The Current | March 29, 2013

The Current

Your citizen Legislature • Washington House Republicans • March 29, 2013

Rep. Drew MacEwen

Letter from Leadership

The cherry blossoms are blooming in Olympia. While the weather has been nice this week, state lawmakers have been spending a lot of time indoors -- in committee hearings and preparing the operating, capital and transportation budgets.

Governor Jay Inslee released his operating budget priorities this week -- including $1.2 billion in tax increases. Many people, including myself, were hoping he would keep his campaign promise to not raise taxes. It appears the governor has changed his mind.

The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus is expected to take the lead and propose an operating budget next week. House Democrats have said they will release their proposal a week after the Senate.

The backdrop for these negotiations is a $1.27 billion operating budget shortfall. Two major elements of the debate are: 1) How much money should be dedicated to K-12 education as a result of the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision? and 2) Should the state live within its means or raise taxes? I think you know where House Republicans stand on the education and tax issues.

As assistant ranking Republican on the House Capital Budget Committee, I'm working on a responsible capital budget that invests in vital projects across our state, creates jobs and spends taxpayer dollars wisely. It has been an interesting process.

The next 30 days of the legislative session promise to reveal different approaches to our state's challenges. Please know you can always be a part of the decision making -- and we welcome it.

Have a happy Easter.

Rep. Drew MacEwen
35th District
Assistant Whip

In the news

"You don't often hear a Democrat say we over-tax business, but we do. I want to be really clear that it's a problem in the state."

—Jim McIntire, State Treasurer

Quote taken from the March 21 Olympia Business Watch article: "Democratic state treasurer says Wash. business taxes are too high."

The week ahead


Commercialization of research. Work session. House Higher Education Committee. House Hearing Room A at 8:30 a.m.

Financial aid roundtable discussion. Work session. House Higher Education Committee. House Hearing Room A at 8:30 a.m.

Replacement ballot by telephone request. Senate Bill 5500. House Government Operations and Elections Committee. House Hearing Room E at 9:00 a.m.

Granting scheduling authority for qualified retrospective rating plan employers and groups. Senate Bill 5112. House Labor and Workforce Development Committee. House Hearing Room D at 10:00 a.m.

Employee wellness programs. Senate Bill 5811. House Labor and Workforce Development Committee. House Hearing Room D at 10:00 a.m.

Liquor sales and distribution. House Bill 2019. House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. House Hearing Room E at 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday (policy committee cutoff -- opposite chamber)

Innovations in remedial education. Work session. House Higher Education Committee. House Hearing Room A at 1:30 p.m.


Aligning high school and postsecondary STEM. Senate Bill 5624. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. House Hearing Room A at 1:30 p.m.

Find us online

Need to contact us? Member information can be found here; staff contacts here.  

Numbers that tell a story   

Washington by the numbers: Commute times (Seattle P-I)

Washington by the numbers: Bicyclists and pedestrians vs. solo drivers (Seattle P-I)

Map of county unemployment rates (Employment Security Department)

Cherry blossoms

Bipartisan Senate bills may stall in the House  

The state Senate passed more than 270 bills for the state House of Representatives to consider -- all with bipartisan support. Many of them are not receiving public hearings, which is unfortunate.

K-12 education

We support several Senate measures -- including Senate Bill 5237. This legislation would implement strategies to improve literacy skills for K-4 students. It received a public hearing and we're hoping it will move out of the House Education Committee next week without major revisions.

The economy

Two other Senate measures would reform our struggling workers' compensation system and lower costs for employers.

Senate Bill 5112 would create efficiency in claim handling by allowing retrospective ratings programs the limited ability to schedule appointments for two independent medical exams and vocational rehabilitation assessments. It is scheduled for a public hearing in House Labor and Workforce Development Committee Tuesday (see details to the left).

Senate Bill 5127 would expand eligibility for structured settlement agreements to workers age 40 and older, and correct a misinterpretation by the BIIA which has delayed the approval of settlement agreements. A public hearing has not been schedule for this legislation.

Rep. Bruce Chandler

Agriculture update 

Rep. Bruce Chandler is the ranking Republican on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He sends out an Agriculture Update during the legislative session. To read his update from this week -- including information on the status of House and Senate bills, wolf management and the Yakima Basin water plan --click here.

Pictured above is a dairy farm in Bruce's hometown of Granger. 

Our Comcast Newsmakers  

Last month, some of our members sat down with Sabrina Register of Comcast Newsmakers to talk about an array of issues. You can find the videos below.