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Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Legislature adjourns sine die

April 30th, 2019|

With three minutes to spare before the midnight deadline, the 2019 Legislature adjourned last night. This is the first time in a decade the Legislature has completed a 105-day session on time.

We adopted a responsible and forward-looking two-year operating budget that makes historic gains for the state. The budget invests in a transformation of our behavioral health system, expands access to early learning, and strengthens K-12 and special education. It also includes historic investments in the state’s higher education system. Earlier this session, we adopted the strongest clean energy legislationin the nation, protecting clean air and water for generations to come. Click here to read about some of the other highlights of the 2019 legislative session.

As my first session as the Senate Majority Leader in Olympia wraps up, I’ve been reflecting on how fortunate I am to work on behalf of the people of Spokane and lead a talented and diverse group of Senators from around the state. 

Big wins for Spokane in state budgets

Your Spokane legislative delegation was able to secure funding for a number of top community priorities in the operating, capital and transportation budgets:

  • Funding for the WSU Elson S. Floyd Medical School, including support for 20 additional medical students
  • Additional funding for Spokane area school districts
  • $1 million for the Joya Child and Family Development (formerly Spokane Guild School)
  • $1 million for Crosswalk’s new teen shelter and transitional housing project
  • $1 million for the new downtown Spokane Sportsplex
  • $500,000 for the Riverfront Park Suspension Bridge repair
  • $400,000 for CHAS Spokane behavioral health clinic expansion
  • $350,000 for the new Carl Maxey Center
  • Making our community a safer place

Making our community a safer place

The two bills I prime sponsored to improve public safety in our city both passed the Legislature.

Senate Bill 5579 will require a stricter safety standard for oil trains moving through our state if the state experiences an increase in oil train traffic.

Senate Bill 5492 is a bipartisan effort among Spokane leaders to reduce auto theft by providing community supervision for offenders who commit motor vehicle-related felonies. Research shows this strategy, which provides services, reduces recidivism.

Budgets include key investments for Spokane

April 3rd, 2019|

The Senate introduced its budget proposals late last week. The capital budget, which is our jobs and infrastructure plan, provides funds to rebuild a suspension bridge in Riverfront Park, design a new university building at WSU-Spokane, and help build the new Crosswalk teen shelter. Below are a few of the investments in the Senate’s proposed capital budget:

  • Spokane Guild’s School Capital Campaign ($1 million)
  • Crosswalk Teen Shelter and Transitional Housing ($1 million)
  • Don Kardong Bridge on the Centennial Trail ($726,000)
  • Maple Street CHAS Clinical Behavioral Health Expansion ($411,000)
  • Riverfront Park Suspension Bridge Renovation ($500,000)
  • WSU Biomedical and Health Science Building ($500,000)

Operating budget investments

The Senate also released its two-year state operating budget proposal with targeted investments in behavioral health, K-12 special education, early learning, higher education, and investments to protect clean air and clean water. I believe this budget reflects our state’s shared values, and forges a path toward prosperity and improved quality of life in Spokane and throughout our state. I’ll share more details on the operating budget in the coming weeks.

Fixing our upside-down tax code

Washington ranks 50th out of 50 states when it comes to tax fairness. In other words, we have the most unfair tax code in the country. Along with our budget, we have put forward a proposal to rebalance our tax code and reduce the tax burden on lower income and middle-class families. You can watch a video where I explain this plan here.