E-News

See you after November!

May 8th, 2020|

Because of election year restrictions, I will be unable to update my website or send e-mail updates beginning May 11. However, my office will remain open, so if you need to contact me or my staff, please contact my office at (360) 786-7652 or Jeannie.Darneille@leg.wa.gov.

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    Relief for small businesses, the self-employed and independent contractors

Relief for small businesses, the self-employed and independent contractors

April 2nd, 2020|

Dear neighbors,

I know many of you are small business owners, self-employed or independent contractors who are struggling to make ends meet due to the COVID-19 response. Here are some resources that may help you through these tough times.

Paycheck Protection Program

The federal government has funded the Paycheck Protection Program with $349 billion intended to help organizations keep employees on payroll between now and the end of June 2020.

Applications can be filed starting April 3 and funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s important to get your application in early.

The program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organization affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Some businesses with more than 500 employees may also be eligible.

Learn more about the program and how to apply at https://www.sba.gov/ppp.

State and Federal Resources for Small Businesses

Visit the following links for more information about resources and programs to provide relief to small business owners:

Rest assured, the challenges you face weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of your state legislators. In addition to legislative action we taken for an initial investment of $200 million for the COVID-19 response, we support Gov. Inslee in his executive responses and stand ready to provide additional help as events continue to evolve.

Please reach out to my office if you have questions not addressed by these resources.

Sincerely,

Sen. Jeannie Darneille

Special Update: Coronavirus

March 18th, 2020|

March 18, 2020

Dear neighbors,

We wrapped up the 2020 legislative session last week, and updates about legislation will be coming soon.  For now, I’d like to take a moment to assure you that the Legislature and our state agencies are taking our current health crisis very seriously.

This is an urgent message.  The coronavirus pandemic has hit Washington.  You and I and every person we come close to are partners in a great social contract.  We are responsible for each other.  If I fail you, or you fail me, in keeping our promise in that social contract, we will fail to contain this virus.

It is not a time for business as usual. Every time we step out of our homes, each of us must imagine that we are the virus.  If we don’t self-isolate when we have any symptoms, fail to cover our cough, or forget to maintain a gap of 6 feet between us and every other person, we can infect that person.  A woman who is pregnant, a clerk in a grocery store, the driver of the bus you rode, your parent or grandparent, your friend at church, every person.

It is good news that many infected people are being released from hospitals to continue healing at home.  But the virus is spreading quickly, and our health care system is not scaled to meet the predicted level of need.  Rationing of services is expected to happen.

We need to make a serious commitment to that social contract.  Today and every day for the foreseeable future.

I recognize that many people living in the 27th District don’t have a choice about whether they isolate themselves during this health crisis.  To all the first responders, health care workers, support staff, persons who work at grocery stores, pharmacies, food providers, long term care providers, and all others who are necessary to maintaining core services, I thank you and hope you, too, are remaining as safe as possible.

The Legislature’s Actions

The Washington State Senate convenes for floor session - Feb. 19, 2020

We have now appropriated $200 million to fund our state’s response, including monitoring, testing and support for local health departments.

We have also acted to:

  • ensure that people receiving unemployment insurance benefits will be able to receive them even if they can’t meet the work search requirement due to quarantine.
  • mitigate costs to businesses due to increased numbers of workers receiving unemployment insurance
  • reimburse nursing homes that aid in the coronavirus response
  • keep school employees eligible for health insurance for the rest of the school year even if they don’t meet the required number of work hours because of the coronavirus state of emergency.

The Governor’s Actions2020-03-16 Governor Inslee gives a press conference on coronavirus

To minimize public health risks, in recent days Governor Inslee has:

For the latest updates on the Governor’s actions, click here.

 

Resources for Information and AssistanceScreenshot from the state's coronavirus website.

Are you looking for the latest updates or answers about how to cope with the disruption of daily life and the new financial strain caused by missed work? Do you want to know what state agencies are doing to help? Visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/, where you can find all the information in one place.

Other resources in our area for information about coronavirus include:

Special Enrollment Period for Washington Health Benefit Exchange

In response to the potential growth of coronavirus cases, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is holding a limited-time special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance. This special enrollment period runs through April 8, 2020, and will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. You can call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Thank you for your cooperation in this difficult time, when social distancing is required to slow the spread of the virus to ensure the safety of all members of our communities. Don’t forget to help your friends, family and neighbors who may be struggling to make ends meet right now.

My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community at this time.

Sincerely,

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Follow my Facebook page for the latest updates on what I’m up to during the interim.

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What are the issues that are important to you and your community? Your participation helps improve our district for all! Contact my office to make sure your voice is heard!

Click here for contact information.

 

Update from Olympia

February 20th, 2020|

Dear neighbors:

Please don’t forget to join us this Saturday for the 27th Legislative District town hall in Tacoma! It will take place from 10 am to noon at the Eastside Community Center, 1721 E 56th St., Tacoma.

 

 

In other news, the 2020 legislative session has been a whirlwind of activity, and last night we wrapped up another phase.  Yesterday marked the cutoff deadline for bills to pass out of the chamber where they were introduced. Only these bills will move forward as the session advances.

Below you’ll find information on criminal justice reform bills I’m proud to have helped move forward, and that I’ll continue to support through the session.

Senate Bill 5488 is a bill I sponsored that would allow judges to use discretion when making sentencing decisions for a juvenile who has been tried in adult courts for a felony committed while under the age of 18. Judges would be allowed to depart from mandatory sentencing guidelines to take into account factors indicating maturity such as age, lack of sophistication, susceptibility to peer pressure, and youStatue of lady justice holding scales of justice and sword, deep blue sky in background with wispy clouds.thfulness at the time of the offense.

This bill codifies recent decisions from the Washington Supreme Court that recognized judges’ authority to use their discretion for sentencing juveniles, and acknowledged neuroscientific research showing that the brain does not fully develop until age 25.

Senate Bill 5291 is another bill I sponsored, and it would give more parents who are found guilty of crimes the opportunity to maintain bonds with their children by serving time through a parenting sentencing alternative. The bill would expand eligibility for existing programs that allow people to receive intensive community supervision and services while on electronic home monitoring in lieu of incarceration.

Not only do family sentencing alternatives help to maintain family bonds and improve the lives of children, they also provide participants with better outcomes and reduce recidivism because they receive more intensive case management and other services, such as parenting classes and counseling.

House Bill 2640 is the companion to a bill I sponsored in the Senate. It would clarify that private for-profit facilities like the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center are not “essential public facilities,” and are not exempt from local land use regulations. This means under the City of Tacoma’s local land use regulations, that facility can expand only if it is approved for a permit through the City’s conditional use permit process.

The current statute (RCW 36.70A.200) lists types of state, regional, and local facilities that are considered essential public facilities and not subject to local development regulations. Federal or privately owned and operated facilities and detention centers are not listed in the statute. This legislation would settle this issue and prevent continued litigation costs to Tacoma taxpayers.

Senate Bill 6112 would prohibit the use of solitary confinement in juvenile institutions and would place restrictions on the use of other types of isolation. Research shows solitary confinement does not improve behavior and is emotionally and psychologically damaging to young people.

This legislation would align Washington’s laws with those of 10 other states that have similarly limited solitary confinement for juveniles in recognition of its harm and lack of effectiveness.

I’ve been happy to work on these bills as well as countless other meaningful bills under consideration thus far. I was also pleased to sponsor Senate Resolution 8681 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters on February 14.

Stay tuned for more e-news updates as the session continues. My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns throughout the session, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community!

Sincerely,

Jeannie Darneille

Update from Olympia

January 31st, 2020|

Dear neighbors:

The legislative session is advancing quickly!  Today is Day 19 of a short 60 day session, so we are nearly 40% complete.  In this first phase of the session, Senate committees are holding public hearings each week to decide which bills to pass out of committee.  Feb. 7th is the last day to pass bills out of policy committees, and bills with a fiscal impact must also be heard by the budget committees must be referred to the Rules Committee for possible floor action by Feb 11th.

Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation

As the chair of the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee, I’ve presided over hearings for several bills that have passed out of committee. Here’s a quick look at a few of them:

  • A bill I sponsored, Senate Bill 6204, would require the state Department of Corrections (DOC) to conduct a review of any fatality or near fatality of someone in DOC custody. The DOC has the largest population of people in the state’s care, and it is an aging population. This bill would help maintain accountability, transparency, and the trust of the public.

Wooden gavel lying on a circular wooden disc.

  • Another bill I sponsored, Senate Bill 5488 would allow adult courts to exercise discretion when sentencing someone for a felony committed while under the age of 18. Courts would be allowed to depart from mandatory or standard sentences to take into account youth factors such as age, lack of sophistication, susceptibility to peer pressure, and youthfulness at the time of the offense. This bill recognizes the evolution of the juvenile justice system, which now considers neuroscientific research showing that the brain does not fully develop until age 25.

Two Women Playing With Baby on Sofa

  • Senate Bill 5164 would allow non-citizen victims of human trafficking and other crimes to access food assistance, family assistance, and medical care services while they wait for applications for immigration relief to be filed or approved. Traffickers or abusers often use threats about housing, economic stability and immigration status to control victims and prevent them from escaping a dangerous situation. This bill would help remove barriers to services that can help victims find stability and freedom from their abusers while waiting for a lengthy immigration process to play out.

Compacts with Tribes

Three people testifying in a Senate Committee hearing.

Senate Bill 6601 is an historic bill heard this week before the Ways and Means Committee.  The legislation is requested by the Governor after years of work with the federally recognized Tribes to create compacts between governments regarding certain tax revenues.  If adopted by the Legislature, Tribes will enter into individual compacts that will authorize the state to share portions of state retail sales tax, use tax, and B&O tax on transactions that take place within a compact covered area.  Washington could join 7 other states in developing Tribal Tax Agreements.

Stay tuned for more e-news updates as the session quickly progresses. My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns throughout the session, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community!

Sincerely,

Jeannie Darneille

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Update from Olympia

January 20th, 2020|

Session is under way!

Last Monday marked the beginning of the 2020 legislative session, and we got right down to business for this short, 60-day session. These short sessions occur in even-numbered years, and can often feel like a sprint to the finish line with the entire legislative process condensed into just eight weeks.

I-976’s effects on transportation funding

Unfortunately, in this short session we’re faced with increased budget challenges due to Initiative 976, known as the “$30 car tabs” initiative. Prior to its passage, the state’s transportation funding stream was already unable to keep up with the demand for maintenance, preservation, safety and projects across the state. The passage of I-976 devastated transportation funding across the state.

Although the measure is being contested in the courts, we must prepare for the worst by writing an all-cuts transportation budget, because it’s only responsible for us to prepare for the worst. Whatever the outcome, there will be significant delays with projects, and the situation will get worse before it gets better. Nevertheless, we are committed to keeping essential projects for safety and preservation, and prioritizing transit services for vulnerable persons in our state.

Upcoming committee work

This year, I continue to chair the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee, where I take an open and inclusive approach to the decision-making process. The issues this committee tackles represent the heart and social safety net of our state. How will our state respond to the needs of those affected by federal cuts to assistance programs like SNAP (food stamps benefit), families in need of federal assistance, children in foster care, or youth involved with the juvenile justice system?

I will also be fighting to put people first in my positions on the Senate Housing Stability & Affordability and Ways & Means committees, as well as the Behavioral Health Subcommittee to the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

Meet my team

This session I have a great team made up of my legislative assistant, Lisa Fisch, session aide Noelle Kappert and intern Laura Amador. They are helping me answer your calls, emails and meetings requests.

Please reach out to our office with your concerns about legislation at 360-786-7652 or at the toll-free legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000. You can also send an email to Jeannie.Darneille@leg.wa.gov. Also, if you are having difficulty navigating problems with a state agency, you are welcome to contact my office.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Take care,

Sen. Jeannie Darneille

 

 

Local projects at risk…

July 14th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

While the Legislature was able to avoid a state government shutdown by adopting an operating budget before midnight on June 30, our work remains unfinished. One of the last outstanding pieces of the session is the adoption of our state’s capital budget. This is the budget that creates jobs, and funds local infrastructure projects across our state to the tune of $4.1 billion.

Funds from the capital budget have helped build our schools, update park facilities and community centers, and provide critical toxic environmental clean-up programs in our district.

This time around is no different. The House of Representatives has already passed the capital budget 92 to 1 (House Bill 1075).

It is now the Senate’s turn to act. The absence of a capital budget would jeopardize thousands of jobs in our state and could stop projects already in progress. If this were to happen, those mothballed projects would likely cost taxpayers more in the future to resume.

projects at risk

The Seattle Times recently wrote on this issue with a focus on the construction of the new Burke Museum in Seattle. The potential damage to our district would be just as devastating.

While the capital budget is usually the “feel good budget” because it creates jobs in every community across the state, the Republican-led Senate is refusing to bring the capital budget for a vote without their fix to what’s called the Hirst decision – a State Supreme Court decision that has to do with water rights and rural well usage. Senate Republicans are now holding the capital budget hostage and are refusing to negotiate a possible fix to the Hirst decision.

This is an irresponsible and dangerous approach to take that puts all communities across the state at risk for losing critical job-creating infrastructure investments. Our state needs the capital budget. It’s time for Senate Republicans to pass the capital budget for the benefit of all Washingtonians.

The Third Special Legislative Session will end on July 20. I will continue to meet with community members and will work to encourage my colleagues to pass a capital budget given the time we have left.

Until next time,

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A Special Session Update

April 28th, 2017|

News from Sen. Jeannie Darneille                                         April 28, 2017


 Dear friends and neighbors,

The legislature had until Sunday, April 23, or 105 days to complete its work during the regular session. While we were able to pass some good bills to help move our state forward, we have not yet passed a state operating budget or resolved how we will amply and fairly fund our state’s K-12 education system. Gov. Inslee called the legislature back into session on Monday – a special session lasting up to 30 days.

An update on education and the operating budget

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed their operating budget proposals. These budget proposals represent different values and outcomes for our state. The Senate Republican budget relies on a $5.6 billion property tax that would impact every household in our state. This budget plan also proposes dangerous cuts to the most vulnerable in our community – the homeless, low-income families, the elderly, and those living with disabilities. Democrats in the House of Representatives have a budget proposal that includes a more equitable revenue structure and invests this money in our kids and our most vulnerable.

It’s time for negotiators to come to the table and begin the process of negotiating a go-home budget. We cannot and must not accept a budget proposal that funds our kid’s education on the backs of our most vulnerable.

A disingenuous tax vote

On one of the last days of the regular session, Senate Republicans held votes on two revenue bills. These two bills – the capital gains tax and the business and occupation tax – are a couple of the proposals that are included in the House budget.

Bringing these bills to a vote knowing they would fail was nothing more than a political stunt. These tax proposals could help reshape our state’s tax structure to make it more fair. No bill should be a pawn in a political game. Sadly, on one of the last days of the regular session, that is exactly what happened.

What’s happening during Special Session?

On Wednesday, day three of the Special Session, the Senate Ways & Means Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 5929, an omnibus bill of the House’s revenue proposals. The hearing room and two overflow rooms filled with people wanting to testify on the bill, both pro and con.

I was proud to hear from so many students, social workers, educators, and small business owners who support the bill. They know our children are our future and need more support in the classroom.

Royal visitors

Princesses

I always enjoy the visit from our Pierce County Daffodil Princesses. This year, I was pleased to welcome Princess Bridget from Stadium High School and Princess Amaya from Wilson High School. I know both of these talented young ladies have a very bright future.

I hope you will continue to contact me with your questions, comments, and ideas about how we can improve our district and our state.

Until next time,

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A Legislative Update from Sen. Jeannie Darneille

March 10th, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Reminder! Town Hall Meeting tomorrow 10 to noon, Sat. March 11

I hope you will join Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Rep. Jake Fey, and me at our annual mid-session town hall meeting! This will be a good opportunity for our community to come together to talk about the issues that are most important to you, our district and our state.

WHO: Sen. Jeannie Darneille, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Rep. Jake Fey, and YOU!

WHEN: From 10 to Noon, Sat. March 11, 2017 – (Doors will be open at 9:30 a.m.)

WHERE: The Evergreen State College – Tacoma Campus, 1210 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405, Pierce Transit Route 1

Legislative Deadline: House of Origin

On Wednesday, we hit another milestone of the legislative cutoff calendar – the House of Origin cutoff. This is significant because if votes were not taken on bills, they are most likely dead for this session. I currently have six bills still in motion of the 23 I prime sponsored. As a member of the minority party, this really isn’t a bad ratio, and many will be considered again in the second year of the biennium. The bills being heard and considered in the House of Representatives are:

Senate Bill 5030Concerning human trafficking, prostitution, and commercial sexual abuse of a minor. This bill modifies crimes of the promotion or commercial sexual abuse of a minor, and promoting prostitution by specifying that these crimes can be committed when anything of value is provided. This bill also extends the statute of limitations for survivors of human trafficking and abuse.

Senate Bill 5293Concerning court-based and school-based efforts to promote attendance and reduce truancy. Last session, we passed needed updates to our state’s Becca Law and modified how we treat youth who are truant from school. This bill makes further updates to the work that was done last session to implement Community Truancy Boards by allowing schools to use alternative assessments to identify student needs, allows specialists to be included on community truancy boards, and removes court authority to place a youth in a HOPE center or crisis residential center at an initial truancy hearing. This bill also requires a juvenile court to use a less restrictive alternative to detention when a student fails to comply with a truancy order. Detention for truancy under this bill should be a last resort, not the first option.

Senate Bill 5558Issuing a two-year identicards for offenders released from prison facilities.

Having valid identification is a barrier for many people who are getting out of our corrections facilities and reintegrating into society. It can sometimes take up to 30 days for someone to get some type of identification following their release. Without valid identification, obtaining housing, a bank account, or getting a job can be very difficult, if not impossible. This bill will establish a program between the state Department of Licensing and the Department of Corrections to implement a state-issued identicard program to qualifying offenders. The identicards created under this program will be valid for two years and will cost the offenders $18.

Senate Bill 5614Concerning diversion agreements and counsel and release agreements. We know from evidence-based practices that when juvenile offenders have access to diversion programs, they are less likely to recidivate. This bill removes the cap on the number of diversions a juvenile can receive. The bill also requires the destruction of a juvenile’s criminal record when they reach 18 years of age if their record only consists of completed diversion, counsel and release agreements, and all restitution is paid. The goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate our young people and diversions are the most effective way to accomplish this goal.

Senate Bill 5618Concerning arrest of 16 and 17 year olds for domestic violence assault. This is an important bill for our juvenile justice system, which specifies that a 16 or 17 year old is not subject to mandatory arrest for domestic violence assault. A police officer will have the authority to make a decision regarding an arrest. The bill also removes the requirement for a juvenile detention facility to book anyone under the age of 18 who is arrested for assaulting a family or household member.

Senate Bill 5749Concerning paperwork reduction in order to improve the availability of mental health services to protect children and families. As a member of the Children’s Mental Health Work Group last interim, this bill includes many of the recommendations that will improve the delivery of mental health services to children in our state. A reduction in paper work will allow a higher delivery of services and will help reduce the staff turnover rate. Currently, some staff working within our state’s Behavioral Health Organizations report that they are spending half of their time on paperwork and half of their time on providing services.

An update on the Salmon Beach bill

Senate Bill 5542 would have benefited the unique historic district of Salmon Beach in our community. The Shoreline Management Act of 1971 governs the use of shorelines across the state and the Department of Ecology approves and adopts the shoreline master programs. Some structures are exempt from certain shoreline master programs. The bill would have allowed historic, single family, over water residences established before Jan. 1, 2017 to be subject to reasonable shoreline master program regulations. This would allow the homes at Salmon Beach to be renovated and maintained. While this bill did not pass this session, I will work to make sure that all residents of Salmon Beach are able to safely maintain and stay in their historic homes.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

For the last 30 years, International Women’s Day has had a special place in my heart – it’s the day my son was born. I’ve always said that my contribution to International Women’s Day was to raise him as a feminist! This year, I was pleased to stand and recognize many of the women who fought for the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, a fight that continues to this day. March 8 also marked a call to action for accelerating gender equity. The Senate passed a resolution — SR 8628 — to honor all women throughout our state, nation, and world during the celebration of International Women’s Day.

Please follow this link to watch a video featuring Washington women and the women of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Senate takes action on the education crisis

While I am glad to see Senate action on the bill to avert what’s called the Levy Cliff, the gap between what education services are currently funded by levy dollars and what will eventually become more adequate funding from the state general fund. We must now focus on fully funding our K-12 education system without damaging our social safety net. I released the following statement after Senate Bill 5023 passed in the Senate on Wednesday evening:

“Our schools are so much more than places of learning. For many kids, going to school brings stability and normalcy to their lives. I am pleased that we are taking action on the levy cliff bill and will not be cutting $358 million in levy dollars, and creating the largest cut to K-12 education in state history.

“Funds raised by local levies are essential for all of our students who depend on high-quality teachers, classroom support, and small class sizes to help them achieve positive academic outcomes.

“In the 27th, the Tacoma School District would have lost more than $2.6 million in locally approved funding had the Senate refused to take action. Our own school district would have been pushed over the levy cliff.

“Our kids and their teachers deserve better, which is why we must shift our focus to how we will fund education without gutting critical programs within the social safety net. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the coming weeks to do what’s best for our kids and those who are most vulnerable in our state.”

Resentencing of youth ordered by Washington State Supreme Court

On Thursday, March 2, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that two juveniles from Tacoma involved in the Halloween Candy Case must be resentenced. This ruling is a major win for juvenile justice and sets case law about how the legal system may treat cases involving 16 and 17 year olds.

From the sentencing decision announced in 2013, I was concerned that my constituents did not receive the opportunity to have the benefits of the juvenile justice system. Instead, they were tried as adults and received adult sentences. Combined, these two young people faced the prospect of spending 85 years in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court Case of Miller v. Alabama states that, “children are different.” This is the same sentiment that is quoted in our Supreme Court’s ruling and I could not agree more. The Seattle Times Editorial Board ran a good piece of why we need to consider brain science in juvenile sentencing.

To read the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling in its entirety, click here.

Please keep in touch

I encourage you to please keep in touch with me and my office. I would like to thank all the visitors from the district who have come to Olympia! I have a map of the district in my office and every time we have a constituent visit, they mark where they live. Thank you for being engaged with your democracy!

 

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    Legislative Update – Just 9 days left of the Regular Session!

Legislative Update – Just 9 days left of the Regular Session!

April 17th, 2015|

Dear friends and neighbors,

As we hurtle toward the finish line of the 2015 Legislative Session, all eyes are focused on the budgets. The Operating Budget is the largest policy bill of the session and impacts all Washingtonians.

There are three budgets that help keep the state moving – the Operating budget, the Capital Budget and the Transportation Budget. Each biennium, non-partisan Senate staff put together very helpful resource guides on each of the budgets and important tax information.

This year there is ‘A Citizen’s Guide to the Washington State Budget,’ ‘A Citizen’s Guide to Washington State K-12 Finance,’ ‘A Legislative Guide to Washington State Property Taxes,’ and ‘A Legislative Guide to Washington State’s Tax Structure.’ These little guides provide very useful information!

guides

The Lay of the Land: Bills that continue to move and those that won’t…this year.

Wednesday was the last major cutoff day before we adjourn Sine Die on April 26. Policy bills sent to the opposite chamber which failed to pass out of that chamber by 5 p.m. yesterday are not likely to be signed into law this year. No bill is ever truly dead until Sine Die, but typically bills that are necessary to implement the budget or bills that are essential to final negotiations are the ones still in play. We will see in the coming days which bills those turn out to be.

At the beginning of every legislative session there is hope that bills that are introduced will pass. This optimism usually lasts until the first great winnowing process happens with the first cutoff.

As the chart below indicates only 22% of the bills sponsored by Senate Democrats went to the House of Representatives for consideration and 36% of bills sponsored by Senate Republicans passed to the House. Less than one third of the total number of bills introduced in the Senate made it to the House of Representatives. I predict that this year we will see a historically low number of bills that make it all the way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Senate Bills

Number of members by Political Party Number of bills introduced during the 2015 Session Number of bills that passed in the Senate and went to the House of Representatives for consideration Percent of the total
Republicans (26) 716 259 36
       
Democrats (23) 381 85 22
       
Total 1097 344 31
       

Capital Budget passes with many great projects for the 27th!

The Capital Budget passed in the Senate this week and is clearly the product of what a bipartisan budget should look like. The budget passed to the House on a vote of 39 to 10. From the first meeting up until the final printing of the budget, Democrats and Republicans worked together.

The Capital Budget invests in affordable housing loans and grants, increased funding for mental health beds, and an increase in K-12 school construction funding to meet the demands of smaller class sizes. The Capital Budget also invests in local projects to improve the quality of life across the State of Washington.

Some of the many projects in the 27th Legislative District included in the Senate Capital Budget:

  • Funding for the Old Spaghetti Factory Building
  • Classroom renovations at the University of Washington Tacoma Urban Solutions Center;
  • Improvements to a section of the Prairie Line Trail behind the Tacoma Art Museum;
  • Support for creating more mental health inpatient services beds through a joint venture with Franciscan Health Systems and Multicare;
  • Upgrades to the heating system at the Balfour Dock building, which will allow the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum to operate year round;
  • Support for the Eastside Tacoma Community Center;
  • Funding renovations of the façade at the 100-year old Pantages Theater;
  • Upgrades to the Washington State Historical Museum; and
  • Cleanup of hazardous properties from the old Asarco Smelter Plume site to the Port of Tacoma.

The two areas of concern, at this point that I see, deal with providing additional funding for clean energy and the proposal to go into more debt by bonding our public works infrastructure projects. There is a tradeoff to these decisions, and while going into debt is not ideal, it does free up additional funding for more projects.

The proposed Senate Capital Budget will need to be reconciled with the plan that the House of Representatives passed before we end up with the final version of the Capital Budget.

Thank you!

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Thank you to everyone who has made the trip to Olympia this session. I am always happy to see so many visitors from the mighty 27th, including these young advocates for family planning services (who even brought their own selfie stick for our photo!)

If you have any comments, questions or concerns about the legislative process or your interactions with a state agency, please feel free to email me or call my office any time.

Until next time,

darneille