The Current | January 17, 2014

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share

The Current

An update on your citizen Legislature • January 17, 2014

Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Letter from Leadership

It is has been a while since we talked to you last -- November 19 to be exact. We hope your 2014 is off to a great start.

As you know, the 60-day legislative session started on Monday. The governor gave his State of the State address on Tuesday. It was largely viewed as heavy on politics and light on details. However, you can judge for yourself by watching it here (31:40 mark) or reading it here

The Washington House Republicans and Senate Majority Coalition Caucus held a media availability event (pictured above) after the address which you can watch here. We provided a clear contrast in terms of legislative priorities and are focused on jobs, education and responsible state spending.

You can also find the official Republican response to the governor's address from Sen. Randi Becker here.  

I had the opportunity to participate in the AP Legislative Forum and Seattle CityClub 2014 Legislative Preview last week. You can watch the events here and here.

It may be a short session, but we look forward to the long hours ahead. We hope you will be part of the process.

If you want to visit the Capitol, you can find information here. You can also find a calendar of events and activities here.

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

Check out our new mobile website

Are you viewing this on your smartphone or tablet? If so, check out our new mobile website here! Tell us what you think.

In the news

@WaHouseGOP Jan 9

.@KimballDonald We believe strong reforms in @wsdot must be addressed 

—An answer to a question on the proposed state gas tax hike at our recent Twitter Town Hall. The link is to our transportation solutions video.


First-ever Twitter Town Hall in Legislature a success

Washington House Republicans hosted the Legislature's first-ever Twitter Town Hall on January 9. Using the hashtag #solutionsWA, House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen and Floor Leader J.T. Wilcox  answered 24 questions in 45 minutes on a variety of topics.

The highlight of the event included the participation of a fourth-grade Lowell Elementary School class from Bellingham. You can learn more here.

Governor Inslee held a Twitter Town Hall last September, but it did not go well. The Spokesman-Review called it "a bust" in this article. This Washington State Wire piece explained the problems in more detail.

Rep. Leonard Christian

Goodbye, hello 

We recently said goodbye to three Washington House Republicans who have voluntarily moved on to new things. Reps. Gary Alexander and Larry Crouse resigned at year's end and are now enjoying retirement. Rep. Jan Angel ran for the state Senate and won decisively. She was sworn in to her new office on December 17 -- making her the first Republican woman to represent the 26th District in the state Senate. Learn more here.

All three state lawmakers were leaders in the state House of Representatives and we will miss them. Their replacements were recently appointed, including two of them today: 

  • Rep. Graham Hunt, 2nd District, Position 1.
  • Rep. Leonard Christian, 4th District, Position 1 (pictured above). 
  • Rep. Jesse Young, 26th District, Position 1.

You can find an article on Rep. Christian from today's Spokesman-Review here. We will be sharing more information on these new members later this month. 

Washington not immune from Obamacare problems 

In a November 17 opinion piece in The Washington Post, Governor Inslee said that people keep asking him what makes his state so successful in implementing Obamacare. We are having trouble understanding how he could view the launch of Obamacare in our state as a success. The facts simply show otherwise. 

You've probably heard the stories by now. State website glitchestax-credit mistakes,  thousands of calls going unanswered at the state Health Benefit Exchange, unmet enrollment goals,   Seattle Children's Hospital's lawsuit against the state for failure to ensure adequate network coverage, cancellation notices and sticker shock for many people. 

The governor didn't mention any of these problems in his State of the State address Tuesday.

One of the most problematic aspects of Obamacare, the employer mandate, was delayed and won't even be implemented until 2015.

Broken promises

The most disappointing aspects of Obamacare, which Congressman Inslee voted for in 2010, are the broken promises.

We now know that if you like your health insurance, you might not be able to keep it. More than 290,000 Washingtonians have received health insurance cancellation notices.

To mitigate what PolitiFact labeled the "Lie of the Year," President Obama announced on November 14 that his administration would allow health insurance companies to sell existing plans even if they don’t meet the minimum standards set by the health care law. Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler released a statement the same day saying our state would not comply. 

Our leader on health care, Rep. Joe Schmick, penned an opinion piece expressing his disappointment with the insurance commissioner's action. You can find it here

We now also know that if you like your doctor, you might have to pay considerably more to keep that doctor. 

Finally, it was promised  that a typical family would see its health insurance premiums decrease by up to $2,500 per year. Yet, many people across our state are experiencing much higher costs than before.

Can anything be done at the state level?

The question is what, if anything, can be done at the state level to address these problems. We believe some things can be done. Visit our health care solutions page here for more information.