E-News

More than property tax…

June 20th, 2017|

Sen. Chase

June 20, 2017

Dear friends and neighbors,

 Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact:

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Phone: 360-786-7662

Legislative Hotline: 800-562-6000

 Committees:

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

(Ranking Member)

Rules

Tomorrow marks the end of the second 30-day special legislative session. We are quickly running out of time. If the legislature does not have an operating budget by the end of June 30, the end of the state’s fiscal year, state government will shut down. The Senate Republican Majority needs to stop obstructing the operating budget process and come to the negotiating table.  

The people of Washington state have a right to know that there are other sources of revenue in our state than increases in property taxes, sales taxes or utility taxes to pay for constitutionally mandated government activities.

Senate Bill 5948 – Proposes to repeal the 1997 tax exemptions (SB 5286) in which the state legislature removed intangible property (stocks and bonds, etc.) from our state property tax base. Currently, our state taxes tangible property, (family homes), at a rate of 1% per year. By contrast, thanks to the 1997 tax break, intangible property, such as stocks and bonds, are not taxed at all.

Currently, if a person were to invest $300,000 in stocks and bonds, they would not be taxed on that investment in intangible property. However, if the same person were to use that $300,000 to purchase a home worth say $500,000, on which they would owe $200,000, they would pay tangible property tax on their $300,000 equity in the home and on the $200,000 in home value owned by the bank. How is that fair?

Repealing the tax exemption for intangible property would create a more just and fair system of taxation in our state. If we increase the size of the taxable base by putting the intangible property back into play, the taxes on wealthy people and people of modest means will be computed by the value of their property in the tax base. A larger tax base spreads the burden across all property as intended in the Washington State Constitution, Article VII, Section 1. TAXATION.            

Washington state is a progressive state in many areas, however, tax policy is not one of them. We rank dead last in the nation.

I am proud to introduce this bill and several others identifying most of the additional options the legislature has to pay for the mandates required by the Constitution. A statewide property tax should not be the only source of revenue we seriously examine.

Best regards,

asd 

This is about education

May 8th, 2017|

May 8, 2017

Subject: This is about education

Dear friends and neighbors,

I stand with the 117 superintendents in the state who remain committed and available to assisting with and moving the K-12 education negotiation process forward to a successful resolution. Our superintendents and educators are on the front lines of education and are charged with leading the public schools in our local communities. They possess the experience, expertise and insights that will help shape the best possible outcomes for our communities and the children, families and staff they serve.

In recent letters to the legislature, the governor and stakeholders, the superintendents outlined their concerns with the main challenges of the McCleary decision and the legislature’s paramount duty to amply and fully fund education in our state. As the operating budget process continues, they hope the legislature will address the following issues:

Collective Bargaining – We are unanimous in our stance that collective bargaining must be reformed.  At a minimum, “guardrails” or “bumpers” must be in place that prohibit bargaining of local levy resources for basic education duties and responsibilities. Without reform of collective bargaining – particularly around use of local levy resources – we are strongly concerned that a significant new investment of State resources will not produce the outcomes and program improvements the Legislature intends. We are further concerned that absent a reform of collective bargaining as it currently exists, a regression to the current unconstitutional funding system at some point in the future is a certainty.

Salary Schedule and Salary Allocation Model – We support continuation of a state salary schedule and allocation model to assure consistency, uniformity and equity across our region and state. We are open to proposals that would simplify the current model with fewer educational, certification and/or experience steps; however, the state salary schedule is a basis for local salary schedules across our region, and eliminating it altogether would present a significant challenge for each district to create and negotiate individually.

TRII and Supplemental Pay – We strongly support clear and specific limitations on the use of local levy resources for compensated time outside of the 180-day student year or for duties and responsibilities that are clearly distinguishable from those routinely expected of any teacher.

Allocation and Funding Model – We support a structure that allocates resources primarily utilizing the prototypical school model as an objective, research-based approach to generating funding for staff positions. Such a model can be periodically reviewed and modified over time to meet changing needs. We are open to a per pupil funding model that is grounded in the prototypical funding model and does not supplant state funding with federal or local resources.

Health Benefits – We support a transition to a statewide health benefits program for K-12 employees. Such a transition must thoughtfully account for any increased district costs, including the potential for a sizeable increase in benefit-eligible employees.

Salary Increments for Teachers – We support continued salary increments for advanced degrees and years of experience. We also support continued salary recognition for teachers who obtain National Board Certification. We do not support bonus or merit systems and view them as both inherently unreliable to administer and destructive to building and sustaining a collaborative district and school culture that best serves all children.

Professional Development – Recognizing the need and value of ongoing learning and growth, we support 10 days annually of professional development outside the 180-day school year with local flexibility to schedule some or all of the equivalent professional development time within the 180-day school year (e.g. extended work days, Saturdays, evenings, etc.) as a component of basic education.

Cost of Living Adjustments – We support regular cost of living adjustments as a component of basic education to assure that salaries remain competitive to attract and retain a high-quality workforce.

Regionalization or Poverty Factors – We recognize the unique challenges of attracting and retaining staff members to high cost, remote and/or high poverty districts and support a salary allocation model that provides additional incentives to attract and retain high-quality staff in communities so impacted.

Beginning Teacher Pay – We support a significant increase in the minimum salary for beginning teachers to at least $45,000 annually to appropriately recognize a comparable market value for beginning teacher pay and to attract a larger pool of high-quality candidates to the teaching profession.

Expenditure Limitation for Salary and Benefits – We have limited support for an imposed or fixed percentage of district expenditures for salaries and benefits. We see this as potentially unworkable on a statewide level and non-responsive to the unique and varied circumstances and expenditure drivers across school districts. If a percentage is imposed, it should be at least 85% of district expenditures.

Grandfathered Levies and Salaries – Given a sufficient infusion of state resources to fully and amply fund basic education and competitive, market-rate salaries, we support the elimination of grandfathered levy lids and salary allocations – subject to the “hold harmless” provision below – if not immediately, then over no longer than a 2-3 year period.

Hold Harmless During Transition – As the Legislature implements a program of full and ample basic education funding through a negotiated compromise of the proposals thus far introduced in the legislative session – or new ideas not yet under public consideration – we strongly support a “hold harmless” provision for any districts detrimentally impacted under the new funding structure ultimately adopted until such time as the funding model “catches up” to those districts’ current funding levels.

Local Levy Lid – In an environment of full and ample funding of basic education, we believe the current levy lid would no longer be necessary to support local enhancements. Provided a consistent and ongoing State commitment to maintain full and ample funding of basic education and sufficient “guardrails” to assure that local levy funds only support locally determined enhancements to basic education, we believe a lower local levy lid of 10-20% of combined state and federal funding is supportable.

Fund Accounting/Audit Standards – While we fully support the assurance that local levy resources do not fund basic education, especially compensation, we do not support overly burdensome requirements that will significantly increase operational and audit expenses. We strongly oppose separate accounting for state, federal and local revenues and expenditures and/or compliance determination through annual State audits.  We support tasking the best school district finance minds with developing reasonable and workable solutions to provide the assurance and separation of state and local funding we all desire.

Local Effort Assistance – In the transitional phase to a new funding structure, we support continuation of Local Effort Assistance as an important means of assuring equity of enhancement opportunities across districts. We can provide qualified support for elimination of local effort assistance conditioned on a full, ample and consistently funded program of basic education.

 “Levy Swap” – We do not support re-purposing current local levy capacity to fund the State’s basic education obligation.

The superintendents also write:

“We urge immediate, serious and urgent negotiations towards a final compromise plan that meets the affirmative constitutional right of every Washington child to a fully funded basic education. In the absence of such a final compromise plan, our districts are unable to meet critical dates in developing plans to achieve our primary mission of educating all children. Most importantly, every day of delay is another day in which our State’s children are further denied their most basic constitutional right to an equitable and amply funded education.”

I share the concerns of our Educational Service Districts and the coalition of Washington Education Associations including school boards and principles. I am working with my colleagues to find a compromise solution that benefits our 1.1 million public school students and our educators.

Best regards,

It’s time to negotiate: An Olympia update

April 25th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

The Washington State Constitution states that the legislature shall meet for 60 days in even numbered years, and for 105 days in odd-numbered years. Well friends, 105 days have unfortunately come and gone without the adoption of a 2017-19 operating budget or a resolution to how we will fairly and amply fund K-12 education in our state. This means that the governor has called the Legislature back into special session to finish the work we came here to do.

Still no budget agreement – it’s time to come to the table and negotiate

As it stands right now, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed their budgets. Now is the time when budget leaders from all four caucuses would normally come together to negotiate the final, go-home budget. So far, Republicans in the House and Senate have refused to come to the negotiating table. Refusing to negotiate is not the way we will reach a compromise budget agreement. It is time to put the kids and people of Washington first.

In my opinion, at the center of this debate is 1) the issue of whether to raise taxes or not,  2) the fundamentally different visions of what a successful society looks like,  and 3) how we ultimately get there.

The Senate Republican plan relies on a $5.6 billion property tax that would affect every household in the state and provides millions in tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations. On the other hand, Democrats in the House of Representatives propose to make our tax system more fair by adopting a capital gains tax on the top one percent, reform our business and occupation tax, the real estate excise tax, and close a number of tax exemptions. At this point, negotiations are critical to advancing the operating budget process, which I hope will finally begin in good-faith.

Friday’s capital gains tax vote and what it really means

MC

Our state has a broken tax system and I am disheartened to see the issue brought before the Senate for purely political motives. On Friday, two tax measures came to a vote before the Senate, capital gains tax and reform of the business and occupation tax. Both of these proposals failed 0-48. 

In my time in the Legislature I have never seen a bill brought to the floor that received not a single vote in favor of its passage. It was a political stunt. This is not governing; it is a dramatic denial of our responsibilities and duties to the people who elected us.   

I am fully in favor of progressive tax reform and will be the first to vote for it when an honest proposal is offered. Please don’t believe that there isn’t support for progressive taxes in our state – there is. I voted against this stunt because it was not a genuine strategy to fund our schools. Senate Republicans chose our last moments on the floor on Friday to pull this childish stunt and I do not support that kind of behavior.

Unfinished business: Saving the Public Works Trust Fund

We have not yet managed to save the Public Works Trust Fund from being swept again for the operating budget.  They are sweeping this trust fund at a time when our state desperately needs the funds for repair and development of the vital infrastructure necessary for our economy to continue growing.  This trust was capitalized by community ratepayers with a small amount added to our utility bills  to ensure that low-interest-rate funding would be available for clean water, bridges, waste water systems, safe roads and the like.   The account provides our local governments with the capital to reinvest in our public infrastructure.

The alternative to the Public Works Trust Fund’s revolving loan fund is  debt financing in the bond market with higher interest rates, fewer projects in our communities, and much higher price tags for infrastructure repair, maintenance and replacement. Debt service is paid to Wall Street instead of being returned to the Public Works Account to be loaned out again in our communities.

This is bad financial management. If you were to purchase a car or house tomorrow your financial planner would never tell you to choose a higher interest rate and jeopardize the rest of your family’s finances. Building public infrastructure is no different!

 PWTF

Best regards,

asd

P.S. The distracted driving bill has been delivered to the governor for his signature. Please take care out there and remember to put your phone away while you’re driving. I want to save you from a large fine while also keeping you and our roads safe.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Education, Fircrest, and a Tax Fact: A Legislative Update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

Education, Fircrest, and a Tax Fact: A Legislative Update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

April 13th, 2017|

Sen. Chase

Dear friends and neighbors,

Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact:

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Phone: 360-786-7662

Legislative Hotline: 800-562-6000

Committees:

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

(Ranking Member)

Rules

Yesterday marked the passing of yet another legislative hurdle – the deadline to pass bills from the House of Representatives. With the regular session scheduled to end in about 10 days, there remains many legislative issues to be resolved before we are finished.

RG

I would like to introduce you to my new legislative aide, Remy Golla. He most recently served as my session aide and I am very pleased that he has taken on this new position. Remy is from Lynnwood and knows our district very well. Please join me in welcoming him to the new role!

An update on Fircrest School

The Fircrest School located in our district offers an incredibly important space for about 200 people with developmental disabilities to live in a safe, residential setting. Regrettably, nearly every budget cycle over the last few years has attempted to close the state-run facility. This year is no exception. So far, those of us who strongly oppose closing Fircrest have stopped the bill from coming to a vote on the Senate Floor. The Senate Republican operating budget relies on the closing of Fircrest and the sale of the land to balance their budget.

I do not believe that a budget that balances on a real estate grab and on the backs of the most disabled in our community is moral. I will continue to fight to keep Fircrest open for those in our community who call it home.

An update on where we are in amply funding K-12 educationclassroom

At this point, both the House and the Senate have passed their versions of the operating budget and have laid out their plans for funding education. These plans are very different. The Senate plan relies on funding education by eliminating funding for critical programs that help our most vulnerable people including those who are homeless, living with a disability, or those living on a fixed income. In contrast, the House plan supports our most vulnerable and amply funding education. They do this by raising revenue in a way that does not place the tax burdens solely on our low-income and middle class families. I am hopeful that both chambers will come to an agreement on how to amply fund our kids without decimating our essential human services programs.

 WAtax

Tax Fact: Did you know that of the taxes collected statewide, 60 percent of Washington’s working families pay a majority of the taxes? This tells me that it isn’t about whether you live in an urban or rural area, on the eastern side of the state or the west – we have a broken tax system that needs to be updated. Have you seen the most recent episode of Tax Talk? Click here to watch the video. (Image source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy)

Best regards,

asd

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    Education plans, prescription drug prices, and elections reform: An update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

Education plans, prescription drug prices, and elections reform: An update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

February 10th, 2017|

Sen. Chase

Feb. 10, 2017: E-newsletter

No more excuses. Fully and fairly fund education now

Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact Information:

Office: (360) 786-7662

Legislative Hotline: (800) 562-6000

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40432

Olympia, WA 98504-0432

 Committees:

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

(Ranking Member)

Rules

In this issue:

  • Democratic education proposal
  • Keeping foreign money out of Washington’s elections
  • Protections for prescription drug users
  • How to find a recycling location near you
  • Did you know Washington State has three budgets?

Democratic education proposal

The Democratic education proposal, SB 5623, addresses equitable and responsible investments in the state’s basic education program and reductions to local effort contributions to fulfill the state’s paramount duty for all children.kids

  • Returns class size reductions to a level of 19:1 and skills center class size reduction to 16:1 as established in Initiative 1351.
  • Provides additional funding for the Learning Assistance Program, Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program and Special Education to help address the opportunity gap.
  • Increases investments in the Highly Capable program by increasing the number of instructional hours from 2.159 to 3.2 hours over two years.
  • Increases allocations for Guidance Counselors and Parent Involvement Coordinators in recognition of the enhancements established in Initiative 1351.
  • Includes educator salaries in the definition of the program of basic education.
  • Establishes that the salaries must be adjusted annually for inflation.
  • Adds professional development to the definition of basic education.
  • Includes 10 professional learning days when fully phased-in.

Keeping foreign money out of Washington’s elections

As American citizens, our First Amendment rights grant us the freedom to participate in elections. That right is not extended to foreign nationals or corporations with foreign owners. However, the threat of foreign influence on American elections became all too real in the 2016 elections.

Senate Bill 5570 would prevent foreign-owned companies from contributing to political campaigns in Washington state. This legislation is a major step forward to help prevent foreign  money from influencing the outcomes of our state’s elections.

Protections for prescription drug users

Washingtonians who rely on prescription drugs for their health areRx drug prices becoming more expensive to purchase. Some people and families are pushed to the brink due to the high cost of these drugs. No one should have to choose between getting the medication they need, buying groceries, or paying the rent.

Senate Bill 5586 would require pharmaceutical and insurance companies to report the costs of prescription drug manufacturing and pricing data.  This information would be reported to the Legislature to help protect consumers from unfair prescription drug increases.

recycleHow to find a recycling location near you

Click here to find recycling locations in Washington. Operated by the Department of Ecology, this website includes drop-off sites for electronics, appliances and hazardous waste material.

 

Did you know Washington state has three budgets?

The budget that pays for the day-to-day operations of state government is called the operating budget. This pays the costs of operating our schools and universities, state parks, fire fighters, teachers, police and other state services and programs.

The transportation budget pays for the design and maintenance of our roads and public transit, as well as other transportation activities including ferries. This budget includes money for both transportation operating activities and transportation construction programs.

The budget to acquire, build, and maintain public schools and universities, prisons, state buildings, parks and other infrastructure assets is called the capital budget.

The 2016 Citizen’s Guide to the Budget offers a helpful overview of how the budget works.

  • Permalink Gallery

    No more excuses. Fully and fairly fund education now: An update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

No more excuses. Fully and fairly fund education now: An update from Sen. Maralyn Chase

February 6th, 2017|

Sen. Chase

No more excuses. Fully and fairly fund education now

Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact Information:

Office: 360-786-7662

Legislative Hotline: (800) 562-6000

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40432

Olympia, WA 98504-0432

Committees:

Rules

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

 

 E-news update: February 6, 2017

In this issue:

·       The Democratic education proposal

·       Justice for human trafficking victims

·       Removing barriers to voting

·       Unemployment tax rates continue to fall

·       Page opportunities at the legislature

·       Senate Democrats are on Facebook and Twitter

The Democratic education proposal

The Democratic education proposal, Senate Bill 5623, addresses equitable and responsible investments in the state’s basic education program and reductions to local effort contributions to fulfill the state’s paramount duty for all children.

·       Returns class size reductions to a level of 19:1 and skills center class size reduction to 16:1 as established in Initiative 1351.

·       Provides additional funding for the Learning Assistance Program, Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program and Special Education to help address the opportunity gap.

·       Increases investments in the Highly Capable program by increasing the number of instructional hours from 2.159 to 3.2 hours over two years.education

·       Increases allocations for Guidance Counselors and Parent Involvement Coordinators in recognition of the enhancements established in Initiative 1351.

·       Includes educator salaries in the definition of the program of basic education.

·       Establishes that the salaries must be adjusted annually for inflation.

·       Adds professional development to the definition of basic education.

·       Includes 10 professional learning days when fully phased-in.

Justice for human trafficking victims

Human trafficking is a form of human slavery which includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. People are bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves, often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay.

Washington is a destination state for human trafficking because of its Pacific Rim location, SeaTac International Airport and the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

Senate Bill 5272  aims to help survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation by allowing a person to vacate a conviction for prostitution even if the crimes were the result of being a victim of a human trafficking. This is bill can have significant and positive impacts on the lives of girls, boys, women and men who have survived trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Removing barriers to voting

Democrats believe in an inclusive democracy that represents all Americans. Our country and state are better, stronger, more representative democracy when more people participate.

Senate Bill 5192 proposes to allow voters the opportunity to register in person up until 5 p.m. on the election day as well as reducing on-line and mail registration deadlines from 29 days prior to an election day to 8 days prior.

This bill would help remove barriers to voting and allow people the flexibility to register when it works best for their schedule. For some, that may be on election day. Research shows that allowing same day voter registration on election day increases voter turnout and does not favor a political party.

With passage of SB 5192, Washington would join 15 states across the country and the District of Columbia have adopted same day voter registration laws.

Unemployment tax rates continue to fall

ESD LogoThe Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) reports about 82 percent of employers will move into a lower rate class or stay the same in 2017. Since 2012, the average unemployment tax rate has fallen every year and the estimated 2017 rate is the lowest in history of the UI system in the state of Washington.

The average tax rate will decrease from an estimated 1.38 percent in 2016 to an estimated 1.24 percent in 2017. The average total tax paid per employee will decline by $24 to $232 and about 39 percent of all taxable employers are in rate-class 1, taxed at 0.10 percent.

For more information about how unemployment tax rates are calculated, check out the ESD website at this link.

Page opportunities at the legislature

The Washington State Legislature has one of the finest page programs in the country. Hundreds of students throughout Washington have an opportunity each year to take part in the legislative process and observe the legislature and other branches of state government in action.pages

Serving as a state page is a unique, fun and exciting opportunity. Students gain hands-on experience and knowledge by assisting with the legislature’s work: making deliveries and performing other necessary tasks. Pages also spend part of each day attending Page School. Page School is an opportunity for pages to learn about the Legislature’s role, its process, and its participants.

Legislators sponsor the pages. Eligible students can be from a public, private, or home school, and must be between 14 and 16 years-old at the time they page. The Senate and House of Representatives both have page programs.

Please click here for more information about the page program to include an application form. This informative video shows a day in the life of a page.

Hello from Olympia

April 23rd, 2013|

Hello!

I’m Senator Maralyn Chase and this is my weekly news letter where I let you know about what’s happening on my end of the legislature. If you no longer wish to receive this news letter or believe that you were sent this by mistake please click here to unsubscribe.

If you would like to know more about me and my position on key issues please click here and you will be directed to my web page.

We are finishing up the last week of session and at this point your input is more valuable then ever! Please feel free to contact my office at any point during session to me how you feel on any issue that is of importance to you. Remember I work for you!

 

Parliamentary attempt to revive Reproductive Parity Act and Dream Act fails

Last week, the Senate majority caucus showed its unwillingness to allow a vote on two bills that have support from a majority of members of the Senate – the Washington Dream Act and the Reproductive Parity Act. Both bills uphold the fundamental Washington values of fairness and choice.

The Reproductive Parity Act, HB 1044, would move our state in the opposite direction of 21 states that have banned abortion coverage in their insurance markets. The act would uphold our state’s long tradition of allowing women – not insurance companies – to make their own health care choices and to ensure that the choices remain based on health and not economics.

The Washington Dream Act, HB 1817, would allow deserving Washington students to pursue their full potential in education and in life. The act would open up state financial aid to young dreamers who are currently penalized simply because their parents are undocumented immigrants.

These bills are supported both by a majority of Washingtonians and by a majority of members of this chamber.

This week, we attempted to use a parliamentary procedure known as the Ninth Order to allow these bills a vote. We believed the health and well-being of thousands of Washingtonians are too important to allow these bills to fail. The majority caucus’ votes to block these two bills amounts to an attack on a woman’s right to choose and on a free, fair and accessible education system for all.

I’m disappointed that the majority caucus did not live up to its promises of bipartisanship and has steadfastly fought to prevent either bill from receiving an up or down vote. The people of Washington deserve better and I will continue fighting for these important protections for health and equality.

 

Local control, safer streets will be result of bill passed in Senate

The last bill passed in the state Senate before the deadline to pass policy bills at 5 PM last Wednesday was HB 1045, the Safe Streets bill. This bill would cut the red tape for cities seeking to lower speed limits on neighborhood streets, saving money – and, more importantly, lives.

The bill would not directly change any speed limits but would allow cities and towns to lower speed limits on side streets – not major commercial streets or highways – without the need for costly engineering studies. Right now, cities and counties must pay for an engineering report to raise or lower a speed limit. An engineering report would still be required to raise a speed limit, to ensure that the road could handle the higher speed. Since a road can always handle a lower speed, the engineering report would no longer be necessary to lower a speed limit. The reduction in red tape and expenses for local governments would improve local control over speed limits and increase governmental efficiency.

Studies show that a person struck by a car going 30 miles per hour has a 40 percent chance of fatality. When the speed of the car drops to 20 mph, the likelihood of fatality drops to just 5 percent.

The bill passed on a 45-2 bipartisan vote. This legislation will give our local communities more control to make our streets safer for seniors, families and children.

 

Bipartisan group urges tougher DUI laws

In the wake of several tragic and high-profile DUI collisions in the past few days, Gov. Inslee and a bipartisan group of legislators have proposed new, tougher DUI legislation to crack down on repeat offenders.

The new legislation would mandate an arrest on a first offense and a choice of six months jail time or enrollment in a new Sobriety 24/7 program on second offense. The program, which was implemented in South Dakota, provides stricter accountability and substance abuse support that has proven to reduce recidivism.  Offenders would be sentenced to one year in jail for a third offense.

Additional provisions include installation of ignition interlock devices on all DUI offender vehicles, authorization to establish DUI courts in local municipalities, and increased funding for the state’s Target Zero program.

It’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes a tragedy to clear the way for good legislation to move forward, but this will be a real step to crack down on repeat DUI offenders and reduce the incidence of the tragic and preventable crime. This positive step forward will make our streets safer and will save lives.

 

Bill to ban some toxic flame retardants passes Senate

HB 1294, a bill that would ban the use of toxic flame retardants in children’s products and upholstered furniture, passed Wednesday in the Senate. Two chemicals, TCEP and TDCPP, more commonly identified as “Tris,” are used as flame retardants in foam found in everyday products such as couches, nursing pillows, changing pads, car seats, strollers and children’s nap mats.

The bill that passed the Senate adopted an amendment that strips the bill down to banning just the two chemicals; the House-approved legislation would prohibit other flame retardant chemicals in children’s products listed on the state’s list of chemicals of high concern for the health of children.

Toxic chemicals in the foam of common household products break down over time and are released as dust particles which are then ingested. Young children and babies are especially at risk of overexposure to these chemicals. Science has proven that toxic flame retardant chemicals are ineffective in fire retardation and can make the smoke from fires more lethal to firefighters, first responders and victims. These chemicals have been proven to cause cancer, hormone defects, growth problems and brain damage.

With the Senate passage of this bill in amended form, the bill must go back to the House where they will likely request that the Senate reconsider its position and pass the full legislation as it came out of the House. Our kids and families deserve the right to be confident that their children’s products are safe and toxic free.

 

Revenue Dept. honored for helping small businesses file taxes more efficiently

The state Department of Revenue has won another national award in recognition of its efforts to help businesses easily file and pay taxes accurately.

The Federation of Tax Administrators named Washington the winner of its 2013 FTA Award for Outstanding Compliance Program. Our state has won more national FTA awards than any other state tax agency in the nation, 19 in all over the past 14 years.

The award was given for an iPhone and Android app developed by the department to help taxpayers, especially small businesses, accurately determine the right sales tax rates to charge customers. Washington’s Department of Revenue is the first in the nation to identify a compelling taxpayer need and develop a phone app to meet it.

“What’s not to like,” one FTA judge said of the phone app. “All the states have been looking for ways to use those apps, and this is a great way. It’s more than just ‘here is a list of our district offices.’ They took the technology and applied it to a need. A carpet-layer who works in five jurisdictions during the day has to look up the tax rate five times a day. And they clearly did some design work. They just didn’t say ‘type in your location.’ They incorporated GPS so it starts with your location.”

Nobody likes paying taxes, but the least we can do is to make it as easy as possible. This is the kind of work our state is constantly doing to help make government work better for our small businesses. I’m proud of the work that we’ve seen here and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Town Halls

For the past few weeks I have been hosting town halls all over my district and I have gotten chance to know you, my constituents. These town halls have been an opportunity for us to have a working dialog on issues before the legislature. I would like to thank everyone that came out and showed their support in these last weeks. I have greatly appreciated getting to know you and the issues that you are concerned about on a more personal level.

I always consider your opinions while working at the legislature, and these town halls are a great opportunity for me to get to know what your concerns are on a more thorough level.

There will be more town halls coming up in the next few weeks, please check out my website for time and dates.

 

Contact me!

This time of year I’m hard at work at my office in Olympia should you wish to to get in touch with me. I’ll be back in my offices in Shoreline at the end of the legislative session, on April 29th.

Olympia Office:

241 John A. Cherberg Building

PO Box 40432

Olympia, WA 98504-0432

Phone: (360)-786-7662

 

District office:

18560 First Ave NE, Room E-124

Shoreline, WA 98155

Phone (206)-366-2605

 

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

April 17, 2013 – E-Newsletter

April 17th, 2013|

Hello!

This is my weekly newsletter where I let you know what’s happening in my end of the legislature.  If you no longer wish to subscribe to my newsletter or believe that you received this message on accident please, click here to unsubscribe.

We are in the midst of negotiating a budget between the house and the senate. We have a lot of hard work and some difficult decisions ahead of us, but I look forward to working with my fellow Senators and Representatives to put together a budget we can be proud of.

The funding of higher education is one of my major concerns. We must ensure that our children have the opportunity to pursue a higher education without the fear of a crippling debt. We must also ensure that the universities that receive state funding spend it in a way that benefits the students as much as possible. With this is mind, please take a moment to review my video that discusses higher education funding for the University of Washington.

House Democrats release budget proposal

Last Friday, the House released its budget proposal. Democrats and Republicans will have to negotiate between this proposal and the budget proposal brought forward in the Senate by the Republican majority and find a compromise that the House, Senate and Gov. Inslee can all agree on.

The House budget has several key differences from the budget the Senate. The House budget provides almost $400 million more towards K-12 education than the Senate budget, including money for class size reduction which wasn’t in the Senate budget. The House budget doesn’t make cuts to important social service programs like the Working Connections Child Care subsidy program, enrollment in which was capped in the Senate budget. The House budget also doesn’t include some of the fund transfers and accounting tricks that were in the Senate budget, like a shift of $166 million out of a fund intended for school construction and used instead to pay for operating expenses – a transfer that has raised significant concerns about its constitutionality.

 

The House budget raises new revenue to fund this additional education spending by closing several tax loopholes and extending some taxes on business operations and beer that otherwise would have expired. The tax loopholes they recommend for closure are many of the same ones that Gov. Inslee recommended for closure in his budget. One, for instance, benefits just five big oil refineries who are experiencing record profits; another exempts sales tax for landline telephone service but doesn’t apply to cell phone service.

Funding our children’s education is more important than a tax break for oil refineries and closing some of these unproductive loopholes makes sense.

 

Inslee, LaHood: Columbia River Crossing at 11th hour

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Olympia last week to meet with Gov. Inslee and urge the Legislature to commit to Washington State’s share of funding for the Columbia River Crossing or risk forfeiting $850 million in federal aid.

Replacing the bridge will free up capacity along our crucial north-south transportation corridor and spur economic activity from Canada to Mexico, which is exactly what our region needs as we continue to rebound from the Great Recession.

Secretary LaHood’s message was clear: After more than a decade of planning, our state needs to step up and match Oregon’s $450 million commitment for its share of the bridge by September 2013. Gov. Inslee, in turn, was equally clear: If our state misses the deadline, the bridge project would be set back for years and far less federal money would be available in the future.

The September deadline isn’t the only reason the bridge needs to move forward. As Gov. Inslee noted, the existing bridge sits on rotting piers that were put in the Columbia River in 1917 and would not survive a major earthquake. Every new delay on the project jeopardizes the safety of the people who travel the bridge each day.

 

Celebrating Washington ranching

Last Week we celebrated Beef Day here at the Legislature, a day that recognizes the role of Washington ranching. Washington has a large and impressive cattle industry – we’ve got more than 1.1 million cows, we employ nearly 20,000 workers in ranching and dairy and Washington produced more than 800 million pounds of beef in 2012.

It’s also a major international export for us – we exported more than $100 million worth of beef to other countries in 2012. As a result of the free trade agreement that the US recently signed with South Korea, we expect Washington state beef exports to rise by $7 million annually as South Korean tariffs on our beef are phased out.

Ranching is an important part of our economy and our agricultural heritage as a state, and we passed a resolution on the Senate floor honoring cowboys and ranchers and the work they do for us. I’m glad that we have such a strong and sustainable agricultural economy here and I’m looking forward to working on ways to strengthen the industry.

Constituent Responses

“Your listening to the concern of the elderly and infirm population of Four Freedoms House and Henry M. Jackson Apartments this winter was appreciated. The matter to do with the bus stop on Linden Avenue and 135th Street was resolved in favor of the residents, in part due to the knowledge that your office had been contacted.

The contesting entities were shocked by our having sought you out! We knew you were here to represent us in all ways, and never had a moment’s thought about calling on you. Bless you for the strength you bring to your people.”

–          Lee Suitor

–          On behalf of the people of Four Freedoms House and Henry M. Jackson Apts.

I work for you.

As session comes to a close, I need your input more than ever. Please contact my office, or stop by with any concerns on issues that are of importance to you. Your input is paramount to the process!

 

Olympia Office:

241 John A. Cherberg Building

PO Box 40432

Olympia, WA 98504-0432

Phone: (360)-786-7662

 

 

District Office:

18560 First Ave NE, Room E-124

Shoreline, WA 98155

Phone: (206)-366-2604

FAX:  (206)-366-2605

April 9th Newsletter

April 9th, 2013|

Hello!

This is my weekly newsletter that I send out to let you know what happening on my end of the legislature. If you believe that you received this email by mistake, or no longer wish to be part of my mailing list please click here and unsubscribe.

Senate Republicans release budget proposal

This week, the Republican majority in the Senate released its budget proposal for 2013-2015. I don’t believe that this was a good working budget for Washington State. To hear the reasons for my ‘No’ vote, please click here.

While I’m glad that the budget implements the Affordable Care Act and ratifies our collective bargaining contracts with our state employees, I’m disappointed that the budget doesn’t invest more money into our K-12 system and makes cuts to important parts of our social safety net for our most vulnerable. Gov. Inslee’s budget proposal last week invests almost $300 million more dollars into K-12 education than this proposal does, including money to reduce class sizes for our students.

This budget proposal from the Republicans is an important part of the conversation and I look forward to working with the Senate Republicans, the House of Representatives and the governor to do what we can to pass a better budget.

Republicans refuse to hold a vote on the Reproductive Parity Act

The vast majority of insurance plans in Washington state currently cover abortion services. However, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the next two years, we must take steps to make sure these medical services continue to be covered under insurance. The Reproductive Parity Act, or RPA, would guarantee that all insurance plans that cover maternity care also cover abortion services.

Without the RPA, insurance companies will be able to choose whether to include abortion coverage in their plans. With the RPA, women will be able to choose whether or not they need to have an abortion with the confidence that it will be covered by their insurance plan. We believe that decision belongs with the woman, not the insurance company. The bill allows religiously-sponsored insurance carriers not to provide coverage for health care services to which they object based on conscience or religion while ensuring that alternative insurers who do cover abortion are available to employees.

This is a basic protection for women’s reproductive health and a bipartisan majority of members of the Senate have signed a letter in support, but the Republican chair of the Senate Health Care Committee has refused to allow it to come to a vote in committee, much less a vote on the floor of the Senate — even though a majority of senators has committed to voting in favor of the bill. This blatant disregard for the will of the Senate is disappointing — the bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote and the full Senate deserves an opportunity to vote on the issue as well. I will continue to advocate for protection of women’s reproductive choices and the fight to write this protection into law is far from over.

Dream Act prevented from moving out of committee

The Washington Dream Act would enable aspiring Washington citizens to attend college and continue to contribute to their communities. House Bill 1817 was written to help children who have grown up in Washington state, but whose parents had entered the country illegally, to succeed in our higher education system. Giving these students a fair shot means giving them the same access to our state financial aid programs that other students get.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 77-20, with many Republicans in support. We had hoped that given this strong showing of bipartisan support, we would be given a chance to vote on this bill in the Senate. Unfortunately, the chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee refused to allow the bill to move forward despite its broad bipartisan support.

Honoring Vietnam Veterans

Last week, the Legislature passed a resolution declaring March 30th to be Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, joining seven other states in honoring Vietnam veterans on that date. It was on March 29, 1973, that the last United States troops left South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.We held a ceremony at our state’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall on the Capitol Campus with the Yakama Nation and several veterans groups.

It’s important that we recognize the sacrifices that our service members have made for us and that we properly honor them. While ceremonies and proclamations can’t heal the wounds that too many still suffer from, we should never forget what our veterans have done on our behalf and we should make sure that they know we haven’t forgotten.

I work for you!

If you have any questions, or concerns, about legislation and issues that are important to you please feel free to contact my office. During session we are at the capital in the Olympia offices. When session is out you can contact us at our district offices.

Olympia Office:                                                                    

241 John A. Cherberg Building

PO Box 40432

Phone: (360) 786-7662

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

 

District Office:

18560 First Ave NE, Room E-750

Shoreline, WA 98155

Phone: (206) 366-2604

FAX: (206) 399-2605

Sen. Chase Update – March 14th

March 14th, 2013|

Please join us on Friday, March 15, 9am (PST) when WWGF News host Andie Frostad (WA) will interview Senator Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline – 32nd District) regarding the “Yes On 522” campaign on GMO food labeling.

You can view the live stream of the interview here. Where you also can comment and add insight to the discussion as it takes place.

You have the right to know what is in your food. Please vote yes on I-522!

All the best,

Senator Maralyn Chase