Tri-Cities Day comes to Olympia!

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Tri-Cities Day 2020

Tri-Cities Day

Dear Friends,

Week three is in the books, and what a week it was!

Not only did three of my bills advance in the legislative process, but the Senate also passed my resolution declaring January to be Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

The Senate also had a vigorous debate over taxes, as the majority party demanded a do-over on a bill from last year -- a move that would mean $1 billion in new taxes on employers.

On a positive note, Thursday was Tri-Cities Day at the Capitol. It's always great seeing so many friends from home and getting to show all of Olympia how amazing the people and employers of the Tri-Cities really are.  

The annual trip to Olympia is organized by the Tri-Cities Legislative Council, which has representatives from the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce,TRIDEC, Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Pasco Chamber of Commerce, the West Richland Chamber of Commerce, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

If you missed out on the trip this year, but still have feedback you would like to share, please write, phone, e-mail, or stop by our office in Olympia any time. 

I would love to hear directly from you!


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Sharon Brown
State Senator
8th District

This Week's Video Update:

We must raise awareness to end human trafficking

Human Trafficking Resolution

Click here to watch this week's video!

Watch video of my resolution increasing awareness of human trafficking and designating January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month by CLICKING HERE or on the image above.

CLICK HERE to listen to audio coverage of our efforts. It includes part of our conversation with Kay Olson, a senior instructor at the WSU College of Nursing. 

Tax Watchdog Alert:

Democrats take second bite at flawed tax increase

Another $1 billion hit to taxpayers!

Too many Taxes

Last year, legislative Democrats approved $26 billion in new taxes over the next decade. One the proposals in that package included an increase in the regressive Business and Occupation (B&O) tax on everything from health-care providers to housing services. Despite the state Department of Revenue indicating the bill violates four of five sound principles of taxation, Democrats passed a similar ‘fix’ in the third week of the 2020 session, shutting down amendments to ease tax burdens on small businesses. 

I tried to exempt mental health providers from the onerous tax hike, but again, Democrats said 'no.' 

You can click here to watch the debate on my amendment.

The original bill left a $200-million hole in the account that funds higher education. This year’s bill will actually raise taxes even more (again, $1 billion over 4 years compared to $773 million over 4 years with last year’s bill).

Legislative Update:

Three of my measures clear energy committee

energy committee

On Thursday, the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee voted to advance three of my bills.

  • Senate Bill 6430 would create a statewide industrial waste coordination program. This idea of industrial symbiosis means intentionally locating industries so that the waste byproduct of one industrial facility is used to produce energy and other resources for an adjacent facility. The bill also would establish a competitive grant program for research into waste exchange ideas.
  • Senate Joint Memorial 8018 asks Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to establish and develop a permanent federal nuclear-waste repository.
  • The third measure advanced by the committee is Senate Bill 6065. This bill would establish the Washington Blockchain Work Group to help create a welcoming environment for businesses that are adopting distributed-ledger technology.

All three measures cleared the committee well before the Feb. 7 deadline for policy bills to be advanced by their committee of origin in order to be approved during the 2020 legislative session.

Click here to read my full press release on these bills.

In the News: 

WTIA and Canadian government name 5 startups for blockchain business accelerator

BY IAN EDWARDS  | GeekWire | Jan. 29, 2020

Arry Yu

Arry Yu, now chair of the Washington Technology Industry Association’s Cascadia Blockchain Council, speaks at the 2018 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

...The Cascadia Blockchain Council was started at the initiative of Yu, who is also an investor in cryptocurrency and blockchain companies...

In mid-January, she and other members of the Cascadia Blockchain Council made a trip to Olympia at the invitation of Republican State Sen. Sharon Brown, who is sponsoring legislation that would establish a governmental blockchain working group. If it’s passed into law, state lawmakers, officials, and industry representatives would examine potential applications for blockchain technology and make public policy recommendations about the technology.

Sen. Brown, who is a member of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, told radio station 610 KONA in January that she saw opportunities for the state government to use blockchain for cases such as storing educational credentials for job seekers or tracking the food supply and preventing outbreaks of contamination.

Click here to read the full article.

Kara Wangsgaard serves as page for Week 3

Kara Wandsgaard

Kara Wangsgaard of Richland, an eighth grader at Chief Joseph Middle School, spent a week working as a page for the Washington State Senate at the Capitol in Olympia. 

She’s a bright young woman and was a fantastic Senate page. 

The 14-year old daughter of Jalene and Scott Wangsgaard is a competitive ballroom dancer and enjoys theatre. 

Students interested in the Senate Page Program can click here to learn more.

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. 

 * * *

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Brown's office at (360) 786-7614.

Jan. 31, 2020

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202 Newhouse Building
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Olympia, WA 98504-0408