Monthly Archives: May 2019

E News: 2019 Legislative Session Report

May 23rd, 2019|

Dear friend,

We finished the 2019 Washington legislative session on time and I couldn’t be more excited about our progress advancing meaningful policies that elevate the quality of life of families, children and communities across our state. Here’s an overview of our work in Olympia.

Environment, Energy, and Technology

Your Legislature had one of its most productive and successful environmental years in decades. As chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology (EET) Committee, I was proud to lead on issues of vital importance, including climate action, orca protection and data privacy.

100 percent Clean Energy – I sponsored the Washington Clean Transformation Act, a historic bill moving our electric utilities completely off coal by 2025 and to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2045. It ensures that we continue to lead in the worldwide movement away from fossil fuels toward a modern system using integrated wind, hydro and solar power. It’s also the centerpiece of a comprehensive carbon emission reduction package that I partnered with Gov. Inslee to craft, and it puts Washington on track to meet the Paris climate agreement goals.

Orca Protection – Only 75 Southern Resident orcas are left in the Salish Sea, the lowest number in decades. The Senate EET Committee led on bills to aid orca and Chinook salmon recovery by improving oil transportation safety, prohibiting the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products and protecting orca habitat in Puget Sound. The operating budget increases funding for orca recovery efforts by $31 million. The capital construction budget allocates another $585 million for projects to benefit salmon and orca recovery.

Data privacy – Washington is home to some of the world’s most prominent technology companies, but we fiercely value our right to privacy. My Washington Privacy Act would advance our leadership on this issue by bringing our state’s data privacy laws into the 21st Century. Taking best practices from Europe and California, it would give Washingtonians meaningful tools to determine how their personal data is generated, collected, stored and sold. It would also provide safeguards on the use of facial recognition by companies and law enforcement. The Senate passed the bill 46-1, but it House failed to bring it to a vote. I remain committed to passing this groundbreaking policy in 2020.

Repealing the Death Penalty

I have supported legislation to repeal the death penalty each of my 10 years in the Legislature, including Senate Bill 5339 this year. I was proud the Senate passed the bill, but disappointed that it didn’t receive a vote in the House. It’s time to join the global movement away from the death penalty and I’m confident the bill will pass next year.

Education Funding

I appreciate the substantive discussion on school funding this session. Following the McCleary case, our state continues to undergo an enormous transformation in how schools are funded, from a local-centric system to a state-centric one. This transition is not easy and will require years of engaged dialogue and reexamination to ensure we do what is best for our kids.

I voted against the original McCleary bill that increased state property taxes and capped local levies, and I remain deeply uncomfortable with the state’s over-reliance on property taxes to fund education. Nevertheless, despite my concerns about lifting the levy lid, I’m pleased that we found a compromise lifting caps in Seattle Public Schools to $2.50 per $1,000 assessed value, or $3,000 per pupil. While the state should lead on funding, this will allow local districts to decide how best to fund other critical aspects of K-12 education, like nurses, librarians and counselors. We also increased special education funding by $155 million.

Behavioral Health

We significantly invested in reforming and improving Washington’s behavioral health system. The centerpiece is House Bill 1593, establishing a new innovation and integration campus at the UW School of Medicine to train the next generation of behavioral health providers and provide inpatient and outpatient services. We also appropriated $47 million to expand community behavioral health beds and services, and $92 million to ensure the stability of state hospitals.

Higher Education

In this 21st-century economy, a post-secondary credential is more important than ever, but higher education is increasingly unaffordable and inaccessible for middle class families. We addressed this head-on with the Workforce Education Investment Act, expanding need-based aid and increasing career pathways. It replaces the State Need Grant with the Washington College Grant Program, a statewide, guaranteed free college program for lower-income students. This investment is paid for by an increase in the B&O tax on companies that employ highly educated workers, including Microsoft and Amazon.

Budgets

As a member of the Ways & Means Committee, I’m proud that we put together an operating budget that truly puts people first by investing substantially in children and families. We improved our state’s behavioral health system, enhanced our foster care system, bolstered access to early learning and increased funds for housing. I pushed hard to include $3.5 million to expand Treehouse, which helps youth transition out of the foster care system. In 2018, 83 percent of Treehouse participants graduated high school within five years, compared to 49 percent of foster youth statewide. Our investment will help Treehouse continue a proven track record of supporting our most vulnerable children.

I’m also proud that we were able to pass capital construction and transportation budgets that make substantial infrastructure investments in the 36th Legislative District over the next two years.

36th District Investments

The budgets passed this year include $1.5 million for infrastructure to clean polluted storm-water runoff at both ends of the Aurora Bridge before it flows into Puget Sound, and another $700,000 to install variable, digital speed signs on both approaches to the bridge to reduce speeds and increase safety.

They also allocate $700,000 for planning on how to maintain current and future capacities of the Magnolia and Ballard bridges, including possible replacements, and $1 million to restore the site of the proposed North Elliot Bay Public Dock and Marine Transit Terminal. Other appropriations include upgrades to local schools, grants supporting the arts and public access to history, and funding for programs serving the less-fortunate, like the Ballard Food Bank, the Chief Seattle Club and Farestart.

I’m pleased that the Legislature approved my amendment adding $2.7 million in funding each biennium, starting in 2021, to the operating budget to make capital improvements to the Pacific Science Center, which has not received any meaningful public investment since it was built in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Contact Me

State government is more important than ever. As the federal government avoids many of the most profound and pressing issues of our time, your Legislature is elevating our civic dialogue and standing up for everyone across Washington on the environment, economy and education.

The legislative process requires ongoing input, advocacy and involvement by real people living real lives. As a husband, father, entrepreneur and citizen legislator, it’s an honor and a privilege to listen and learn from constituents in the 36th District. Every day I’m grateful for the chance to be your voice in Olympia.

I welcome the chance to continue this conversation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at reuven.carlyle@leg.wa.gov or (360) 786-7670, or at the postal addresses listed below, with further thoughts, comments or questions.

Your partner in service,

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    State budgets invest substantially in 36th District infrastructure

State budgets invest substantially in 36th District infrastructure

May 22nd, 2019|

SEATTLE – Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) and Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) today welcomed the governor’s signature on budgets that invest substantially in infrastructure in the 36th Legislative District over the next two years.

Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday in Olympia signed a $52.4 billion operating budget and a $4.9 billion capital construction budget making investments across the state in behavioral health, affordable housing, education and the environment.

He also signed a $9.8 billion transportation budget that includes new projects as well as continued delivery of projects first adopted as part of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package.

“I’m thrilled that our 36th district team was able to secure high-value, targeted public investments in safety and storm-water on the Aurora Bridge, in the Magnolia/Ballard corridor, in the Pacific Science Center and more,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee. “As our city continues to grow, it’s vital that we prioritize public infrastructure that benefits our long-term quality of life.” 

Both the capital and operating budgets invest in bridges in the 36th District.

The construction budget allocates $1.5 million for infrastructure to clean polluted storm-water runoff at both ends of the Aurora Bridge. Storm-water runoff is the greatest source of pollution to Puget Sound, killing salmon, harming the food web that sustains our orcas and posing a significant hazard to public health.

The transportation budget awards $700,000 to install variable, digital speed signs on both approaches to the bridge to reduce speeds and increase safety. The displays – overhead structures capable of displaying dynamic messages – would be similar to others on Seattle-area freeways.

“We’ve seen success with electronic speed limit signs in other areas of Seattle,” Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) said “Putting them on the Aurora Bridge will help traffic flow more smoothly and give drivers more time to react. Adjusting these signs according to the road, weather and traffic conditions will help prevent accidents and reduce congestion, making the bridge and our community safer.”

The transportation budget also allocates another $700,000 for planning on how to maintain current and future capacities of the Magnolia and Ballard bridges. That includes an examination of how to replace the Magnolia Bridge and recommendations on a timeline for constructing new Magnolia and Ballard bridges.

Other infrastructure investments in the 36th District include $1 million to restore the public dock structure at Pier 86, site of the proposed North Elliot Bay Public Dock and Marine Transit Terminal, and $750,000 to help the Ballard Food Bank purchase land to build a new permanent home and community resource hub.

“As so many of our neighbors have struggled with food insecurity, the Ballard Food Bank has stepped up in a big way, becoming a crucial part of the social services fabric of our community,” said Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard), chair of the House Finance Committee.

“The new site will be more accessible to the surrounding neighborhoods. The Ballard Food Bank will be able to grow their home delivery program and the Weekend Food for Kids program, and serve as a conduit to connect people with needed services in the areas of mental health, substance use, health care and housing. I am so happy to help secure this funding along with my fellow seatmates and cannot wait to see an expanded Ballard Food Bank.”

The capital budget invests $3.1 million for Seattle Public Schools to upgrade heating and ventilation systems at North Beach Elementary and for classroom additions and modernizations at other schools. It further allocates $382,000 for renovations to the Ballard Locks Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery and $30,000 for the Phinney Neighborhood Association under a grant program supporting public access to history.

The capital budget also awards Building for the Arts grants to support the Music Center of the Northwest ($300,000) and the Nordic Heritage Museum ($2 million), which Congress last month designated the “National Nordic Museum.”

The operating budget also invests in the 36th district, including $2.7 million in funding each biennium, starting in 2021, to make capital improvements to the Pacific Science Center. The facility has not received any meaningful public investment since it was built in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Other notable funding just outside the 36th District under the capital budget includes:

• $1.7 million to support the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting American Indian and Alaska Native people both physically and spiritually.

• $1 million to support the Seattle Aquarium.

• $200,000 to allow Farestart – which provides foodservice training and job placement programs for homeless and low-income adults – to make equipment upgrades to two kitchens and a restaurant in downtown Seattle.

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    Carlyle, Tarleton welcome governor’s signature on climate bills

Carlyle, Tarleton welcome governor’s signature on climate bills

May 7th, 2019|

SEATTLE – Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) and Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) today welcomed Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature on a sweeping package of legislation that takes meaningful action on climate change and will reduce Washington’s carbon footprint.

The bills commit Washington to 100-percent clean energy from renewable and zero-emission sources like wind, hydro and solar polar (Senate Bill 5116), a centerpiece of Inslee’s climate action agenda. They also aggressively electrify our transportation infrastructure (House Bill 2042), create incentives to build ultra-new efficient buildings (HB 1257), adopt new minimum appliance efficiency standards (HB 1444) and ban products containing super-pollutants, like hydrofluorocarbons (HB 1112).

“As a husband, father and citizen legislator, it is a personal and professional honor to have played a role in helping to pass the most substantive environmental agenda in a generation,” said Carlyle, who chairs the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee and who sponsored SB 5116. “Our work this year goes beyond traditional political clichés and embraces a bold climate action agenda that will make a meaningful difference in our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s quality of life.

“This year we hit stand-up double after stand-up double, and moved our team around the bases by working together. Our dream of reaching Paris Accord-level carbon reductions in the years to come is no longer a fantasy, but a serious aspiration that is within our reach.”

Tarleton, who chairs the House Finance Committee and who sponsored House companion legislation to the clean energy bill, commented: “Today we are celebrating a strong ground game that brought together communities from all over this state, from utility partners, industry partners, environmental champions, labor leaders, communities of color, many of you here today. When we move beyond coal and embrace clean energy sources, we get a win not only for Washington State, not only for the western states, but for the whole country and the world.”

Carlyle and Tarleton joined Inslee and others today at a bill-signing ceremony at the Rainier Vista Neighborhood House in Seattle.