Monthly Archives: April 2015

Legislature heads into overtime

April 29th, 2015|

The 2015 legislative session has concluded with much left undone. As a result, the Legislature is headed into overtime. The governor has called for a special session, which will begin on April 29, to negotiate and approve an Operating Budget. In addition, because a compromise has yet to be reached on an Operating Budget, the Capital and Transportation Budgets also remain in limbo. There are major differences between the competing Republican and Democratic proposals. However, I remain confident that we will be able to reach a compromise soon.

Millions of dollars are at stake for Pierce County. This money will lead to a strengthened infrastructure, an improved economy, and more jobs for the greater Tacoma area.

The Capital Budget includes more than $43 million for projects in the 29th Legislative District and surrounding areas. Some of the local projects coming to our area include:

  • $1 million for the Stan and Joan Cross Park in Frederickson;
  • Funding for a veterans’ shelter at Western State Hospital;
  • Wapato Lake dock reconstruction;
  • Funding for Springbrook park; and
  • Access improvements for the disabled at the Lemay Car Museum.

Statewide, the proposal outlines funding for more than 2,100 classrooms, for mental health services by expanding the number of community behavioral health beds, and for other local government infrastructure projects. The Capital Budget is a job creator and recession buster; we desperately need it to pass so our economy can continue to recover.

Another job-creating and economy driving proposal is the Transportation Package. It is critical that we find a way to work out our differences on this proposal and pass it. If it passes, Pierce County will receive $2.3 billion in transportation investments.

Our infrastructure is in dire need of a significant upgrade. Gridlock is forcing parents to spend more time in traffic than at home at the kitchen table with their kids. Traffic is also delaying the process of getting goods to market, which is hurting our local economies. Important projects coming to Pierce County include: funding to connect of SR 167 and SR 509 with I-5 and alleviate Joint Base Lewis McChord traffic. It also designates funding towards the Safe Routes to School grant, which will lead to more sidewalks ensuring our kids are safe when they walk to school.

Lastly, I should mention that we have to fully fund our schools with a reliable revenue source. The Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature to make a significant investment into our state’s education system this session. Both the Senate and House budget proposals include at least $1.3 billion for schools. In order to make this work, my Democratic colleagues and I are asking for a small capital gains tax on the richest few to pay for schools. Right now, folks in the middle and lower classes are paying the lion’s share of our state’s taxes. Asking the richest few to pay their fair share is the right thing to do and it will give our kids the help they need.

A lot is at stake this overtime session for Pierce County and our children. I remain optimistic that we will come up with a solution that creates jobs, drives our economy, and benefits our district and the people of Pierce County.

Conway’s consumer protection bill signed into law

April 23rd, 2015|

Olympia– Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5296, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, which prevents misrepresentations and deceptive practices in the locksmith industry.

“This is a vitally important consumer and brick and mortar protection bill,” said Conway. “Frequently these out-of-state business bully or deceive customers into paying more money for services. This bill creates important standards that makes it more difficult for businesses to misrepresent their geographic location.”

Businesses located around the world post local advertisements on the web or in newspapers claiming to be a local locksmith. Customers then call the business hoping to receive direct locksmith assistance. Instead of receiving service from this business directly, the business brokers with a local company to do the job but charges the customer, who originally called, a higher price for the service. This bill ensures that when people call a business, they know whether they are talking to a local locksmith or a third party outside of the area who may wind up inflating the cost.

“The idea for this bill was brought to me by constituents Jim and Karen Rich. They own a locksmith company called Guardian Security located on South Tacoma Way,” added Conway.

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    Conway: Unfair distribution of sexually violent predators must stop

Conway: Unfair distribution of sexually violent predators must stop

April 14th, 2015|

Courts must consider releasing sexually violent predators back to the counties they were committed in, as a result of an amendment offered today to House Bill 1059 in the Washington State Senate. Up until now, sexually violent predators who are conditionally released from McNeil Island, a Special Commitment Center in Pierce County, do not have to be released to their county of origin and courts do not have to consider this option.

“This places an unfair burden on Pierce County,” said Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, co-sponsor of the amendment. “This legislation clears up what has become a dangerously unfair distribution of sexually violent individuals in Pierce County, a county that makes up only 12 percent of our state’s population.”

Senate Bill 5099 was the original vehicle for this legislation but did not make it out of the Senate before the legislative cut-off deadline. The amendment to HB 1059 essentially revives SB 5099 and allows it to continue to move forward.

“Pierce County cannot be expected to foot the bill for every sexually violent predator from around the state that is committed to McNeil Island,” said Conway. “This critical amendment provides the opportunity for the sexually violent predator’s home county to pay for their rehabilitation and monitoring.”

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    Conway: ‘Capital budget is a job creator and recession buster’

Conway: ‘Capital budget is a job creator and recession buster’

April 8th, 2015|

Olympia – The $3.9 billion Senate capital budget proposal released today includes more than $43 million for projects in the 29th Legislative District and surrounding areas, Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, announced today.

Statewide, the proposal outlines funding for more than 2,100 classrooms, for mental health services by expanding the number of community behavioral health beds, and for other local government infrastructure projects.

“I am proud of this proposal and I am confident that we will negotiate a final product with the House that gets people working and drives our economy,” said Conway. “The Capital budget is a job creator and recession buster. Specifically, this budget will lead to more jobs in the construction industry, which are critical to strengthening our middle class.”

The proposal funds 80 parks and trails around the state, including $1 million for the Stan and Joan Cross Park in Frederickson.

“I strongly advocated for a significant down payment on the Stan and Joan Cross park project,” said Conway. “This park will give our community a great place for children to play, for people to exercise and for families to spend time together.”

Other 29th district area projects funded in the proposal include:

  • Funding for a Veteran’s shelter at Western State Hospital;
  • Wapato Lake dock reconstruction;
  • Funding for Springbrook park; and
  • Access improvements for the disabled at the Lemay Car Museum;

“Our veterans have put their lives on the line for us, and we as a society must not forget their sacrifices,” said Conway. “Providing a shelter at Western keeps our homeless veterans from living on the streets and gives them a solid foundation so they can get the services they need and get back on the right track.”

The Senate capital budget also includes investments in University of Washington-Tacoma and Clover Park Technical College, which was not included in the House proposal.

“The Senate capital budget is in general a better budget for Pierce County,” said Conway.