation: One of the biggest risks is WSDOT’s inability to get along with the group that is digging the tunnel. 

Comparing transportation tax proposals

The House Democrats and Senate Majority Coalition Caucus have put forward transportation tax proposals that would provide funding for new infrastructure, maintenance and preservation of existing infrastructure, ferries, transit, bike lanes, and the Washington State Patrol. The Washington Policy Center provides a comparison of the two proposals.

Our views on this issue have not changed. We understand that our state has infrastructure needs. However, our state needs new reforms before new revenue is considered. There are too many ongoing, high-profile errors at WSDOT, which are wasting scarce gas-tax dollars, to have confidence in the system moving forward.    

Democrats double down on Obamacare

Despite the broken promises and high-profile failures of Obamacare in our state, House Democrats are more interested in expanding it than fixing it. For example:

  • House Bill 2594 would expand Obamacare in our state by directing the Health Care Authority to begin econometric modeling to analyze Basic Health Program enrollment and the costs and impacts. Learn more here.

Not one Washington House Republican voted for this bill.

Here are a few of the Obamacare problems in our state:

We need to fix Obamacare problems, step-by-step, in common-sense ways. While many of the issues must be addressed at the national level in Congress, some things can be done at the state level in the Legislature.

One step would be to allow Washingtonians to buy health insurance plans in other states. Senate Bill 6464, which passed the Senate, would allow Washington residents to buy catastrophic health-care plans in other states. House Democrats won't allow the bill to move forward.

Victims' families speak out against the governor 

In a news conference Wednesday, victims' families shared their disappointment with the governor's decision to place a moratorium on the death penalty.

Some of the family members also testified in favor of Senate Bill 6566.
The measure would prevent future governors from issuing blanket death-penalty moratoriums. Learn more in this story.

Rep. Dick Muri

Freshman perspective

Rep. Dick Muri joined Austin Jenkins of TVW's Inside Olympia and Democratic Rep. Brady Walkinshaw to discuss what it's like to be a freshman lawmaker in the Legislature. Rep. Muri also discussed transportation and veterans' issues in the interview.

Picture above: Rep. Muri is congratulated on the passage of his first bill (House Bill 2363) on February 17. The measure would help military service members who have children with developmental disabilities. Learn more here.