Welcome Rep. Andrew Barkis

2016 legislative session • February 19, 2016 

The Current

Letter from Leadership 

Dear Friend:  

We are now officially two-thirds of the way through the legislative session. Wednesday represented house of origin cutoff. To date, 285 bills have passed off the House floor -- including nearly 100 House Republican prime-sponsored measures. To learn more about bills that are dead or alive, click here.

In the final 20 days, the House and Senate will consider each other's bills, and both chambers will pass supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. The House supplemental operating budget is expected to be released Monday, voted out of committee on Tuesday and reach the House floor on Thursday.    

State revenue forecast

The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its state revenue forecast on Wednesday. The General Fund-State revenue forecast was decreased by $67 million for the 2015-17 budget cycle and decreased by $442 million for the 2017-19 budget cycle. Chief Economist and Executive Director Steve Lerch noted the U.S. economy has slowed, the stronger dollar has had a negative impact on exports and manufacturing activity has weakened.

This forecast is a reminder that our state's economic recovery is fragile. The strength of our economy will influence future budget decisions, which means we should be doing everything we can as state lawmakers to promote economic growth and job creation.  

Senate Democrats vote down 2/3rds constitutional amendment 

Last Friday, the Senate voted on Senate Joint Resolution 8211 (SJR 8211). The measure would put an amendment to our state constitution that would require a 2/3rds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes on the ballot for voters to consider. It needed a two-thirds vote in the Senate to pass, but unfortunately 23 Democrats voted against it.

Through a procedural motion on January 25, we tried to place House Joint Resolution 4215 (HJR 4215) on the Second Reading Floor Calendar in an attempt to force a full House vote on the legislation. The measure is similar to SJR 8211. Unfortunately, House Democrats voted against it -- despite the fact voters have told us six times they want it to be more difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes. We will continue to fight for HJR 4215 and taxpayers.

Town hall, telephone town hall meetings

This is town hall weekend for the Legislature. Ten of our members will be hosting events in their communities. However, most of us opt for telephone town hall meetings because they offer a more convenient way for constituents to participate. This format, which is a similar to a call-in radio show, also allows us to talk with more people at once. We have hosted 187 of these events since 2009 -- far more than any other caucus.  

New member from the 2nd Legislative District

In closing, I would like to welcome Andrew Barkis to our caucus and the Washington State House of Representatives. We are excited that he is on our team. You can learn more about Andrew below.

In your service,

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader
39th District

Rep. Andrew Barkis

Welcome Rep. Andrew Barkis 

Andrew Barkis was appointed state representative for the 2nd Legislative District by the Thurston County Commission and Pierce County Council on Tuesday. He was then immediately sworn in at DuPont City Hall by Judge Grant Blinn. Rep. Barkis replaces Graham Hunt, who resigned February 2.

On his first day on the job, Rep. Barkis voted on several bills and worked on the House floor past midnight. The next day, he was appointed to the House Local Government and Business and Financial Services committees.

Welcome Rep. Barkis! Learn more about him here.

Rep. Chad Magendanz

Addressing our state's teacher shortage 

One of our legislative priorities is to provide students with a world-class education. This includes having a great teacher in every classroom.

Unfortunately, our state is experiencing a teacher and substitute teacher shortage. According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, areas with the greatest shortages include elementary, special education, mathematics, science and career and technical education teachers. Our lead on K-12 education, Rep. Chad Magendanz (pictured), talks about this issue in a recent video update.

We have put forward solutions to address this problem. House Bill 2382 would promote alternate routes to teacher certification, and encourage candidates with industry experience into the teaching profession as a second career. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Magendanz, passed the House Education Committee but didn't make it out of the House Appropriations Committee.

House Bill 2573, which has three Republican co-sponsors, would enhance teacher recruitment, encourage retired teachers to return to the classroom as mentors and advisors, and provide financial aid to individuals in teacher preparation programs. The measure passed the House 92-6.  

House Bill 1737, sponsored by Rep. Ed Orcutt, would allow teacher retirees under early retirement provisions to work as substitute teachers up to 630 hours per year without suspending their pension benefits. The legislation passed the House 96-1. 


Twitter town hall 

Reps. J.T. Wilcox and Matt Manweller answered 19 questions in 30 minutes at our Twitter town hall yesterday afternoon. Topics included: McCleary, tax incentives, charter schools, unions, Boeing, and contraception. You can find a recap here. A thank you to all who participated. We'll try it again sometime.  


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