Week two of the legislative session

2017 legislative session • January 20, 2017 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Letter from Leadership 

The Current 2017-18

Dear Friend:  

Happy Inauguration Day. As a new chapter begins for our nation's capital, a busy second week of the legislative session is coming to a close in Olympia.

The last five days included a lot of House committee activity and hearings on topics, such as education funding, graduation requirements, student loans, REAL ID, human trafficking, domestic violence, and fire services mobilization -- to name a few. This gives you an idea of the range of issues the Legislature considers.

Informative presentations

Public hearings are an opportunity for state lawmakers, stakeholders and the public to learn more about critical issues. We all have the opportunity to learn from legislative presentations created by talented, non-partisan staff. Here are some links to presentations that were given in House committees this week: 

Inside Olympia interview

At the beginning of each legislative session, I sit down with Austin Jenkins of TVW in a half-hour interview to discuss House Republican priorities, public policy and the legislative process. Since I was recovering from an illness earlier in the week, I asked our Floor Leader J.T. Wilcox to pinch hit for me. You can watch his wide-ranging interview on Inside Olympia here.  

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
We paused on the House floor Monday morning to honor the life, accomplishments and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Reps. Mark Harmsworth, Drew Stokesbary and Norma Smith provided our floor speeches on this special day (these hyperlinks take you to their speeches). The past lessons from Dr. King continue to guide and inspire us today, and contribute to the collaborative spirit we see in our citizen Legislature.  

In your service,

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader
39th District
(360) 786-7967

Rep. Joyce McDonald

Freshman spotlight: 
Joyce McDonald  

We welcomed nine new members in our caucus this year. However, two of them have served in the state House before. One of those members is Joyce McDonald of the 25th District.  

Joyce is no stranger to public service. In addition to previously serving five terms in the state House, she served as chair, vice chair and executive pro tem on the Pierce County Council, as well as chair of South Sound 911 and chair of the Pierce County Flood Control Zone District. Joyce sits on the House Rules, Early Learning and Human Services, and Technology and Economic Development committees.

Joyce was born and raised in Scotland, and is a naturalized American. You can learn more about her here.  

Solving the school siting problem

At least 28 school districts around our state are hampered by building restrictions created by the Growth Management Act (GMA). That act, which passed in 1990, discourages development outside of urban growth areas, including schools.

This is a problem because school districts must be able to build schools where students are located. The GMA also forces school districts to unnecessarily compete with the private sector for scarce, expensive land.

Rep. Bob McCaslin, a teacher, has introduced legislation that would help fix this problem. House Bill 1017, which has 28 sponsors and strong bipartisan support, would allow for the building of schools and school facilities in all land-use zones, including rural lands. He recently testified in favor of the measure in front of the House Environment Committee.  

To learn more about this problem and solution, read Bob's opinion piece in The Spokesman-Review from last month.   

In the news

Here are some of the news releases our members sent out this week:

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