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2017 legislative session • February 10, 2017 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Letter from Leadership 

The Current 2017-18

Dear Friend:  

Greetings from Olympia, where the week started off with a snow storm and ended with a lot of rain. I hope you stayed safe this week and were not too inconvenienced by the weather across our state.  

Democrats pass education bill out of committee

The education-funding debate is heating up. House Democrats rolled out their education legislation last week. The bill received a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, and passed out of this committee on a party-line vote on Thursday.

Our members voted against this measure and we will oppose it on the House floor next week. The reasons are pretty simple.

First, Democrats refused to say how they would pay for their $6.2 billion in new spending. People deserve to know how this public policy might affect them financially. The Democrats should also show they have the votes for it. I discussed this in our weekly meeting with reporters on Tuesday.

This is the list of potential tax increases proposed by the House Democrats to date. The governor wants new taxes on energy, capital income, small businesses, vehicles and bottled water back in December.

Secondly, the Democrats' approach would do nothing to address our state’s regressive levy system and does not sufficiently address the core McCleary problem. I also talked about this aspect with the press earlier in the week.  

Finally, the Democrats' bill has no meaningful reforms and does not focus on accountability. It can't just be about putting more money in the system; we must also improve student outcomes. The Senate Republicans' plan would set goals, demand accountability and transform failing schools.

You can expect a spirited debate on the House floor next week. Stay tuned!

Comparing the two approaches

The Senate Republicans' plan also received a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday. You can find a side-by-side comparison, created by non-partisan staff, of the Senate Republican and House Democratic plans here. There were also two comprehensive articles on the issue this week.    

Committee changes

With Rep. Matt Shea's promotion to Caucus Chair, it created an opening for a new ranking member on the House Environment Committee. Rep. David Taylor was appointed as our new ranking member, and Rep. Vincent Buys also joined the committee.

David's appointment created a vacancy in the ranking-member role on the House Local Government Committee. Rep. Dan Griffey was chosen as our new ranking member, with Rep. Liz Pike moving up to assistant ranking member.

Rep. Larry Haler was also added to the House Rules Committee.

Visit our new website

We launched our new website this week. We built it with you in mind: It is mobile- and tablet-friendly, easy to navigate, interactive and informative. Our goal was to make it easier for you to become involved with your citizen Legislature. Please bookmark us!


In your service,

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

Rep. Vicki Kraft

Rep. Vicki Kraft sponsors equal pay legislation  

"Equal pay for equal work is common-sense legislation,”  said Rep. Vicki Kraft during her testimony in a public hearing last week. Vicki is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1447, which would modernize the Equal Pay Act and provide additional remedies for women who may have been discriminated against in their pay on the basis of their gender.

The legislation, which has 10 Republican sponsors, has not passed out of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee. You can find the non-partisan bill analysis here.  

Vicki's profile

Vicki is a freshman lawmaker from Southwest Washington's 17th District. She is a former small business owner and was a community leader prior to being elected to office.

Sponsoring equal pay legislation shows Vicki has wasted no time tackling big issues. She has also sought out more responsibility. Vicki was appointed to our Leadership team to serve as Assistant Whip and sits on the House Capital Budget, Rules and State Government, Elections and Information Technology committees.

Vicki and her husband, Paul, live in Vancouver.

Promoting state tourism

Rep. Cary Condotta has been working with state lawmakers and stakeholders to put Washington state’s tourism industry back on the map.

Cary is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1123, which would create the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA). The bill would use existing revenue to implement a statewide tourism-marketing plan. It would also require an audit of the WTMA once it is in place.

With a small investment, Washington could generate double or even triple the return from the tourism industry. States that invest in their tourism industry see a strong return on their dollars. Other states are pumping more money into their tourism industry every year.

The goal behind this concept is to not let Washington fall behind, especially when our state has so much to offer. We are the only state in the country without a statewide tourism-marketing program.  

The legislation has strong bipartisan support. It passed out of the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee unanimously and will receive a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on February 15.

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