The Current | March 6, 2015

2015 legislative session • March 6, 2015 • 54th day  

The Current

Letter from Leadership 

Dear Friend:  

We are officially past the midway point of the 105-day legislative session. The House worked into the evenings most of this week and was able to pass several bills.  

Next week will include House floor and committee action. Our next legislative deadline is March 11 -- house of origin cutoff. To find out what is dead or alive in the legislative process, please visit this updated list

Do you support a transportation tax package? 

The Senate passed a transportation tax package Monday, and eight transportation reforms last Friday. You can find the details in the story below.

We have been hearing from constituents on this issue, including many who are not in favor of raising the state gas tax. We would like to hear directly from you. Please consider taking this short survey.

Operating budget

It is the House Democrats' turn to produce the first operating budget proposal this year. They have said they plan to release their 2015-17 spending plan by March 23. With the revenue forecast being moved up to February, both the House and Senate have the information they need to move forward with proposals. We look forward to seeing what the House Democrats bring forward. 

The good lady from the 25th District

It is not every day a major newspaper writes a feature story on one of our members. But it happened this week. The Seattle Times profiled 24-year-old Rep. Melanie Stambaugh Tuesday. You can find the story here.  

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

Rep. Matt Manweller

Controversial minimum wage bill passes House on party-line vote

House Bill 1355, which would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour over four years, passed on a party-line vote Tuesday. We offered several amendments that were rejected by the majority party, which limited the debate. You can watch Rep. Matt Manweller's floor speech here.   

Rep. Van Werven

Van Werven brings Whatcom County values to the Legislature 

Rep. Luanne Van Werven is a fifth generation Whatcom County resident who calls Lynden home. Committed to the spirit of volunteerism, she has spent her adult life involved in community service. 

Learn more about why Rep. Van Werven ran for office and who her favorite president is in this video.  


Senate moves transportation reforms, tax package to House  

The Senate passed a bipartisan transportation tax package that would increase the state gas tax by 11.7 cents over the next three years to pay for transportation projects around the state. You can find Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler's statement here.

The Senate also passed eight transportation reforms. The measures attempt to bring more accountability to the troubled WSDOT, maximize future gas-tax dollars and prioritize congestion relief. These reforms are subject to change through the legislative process:

  • Senate Bill 5990 -- Sales tax exemptions on transportation projects would be transferred from the general fund to transportation accounts starting in 2019. Passed 26-23. 
  • Senate Bill 5991 -- 20 percent of funding in the Environmental Legacy Stewardship Account would be used for WSDOT legacy stormwater projects and fish-passage barrier removals. Passed 27-22.
  • Senate Bill 5992 -- Would reform how ferries are built, including a design build, fixed-price contract model, without impacting current ferry contracts. Passed 48-1.  
  • Senate Bill 5993 -- Would apply the 15-percent apprenticeship labor hours requirements for five years to projects costing more than $3 million, and thereafter apply to contracts of $2 million. Passed 48-1.  
  • Senate Bill 5994 -- Would streamline transportation corridor project permiting by requiring local governments to approve permits within 90 days and reduce opportunities for appeals. Passed 39-19.
  • Senate Bill 5995 -- Would make congestion relief and improved freight mobility part of the transportation goals. Passed 49-0.
  • Senate Bill 5996 -- Would create a multiagency permitting process to provide early project coordination that focuses on environmental aspects of the project. Passed 47-2.
  • Senate Bill 5997 -- Would encourage WSDOT to use design build on all projects over $10 million for five projects, and the Joint Transportation Committee is to create a design-build contracting review panel to make recommendations on how to improve WSDOT's process. Passed 49-0.

This week


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