Monthly Archives: February 2016

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    Funding to clean up ‘jungle’ homeless camp included in Senate transportation budget

Funding to clean up ‘jungle’ homeless camp included in Senate transportation budget

February 25th, 2016|

The 2015-17 supplemental Senate Transportation budget includes a $1 million appropriation to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to clean up and secure the homeless encampment area under Interstate 5 known as the “jungle.” The investment was requested by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D- Seattle, and members of the Seattle delegation.

“Our city has unfortunately seen firsthand that the Jungle is dangerous and deadly. It needs to be safely cleaned up, secured and responsibly fenced off,” said Carlyle. “The partnership between Mayor Ed Murray, city leadership and the state is vital to long term success of ensuring this dangerous area under I-5 is no longer accessible as an unsanctioned homeless encampment.”

Plans call for fencing to be installed on both sides of the WSDOT right of way with gates at either end from the city’s maintenance yard off of South Dearborn Street to South Bayview Street, from approximately milepost 164.2 to 163.6. An estimated 8,000 lineal feet of new fencing will be required to build the “box,” and where it’s possible the new fence will tie into existing fencing. The fence will be six feet high and made of heavy gauge metal with razor wire wrapped around three strands of barbed wire.

Officials say the fencing will not be a singular solution and the Seattle Police Department will be asked to patrol the area during construction to ensure safety.

The supplemental Senate Transportation budget has been approved by the committee and will move on in the budgeting process.

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    Carlyle proposes Road Usage Charge pilot project implementation plan

Carlyle proposes Road Usage Charge pilot project implementation plan

February 24th, 2016|

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, proposed an amendment to the 2015-17 supplemental Senate Transportation Budget that will use excess federal funding provided by the Puget Sound Regional Council to create a road usage charge pilot project implementation plan as a future alternative to what’s commonly known as the gas tax.

“We passed a $16 billion dollar transportation package last session that will fund transportation projects in our state for the next 16 years,” said Carlyle. “We are entering a new era of revenue for transportation and public infrastructure. It’s time to innovate and look to the future.”

The road usage charge implementation plan will lay the groundwork for how a pilot project would work in the State of Washington. The amendment allows the continuation of work that began in 2011 to design the pilot project and is expected to answer outstanding questions such as, what would a pilot project actually look like, what would it involve, and how would data be collected and used?

“This is an option we need to continue to explore,” said Carlyle. “One of the central concerns about a road usage charge is privacy. I share those concerns and encourage the committee to consider all of our options.”

The amendment was adopted in the Transportation committee and is included in both the Senate and the House versions of the supplemental Transportation budget.

36th LD to host Town Hall Meeting Feb. 20

February 15th, 2016|

Please join Sen. Reuven Carlyle, Rep. Gael Tarleton, and Rep. Noel Frame at the 36th Legislative District Town Hall Meeting from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell Street, Seattle.

Constituents will have the opportunity to receive an update from their lawmakers in Olympia, and will be able to ask questions, make comments, and voice their concerns.

We hope to see you there.

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    Carlyle closes debate for Democrats against constitutional amendment to eliminate majority rule

Carlyle closes debate for Democrats against constitutional amendment to eliminate majority rule

February 12th, 2016|

Sen. Reuven Carlyle closed debate for Senate Democrats in the debate against a constitutional amendment that would require a 2/3rds majority vote to raise taxes. The vote needed a 2/3rds supermajority, or 33 votes to pass. The proposal failed along party lines, 26 to 23.

Transcription:

Lt. Gov. Owen: “Sen. Carlyle.”

Sen. Reuven Carlyle:

“Thank you so much, Mr. President.

“To close debate for those who believe in simple majority as a way to govern this state and this country. Mr. President, I so appreciate the good gentleman, Sen. Dansel raising the issue of our founders, and it’s rare and special that we have an opportunity to actually debate a material constitutional issue that our very founders debated hundreds of years ago. What did they say? What was their premise? What was their debate? Because they had it…it occurred. And here, we their successors in our state, acknowledge that there is a healthy and appropriate adversarial tension between parties, between this chamber and the other chamber, between the executive and the legislative branch, between the state, protected by the 10th amendment particularly and the federal government. That adversarial relationship is critical to representative democracy and to this constitutional republic. So…what did our founders say?

“Mr. President, if I may, Federalist 22, the 2/3rds vote requirement “contradicts the fundamental maximum of republican government, which requires that the sense of the majority should prevail.”

This is about the number 17. The entire premise of the proponents of eliminating simple majority rule is that it becomes a higher standard to close a corporate tax preference or rate. But our founders, in drafting the constitution, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, made the explicit case that the power is transferred to the minority. Seventeen members of this chamber have veto power over a policy position. Why is that policy not in the United States Constitution? Why? If they debated it for months? And the answer is because it was in the Articles of Confederation and it was a failure.

“Our founders made this decision and the reason supermajority for policy positions are not in the Constitution is because they learned a profoundly important lesson, and James Madison equated free government with simple majority.

“We have an incredibly important choice.

“This initiative and this bill is written in such a way to ensure that we lock in place in perpetuity 594 existing tax preferences, credits, and preferential rates, and it will be virtually impossible to ever modify them, even modify the date in order to provide support for our paramount duty of public education, mental health care, veteran’s services, nursing homes. We empower a minority of 17 of 147 to have veto power. And the central opposition that Alexander Hamilton had to this was corruption. Outright corruption!

“Our good friends in the state of California had this requirement and they found a range of nefarious and questionable implications. Our paramount duty is public education. We have a wonderful state with a great quality of life for seven million people. This legislation takes 50 percent of the entire ledger and not only makes it untouchable, but it hides it, and it makes it secret. We can’t know who gets a benefit for how much value – to say nothing of ever trying to close it. It’s effectively locking in place the entire revenue structure of the State of Washington.

“I think we’re better than that.

“The people, as is their right, have an important and overwhelmingly powerful voice in every way. And, the good gentleman’s right that all power rests with the people. But we have a constitutional republic for a reason and supermajority empowers the minority of 17 to control one half of the entire ledger of how the people’s money flows…and the special interests couldn’t be more thrilled.

“We’re better than this as a state.

“I ask you to stand for representative democracy and oppose this constitutional amendment.

“Thank you Mr. President.”

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    Carlyle’s government-to-lobbyist ‘cooling off’ bill fails in House and Senate

Carlyle’s government-to-lobbyist ‘cooling off’ bill fails in House and Senate

February 5th, 2016|

A key deadline passed with both House and Senate committees failing to pass legislation—requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson—that would have created a one year ‘cooling off period’ before elected and senior government officials could become paid lobbyists.

The bill would have expanded the existing post-public employment restrictions to include a 12-month “cooling off” period before statewide elected officials, state legislators, other heads of agencies or senior executive staff would be eligible to lobby in the private sector. Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 6258, and House Bill 1136 issued the following statement:

“We know how we can better define the line between public service and the private interests. This bill would have helped our state achieve that goal. The post-public service employment limits our state already has in place are a good starting point, however, I believe that we can and must do better to create greater transparency, protections and accountability in the area of government ethics.”

“A 12-month cooling off period is a reasonable length of time to consider and would create a large enough wedge to effectively slow down our state’s current revolving door. Despite having the support of many editorial boards across the state, from Spokane to Everett, and from Olympia to Wenatchee. From Vancouver to Seattle, we had unanimous support and we heard their message loud and clear.

“I am not satisfied with the grade that our state recently received from The Center for Public Integrity, and neither should our taxpayers. Our state received an overall grade of D+ in the 2015 State Integrity Investigation. In individual categories, our state earned a grade of D- for Legislative Accountability. In most classrooms the grade of a D+ or D- would not pass muster. Why should the State of Washington continue to accept an all-but-failing system and not attempt to strengthen our relatively weak post-employment restrictions?

“Our state would not have been the first to adopt legislation of this type. The federal government has adopted legislation approving a cooling off period and more than 33 other states across the country have enacted similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“This bill is not meant to deter former legislators or others from moving on and making a living elsewhere. It is meant to ensure that lawmakers, cabinet secretaries, and other senior staff are not placed into situations where information they were privy to in a previous job can help influence the outcome of their new position. There is great public value in restoring trust in government.

‘I appreciate and respect the work of Attorney General Ferguson and will continue to partner with him until we pass this essential legislation.

“We clearly have more work to do.”