Legislature adjourns on final day of session

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April 29, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As the Legislature approached midnight yesterday in Olympia and concluded its activities for the 105-day session, I was filled with a sense of pride for the opportunity you have provided me to represent you as our 12th District state senator. Like any session, there are always things to like and not like. This session is no different.

The good news is that the Legislature adjourned on schedule with all three state budgets approved for the 2019-21 biennium. The transportation budget ($10 billion), capital budget ($5 billion), and operating budget ($52.4 billion) were authorized on the final day following many weeks of public process, development and negotiations. I voted for the capital and transportation budgets, which were approved with strong bipartisan support, but voted against the operating budget.

Capitol dome in early evening

The 2019 Legislature concluded its 105-day session at the Capitol late last night.

Capital and transportation budgets

The capital budget successfully funded many of our 12th District priorities, including the Wells Hall replacement for Wenatchee Valley College, Chelan County Emergency Operations Center, Twisp Civic Building, Winthrop Library, Wenatchi Landing sewer extension, and a variety of recreation and park facilities. Click here to review a list of approved capital budget projects. The transportation budget meets the funding needs of our State Patrol, Department of Transportation, and Department of Licensing and extends a continuation of funding for a number of previously planned and authorized projects. Click here to review a list of approved transportation budget projects.

Operating budget

The operating budget was strongly debated. The final budget preserves funding for many existing programs and makes additional investments for K-12 education, higher education, health care, mental health, long-term care, corrections, human services, and natural resources. While all areas of the budget are important to our state, I am particularly pleased that the Department of Natural Resources is receiving a significant increase in funding for fire suppression and forest health. Unfortunately, I believe the overall budget spends too much and relies upon a number of tax increases that I did not support, including increased taxes on businesses, banks, oil refineries, and real estate. I would have rather balanced the budget using the existing revenues the state has collected through our economic growth, made limited additional spending beyond the maintenance of existing programs, and saved more of your taxpayer dollars as reserves to protect against an economic downturn. However, as I expected at the beginning of the session, many of my colleagues had different opinions.

School levy expansion

A very notable difference of opinion this session related to expanding the authorization levels for local school levies following many years of the state’s increased education funding. This effort to allow school districts to seek additional property tax increases at the local level consumed many hours of legislative debate in the final days and was finally approved by the 49-member Senate with just minutes remaining in the 105-day session by a vote of 25-24. I voted “no” because I would rather have the state provide more education funding to our 295 school districts equally per student, if needed, rather than allow each school district to pursue additional funding separately through their local property taxes.

Sen. Hawkins' 2019 session staff

Thank you to my dedicated staff of Jack Grimm, Legislative Assistant (left), Madison Leeman, Senate Intern (middle), and Marshall Greenlaw, Session Aide (right).

Dedicated staff

I believe that legislative positions exist to serve the people who elect us. My office is fortunate to have an amazing staff who is dedicated to you – the people of the 12th District. If you have contacted my office at any time in the past or this session, you know that we place a very high priority on the customer service that we provide to you.  My staff of Jack Grimm, Madison Leeman, and Marshall Greenlaw not only helped me stay on schedule but also helped me meet my standards of service and responsiveness to you. I thank them and my communications staffer, Brian Zylstra, for their hard work and dedicated service. I could not do this job successfully without them.

Thank you

I also could not do this job successfully without you! Thank you for keeping in continuous communications with me about the priorities of our district and your opinions on issues. I work very hard to represent our entire district, one of the largest and most diverse in this state. I am honored to represent you. My plan in the weeks ahead is to regroup and enjoy time with my favorite constituents – my family – and recharge my batteries for future efforts.

I look forward to sharing details with you in the summer about my 3rd Annual 12th District Listening Tour, which usually takes place in September. This will once again provide me an excellent opportunity to hear directly from you, where you are, so that my staff and I can prepare to serve you in the 2020 legislative session.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your state senator.



Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District
E-mail: brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov 

Website: senatorbradhawkins.org

107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000