What they did while you were sleeping…

2015Banner

What they did while you were sleeping…

floor

Dear Friends,

The fifth week of the 2018 Legislature has come to a close. There are just four weeks left in the regular session. Legislators will need to spend the majority of the remaining time on crafting and passing a supplemental budget if we are going to conclude our work on schedule.

This week was spent mainly working on the Senate floor, passing bills that then go to the House for its consideration. Most of these bills have broad bipartisan support. Even with the other party in the majority, a few of my bills have already passed the Senate. Others failed to receive a full vote of the Senate or were killed by the majority in the fiscal committee – Ways and Means.

For all but political junkies, TVW (the state-supported public-affairs network) usually makes for a good cure for insomnia. On Wednesday night, however, things got a bit heated, as Democrats tried to push through a controversial bill aimed at forcing homecare workers into labor unions. While reasonable folks can disagree on the policy, the tactics used by the majority were disturbing and led to some fireworks on the floor. Debate was silenced, evidence that detailed conflicts of interest was suppressed, and the bill was brought up in the middle of the night. It was a disappointing change from how we conducted business when Republicans led the Senate.

This week did bring some good news out of the other Washington. Earlier today I received word from the Department of Energy that Congress has passed an expansive budget deal that extends tax credits for nuclear-power production. The nuclear-production tax credit was revised to eliminate the deadline for project completion and limited transferability will be allowed when held by municipal entities. This is great news, and makes it even clearer why our Washington must make itself more attractive for those developing new nuclear power technologies, such as small modular reactors.

As always, if there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call, e-mail or write. I appreciate your feedback on these issues as your voice in Olympia.

Sincerely,

New Sig

Sharon Brown
State Senator
8th District

Watch my video update

Energy debates and the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers

week 5
Click to watch this week's video update!

Senate unanimously approves College Campus Suicide Prevention bill

college stress

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed my bill to promote a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and behavioral health at our higher-education institutions, with enhanced services to help students who are veterans.

It is critically important that we have an honest conversation about this issue. I hope my bill will help us to identify the causes of on-campus suicides, as well as provide the resources needed to hopefully prevent the tragic loss of life.

Senate Bill 6514 would require the Department of Health to collaborate with the state’s Student Achievement Council to develop a statewide resource for behavioral health and suicide prevention for the state’s post-secondary institutions.

It also would create a grant program to help post-secondary institutions create partnerships with health-care entities to provide mental-health services on campus. In addition, it directs the state Institute for Public Policy to conduct a study on academic stress in higher-education settings.

I am happy we were able to get a unanimous vote out of the Senate. I hope that my friends in the House of Representatives will agree that the time to act is now.

Every student dealing with stress, every veteran on campus suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder must know that they can reach out for help, and that if they do, that critical aid will be there for them.

In the News: Inslee’s carbon tax bill unfair to middle class

Tri-City Herald Editorial Board | Feb. 9, 2018

tc image

…The proposal — also known as the carbon tax bill — would impose an additional $10 per metric ton on carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. The amount would increase over time to $30 per metric ton by 2029.

The money raised would go to clean energy efforts and projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also might encourage more people to buy vehicles that don’t run solely on fossil fuel, Inslee said.

But adding that extra tax will mean gas prices will go up, and so will heating bills.

State Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, serves on that committee and voted against the legislation. She said there are 57 exemptions in the bill to protect industries that might be tempted to leave the state if the tax was imposed.

So that leaves the rest of us to bear the cost, she said.

Brown said that the tax would be “devastating” to struggling families and “hardworking Washingtonians,” and that Tri-Citians, in particular, would be hit hard.

Click here to read the full Tri-City Herald editorial.

Committee fails to advance geothermal energy bill

Tuesday was the final day for Senate fiscal committees (Ways and Means; Transportation) to vote on Senate bills that have an effect on the state budget. One of the measures that failed to meet the critical deadline was our bill to promote renewable energy by advancing the development of geothermal resources.

Substitute Senate Bill 6350, which cleared the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee last week, wasn’t approved by the Ways and Means fiscal committee prior to Tuesday’s deadline.

While I am disappointed that the Senate majority missed this opportunity to advance geothermal energy, I will continue my work to move the policy forward this session. Geothermal is not just important to Washington’s clean-energy future, it is also critical to the longer-term economic development and fiscal health of our state.

West Richland homeschool students visit the Capitol

West Richland Homeschool Students

I was so pleased today to welcome several 6th and 7th grade homeschool students from West Richland! While I was originally supposed to meet with the students in the grand State Reception Room, their visit coincided with an unusually busy Friday, which has seen us voting on measures well into the evening.

But floor action in the Senate couldn’t stop us from meeting and discussing the legislative process. Instead, we just conducted our visit in the Senate “wings,” meaning the hall right off the floor of the Senate!

I love seeing faces from home while I am in Olympia – especially bright and inquisitive students like the ones I met today. If your classroom or group is planning a trip to Olympia, please contact my office. I can’t promise you a front-row seat to lawmaking, but we would love to welcome you to your Capitol!

In closing…

As always, I value hearing directly from you. I am here to be your voice, and your feedback on bills before the Senate is very important to me. If you would like to contact me please write, phone, e-mail, or stop by if you’re in the Olympia area. 

Feb. 9, 2018

 

Stay Connected

STAY CONNECTED

Send me an e-mail

Office Phone:

360-786-7614

Toll-Free:

800-562-6000

Address:
202 Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40408
Olympia, WA 98504-0408

Committees

MY COMMITTEES

Economic Development & International Trade 
(Ranking Republican)

Energy, Environment & Technology 

Ways & Means