The Current | February 13, 2015

2015 legislative session • February 13, 2015 • 33rd day  

The Current

Letter from Leadership 

Dear Friend: 

It's hard to believe the first month of the legislative session is over. Our first major deadline, House policy committee cutoff, is fast approaching on February 20. You can find the House cutoff calendar here.

House floor action resumed this week, with 27 bills passing out of the chamber. Most of these measures had strong bipartisan support. We expect more floor action next week.


The governor's cap-and-trade bill passed out of the House Environment Committee on a 6-5 party-line vote Tuesday. We offered 28 amendments, with only six being accepted. Our members on this committee created a short video explaining why cap-and-trade would be harmful to families and employers.

The legislation is now in the House Appropriations Committee where the chair, Rep. Ross Hunter, is the second sponsor. There continues to be a claim that this type of program has been a success in other regions, but this brief from the Washington Policy Center suggests otherwise.

Capital gains (income) tax

The governor's other controversial proposal, a new capital gains (income) tax, has yet to receive a public hearing in the House Finance Committee. The Washington Research Council released an informative brief on this bill Monday. The group highlighted the fact it is an income tax and such a tax would increase the cyclical volatility of the state's tax revenue stream. 

Port slowdown, potential shutdown

Many of you have contacted us with your concerns about the West Coast port slowdown, which could lead to a shutdown. The results of this problem have been and will continue to be devastating to the economy of our trade-dependent state.

Unfortunately, as state lawmakers, there is not much we can do to help. Leaders in the Legislature sent a letter to the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and chairman and CEO of the Pacific Maritime Association, but this situation is largely out of our control. This recent editorial from The News Tribune calls on President Obama to intervene. We hope there is a resolution soon.  

Navy Day

We honored the men and women of the U.S. Navy on the House floor Wednesday. Reps. Jesse Young and Drew MacEwen, a U.S. Navy veteran, provided our speeches on House Resolution 4608.

I also had an opportunity to join my 39th District seatmates in a ceremony in the rotunda for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel who assisted in the Oso landslide rescue operations. It was a special and emotional event.

Have a nice weekend.

In your service,
Rep. Dan Kristiansen 
House Republican Leader
39th District

Rep. Drew Stokesbary

Rep. Drew Stokesbary hits the ground running 

With a background in law and local government, freshman Rep. Drew Stokesbary hit the ground running after being sworn in January 12. You can meet the Duke University and Notre Dame Law School graduate in this video.

Rep. Stokesbary is sponsoring several pieces of bipartisan legislation this year -- bills to ease property tax burdens on seniors and veterans, preserve flood control funding without raising taxes, remove duplicate regulatory burdens on some businesses, and combat prescription drug abuse on tribal lands. You can find all of the measures he is sponsoring here.


Education solutions online town hall 

We will be hosting an online town hall focusing on education solutions. The event will be Tuesday, February 17, from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Reps. Chad Magendanz, Dick Muri and Melanie Stambaugh will answer questions on Facebook and Twitter. You can enter your questions and comments on our Facebook comment thread the day of the event, and use #solutionsWA to ask a question on Twitter.


Will the Washington Health Benefit Exchange hit its enrollment targets?  

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is in the news again, this time for the tax-form challenges it is presenting to customers. Other problems for the state Obamacare program have included technical glitches, dropped coverage, transparency issuesinvoice problems, and bizarre promotional ads

Perhaps the most significant problem facing the program is falling short of its enrollment goals. Targets need to be met in order to sustain operational costs. The chair of the House Appropriations Committee had tough words recently for those who are responsible for running the program over concerns and confusion with their budget. The enrollment window closes February 15. We will know more shortly thereafter.

There is a new dialogue emerging in Congress and alternatives to Obamacare are being discussed. This blog post analyzes some of the proposed solutions.    


Next week


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