(360) 786-7686|Steve.Hobbs@leg.wa.gov

Sen. Hobbs Newsroom

COVID-19 Information and Tips

Friends and neighbors,

These are trying times. Our country, our state and our communities are being challenged as never before. My heartfelt condolences go out to everyone who has lost a family member or a friend. To those who are battling this virus, or are close to someone who is, we stand with you.

We do not know how long the outbreak will last or what the long-term impacts on our state will be.

What we do know is how to stop the spread of the coronavirus – stay home, stay six feet away from others, wash your hands frequently. We must all do our part to keep each other healthy and help flatten the curve of transmission.

At the bottom of this letter are additional tips and resources you and your family can use to help stay safe during this crisis.

The best source for COVID-19 material can be found at www.coronavirus.wa.gov. Here you will find regularly updated information as well as the latest news, statistics, volunteer opportunities and much, much more.

This is a difficult time. But we can do this.

I’m proud of the role my own family has played in the response to this pandemic. My wife is a healthcare worker at a nursing home in Snohomish County and my son and I are members of the National Guard and have been activated to help in our state’s response. But our family’s story is not unique, we are one of thousands in our state that have taken on the outbreak directly.

We all have been inspired by the stories of doctors and nurses working on the front lines of the outbreak, of researchers working around the clock to develop more accurate tests and treatments for the virus, and of grocery store workers, truck drivers, sanitation workers and others whose line of work thrusts them into the forefront of this pandemic. Thank you to everyone who continues to sacrifice for the greater good.

I have lived in Snohomish County my entire life. I know the people of this community as tough, kind and resilient. We will get through this, we will do it together, and we will emerge stronger than ever before.

May 5th, 2020|E-News|
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    Sen. Hobbs’ office will remain open during his command of National Guard’s COVID-19 mission in Western Washington

Sen. Hobbs’ office will remain open during his command of National Guard’s COVID-19 mission in Western Washington

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Washington National Guard, has been selected to command Task Force Olympic – the Guard’s mission in Western Washington helping that area of the state with its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hobbs’ service begins immediately and will keep him away from his legislative responsibilities for an indeterminate amount of time. While he is away, his office will continue to be available to answer questions and assist constituents – including help with accessing resources and information regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Task Force Olympic is comprised currently of approximately 150-200 men and women of the Army and Air National Guard. Their initial mission is to support communities throughout Western Washington through food distribution at food banks, as well as ensuring beds and respirators reach their intended destinations. The Task Force will be tasked with other missions as assigned in order to support communities during this pandemic. You can watch a recent story on the Guard’s work at Western Washington food banks here. 

“I’ve been inspired by the stories of people working together to fight the spread of this virus. Serving communities in times of crisis is why people join the National Guard. It’s an honor for me to be able to do my part.”

Hobbs enlisted in the Army in 1987 and joined the National Guard in 2006. He is a veteran of the Kosovo Conflict and the Iraq War as well as a participant in other National Guard responses to state emergencies. He has served in the Legislature since 2007.

Constituents can reach Hobbs’ office by calling (360) 786-7686 or via email at steve.hobbs@leg.wa.gov.

Media interested in the Washington National Guard response to COVID-19 can contact the Washington National Guard Public Affairs Officer Maj. Joseph Siemandel by calling 253-512-8989 or via email at joseph.f.siemandel.mil@mail.mil.

April 13th, 2020|News Release|
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    Hobbs’ bill to enhance National Guard education benefits signed into law

Hobbs’ bill to enhance National Guard education benefits signed into law

The women and men of Washington’s National Guard assist communities across the state during times of crisis. In fact Guard members across the country are at this moment aiding in the COVID-19 pandemic response.

But our state is struggling to recruit and retain Guard members leaving our state at risk in times of crisis.

Today, a bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), himself a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard, was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5197 creates the Washington National Guard Postsecondary Grant Program to provide Guard members with additional college tuition assistance. It also expands the class of Guard members who are eligible to receive awards to pursue higher education and career development, and it increases award amounts.

“Now more than ever, it is clear to all the importance of a well-trained, well-educated National Guard,” Hobbs said. “In times of crisis and uncertainty, like we find ourselves in now, the men and women of the National Guard are ready to answer the call. This legislation reiterates our state’s commitment to Guard members and instantly makes us more competitive and on-par with what other states are offering.”

Eligible students can receive an award for the cost of tuition and fees, plus up to $500 for books and materials. It also credits Guard members for time already served, instead of requiring them to complete additional service after using the award.

“Our National Guard members stand ready to serve our state and nation,” said Rep. Christine Kilduff (D-University Place), sponsor of companion legislation in the House of Representatives. “Increasing our investment in the education and career development of the Guard will make Washington more competitive and help recruit and retain Guard members.”

The 81st Striker Brigade Combat Team, our state’s largest National Guard unit, will start a year-long deployment to Poland as part of our NATO mission in Eastern Europe.

“When this unit returns stateside, I’m pleased that they’ll have much better benefits to higher education,” Hobbs said.

April 2nd, 2020|News Release|

Capital improvements coming to Lake Stevens, Snohomish

Improvements are coming to the Snohomish Boys & Girls Club, as well as to the Lake Stevens Early Learning Library and Frontier Heights playground.

The passage of the 2020 Supplemental Capital Budget on Thursday, will bring improvements to communities across Washington, including here in Snohomish County.

“The capital budget is about improving quality of life in communities across our state,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens). “I’m particularly proud of the investment we’re making in the Snohomish Boys & Girls Club. This organization makes such a tremendous and lasting impact in the life of kids and I’m so happy that we can play a small role in helping them succeed in their very noble mission.”

The Frontier Heights playground in Lake Stevens is in need of replacement and safety upgrades. This investment will include new playground equipment, basketball courts, bathrooms and other improvements.

“I’m really excited about this improvement,” Hobbs said. “This is pretty close to where I live and I know there are a bunch of kids and families that are really going to enjoy having access to a brand new playground.”

The 2020 session adjourned on Thursday.

March 12th, 2020|News Release|
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    Hobbs’ bill to enhance National Guard education benefits heads to governor

Hobbs’ bill to enhance National Guard education benefits heads to governor

The women and men of Washington’s National Guard assist communities across the state during wildfires, floods and other natural disasters as well as deploying to meet threats overseas.

But our state is struggling to recruit and retain Guard members leaving our state at risk in times of crisis.

On Friday, a bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), himself a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard, received unanimous support in the House and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

“A well-trained, well-educated Guard with high morale is critical in times of crisis,” Hobbs said. “We are losing potential Guard members to other states and private businesses that are offering recruits more. This bill instantly makes us more competitive and on-par with what other states are offering.”

Senate Bill 5197 creates the Washington National Guard Postsecondary Grant Program to provide Guard members with additional college tuition assistance. It also expands the class of Guard members who are eligible to receive awards to pursue higher education and career development, and it increases award amounts.

Eligible students can receive an award for the cost of tuition and fees, plus up to $500 for books and materials. It also credits Guard members for time already served, instead of requiring them to complete additional service after using the award.

“This is a great bill for the National Guard, but also a great policy to strengthen our state’s workforce,” Hobbs said. “The success of both of these entities is critical to the success of our state.”

The 81st Striker Brigade Combat Team, our state’s largest National Guard unit, will start a year-long deployment to Poland as part of our NATO mission in Eastern Europe.

“When this unit returns stateside, I’m pleased that they’ll have much better benefits to higher education,” Hobbs said.

March 6th, 2020|News Release|
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    Senate transportation budget addresses I-976 funding crisis, restarts stuck projects

Senate transportation budget addresses I-976 funding crisis, restarts stuck projects

The Senate on Tuesday unveiled the 2020 supplemental transportation budget. Normally a document used to make minor tweaks and updates to the statewide transportation needs, this version of the supplemental budget is introduced at a time when Washington’s transportation funding is at a crossroads.

This budget, SB 6497, utilizes one-time balancing methods that provide a short-term fix, but does not attempt to address the larger, longer-term transportation budget crisis the Legislature must address next session.

“I’ve chaired the Transportation Committee for the last three years and been a member of the committee for nearly a decade. I can honestly say putting together this supplemental budget was one of the more challenging tasks of my tenure,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens). “The well has run dry in terms of transportation funding and this budget is an excellent representation of that.”

Gas tax revenues, the primary source of revenue that funds state transportation priorities, have steadily declined in recent years. The passage of Initiative 976 supplied another deep hit to transportation coffers by slashing passenger and light truck weight fees, passenger vehicle license fees and other revenue sources used for infrastructure improvements and multimodal services throughout Washington. I-976 will eliminate $453 million in state funds in the 2019-21 biennium and the loss will increase in the next biennium to $684.6 million.

Because of all these factors, this year’s supplemental budget has undergone something of a belt tightening. Budget writers sought creative solutions in how they deal with I-976 and a yet-to-come Supreme Court decision on its constitutionality.

The supplemental budget totals nearly $10.5 billion, including re-appropriations for delayed capital project activity, cost increases and reduced appropriations to account for the significant revenue reductions brought on by I-976.

However, I-976 is just the latest challenge to transportation revenue. Since the March 2019 transportation revenue forecast, transportation revenue projections are down $344 million (5.1 percent) in the 2019-21 biennium and $2.6 billion (7.4 percent) over the 10-year forecast horizon.

“Transportation revenue was drying up prior to the passage of I-976. The initiative took things from bad to devastating,” Hobbs said. “We had to get creative to make sure the state’s priorities were met. Moving money around like this is something that can only be done once. We are looking at a significant budget shortfall in January without new revenue.”

The budget assumes a general underrun of $402 million. That includes $200 million in highway capital, $26.8 million in public transportation capital, $66.5 million in local program capital in addition to other agency efficiencies. The budget includes “trigger” language that restores $121.7M in expenditure reductions should I-976 be overturned.

Addressing I-976 in this way provides the Governor with the ability to take all of the highway, local, rail, and public transportation projects off of his pause and delay lists.

“The Senate’s supplemental transportation budget takes a realistic approach to addressing our state’s transportation challenges in light of available revenue and the uncertainty over the fate of Initiative 976,” said Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima and ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee. “This is not the type of budget we would have liked to have been able to move forward but it is a budget that puts us on a prudent path that is needed at this time.”

Other areas of interest in the 2019-21 supplemental transportation budget include:

CULVERTS

$175 million in Connecting Washington funds is transferred to the 2019-21 biennium to fund fish passage barrier removal, bringing the total to $275 million this biennium to help fully fund the cost of complying with a Supreme Court injunction by 2030.

FERRIES

  • $10.9 million increase for Seattle Terminal Replacement.
  • $5.4 million for additional staffing costs, including $4.4 million for vessel crew overtime and $1 million for additional terminal staffing costs.
  • $4.2 million for training including for crew qualification, break-in training for reassignments, evacuation slide training, and electronic navigation training.
  • $4.3 million in savings due to the retirement of the MV Elwha ferry vessel, one of two vessels capable of sailing internationally. The retirement avoids $19 million in capital costs and reduces operating costs by $3 million per year. Washington State Ferries will move its only reserve boat, the Sealth, into regular service.

WASHINGTON STATE PATROL

  • $975,000 to replace reduced Enhanced 911 revenue supporting emergency dispatch services in King County.
  • $830,000 for additional information technology security efforts.
  • $7.1 million in savings from updated projections of WSP trooper and non-field force staff vacancies.
February 27th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Hobbs talks transportation in Yakima

All corners of our state are unified by the challenges we face and by the opportunities those challenges present.

Sen. Steve Hobbs recently toured the WSDOT’s South Central Region headquarters in Yakima and spoke with people dedicated to improving Washington’s transportation infrastructure.

They discussed some of the challenges to that region such as extreme weather and wildfires. They also spoke of transportation needs Yakima shares with the rest of the state such as modernization, bridge repair and how to afford these needs with the passage of I-976.

“Like so many areas of our state, Yakima is being asked to do more with less,” said Hobbs, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “They have challenges and needs just like every community across Washington. Those needs grow the longer they go unaddressed. Yakima’s challenges are no different than the challenges that are revealing themselves across our state. Those challenges are being amplified by the passage of 976.”

Hobbs also met with members of a maintenance crew that spoke of the safety challenges they face while working on projects in Central Washington. He also visited the state’s one and only sign facility that produces signage for the entire state.

Hobbs also took a ride in a ubit (under bridge inspection truck), a vehicle used to inspect bridges.

“Transportation projects across our state face an uncertain future,” Hobbs said. “The needs of communities across Washington continue to grow, but funding isn’t keeping up. Answering these needs benefit all of us. Transportation investments are an opportunity to improve infrastructure, keep our state moving, keep people safe and create jobs.”

November 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Jobs, congestion relief the focus of Puget Sound Gateway kickoff

Jobs, congestion relief the focus of Puget Sound Gateway kickoff

As polarized as things seem right now, there is still at least one universal experience that unites us all – being stuck in traffic.

But there is good news.

I had the honor of attending the Puget Sound Gateway construction kickoff Tuesday. This project will help alleviate congestion on I-5 and elsewhere by closing major gaps on SR 167 from Puyallup to I-5 and the Port of Tacoma and on SR 509 from SeaTac to I-5.

In Pierce County, this project includes a new wider 70th Avenue East bridge and roundabout on SR 99 that will improve freight connections to the Port of Tacoma and provide more reliable trips for truckers and the travelling public and clears the way for the SR 167 to connect with I-5. To the north in King County, a SR 99 Bridge will be built in SeaTac that will allow the new SR 509 corridor to pass under, while Sound Transit’s light rail passes overhead.

This project will create jobs, improve trade, make our infrastructure move environmentally friendly and did I mention it is on track to be completed three years ahead of schedule?

The Puget Sound Gateway Project is crucial to the economic future of our state. I am proud of the work we did in the Senate in the Connecting Washington transportation investment package to help it come to fruition. There are projects throughout our state with the same noble goals as Gateway, but there are still many more communities that will require additional state funding to complete.

I plan to continue my work as Senate Transportation Chair to help deliver these projects to the communities that need them.

October 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|

Governor signs state transportation budget

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed House Bill 1160, the 2019-21 Transportation budget.

“This budget addresses the transportation needs of our state,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, chair of the Senate Transportation committee. “This was a good, bipartisan effort to keep our promises and move our state forward.”

There are several highlights and new investments made as part of the $9.8 billion, two year plan including the continued delivery of projects first adopted as part of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package.

New investments include a $35 million investment in the creation of a project office and pre-design work to continue the work for the replacement of the Interstate 5 Bridge across the Columbia River. This will begin the reevaluation of scope, schedule, and budget for a reinvigorated bi-state effort.

Additional investments include providing $35 million in savings and $20 million in toll revenue to advance the design and complete right-of-way acquisition for the I-405 north end completion. This along with the funding provided by SB 5825, will be sufficient to complete this project. Several projects had funding advanced including $40 million for the SR 167/SR 509 Puget Sound Gateway project and $17 million for I-90 Snoqualmie Pass.

The Department of Transportation and the City of Tacoma are partnering in clean-up efforts to address the clearing of debris, hazardous material and implementing safety improvements along state highways within Tacoma city limits. This combined investment of $1.015 million will improve public health and safety and remove debris from right-of-ways.

Ferry investments include providing for the start of building a new 144-car hybrid electric vessel as well as the conversion of one existing ferry. The ferries division was provided $495,000 for the planning work needed to prepare for hybrid-electric vessel terminal charging investments. The Colman Dock project in Seattle and the Mukilteo terminal also received additional funding to keep those projects moving forward. Also included is $160,000 for a vessel noise reduction study aimed at helping protect the endangered southern resident orcas.

The Commute Trip Reduction program received a $1 million investment for a new first/last mile transportation demand management pilot program and $1 million for the continuation of a small businesses transit pass incentive.

With continued issues with maintaining a stable Washington State Patrol force $4.2 million was funded for a third cadet class and a position was funded for a recruitment and retention captain position.

“I’m proud of the bipartisan cooperation and outcome of this budget,” Hobbs said. “This is a good budget, but it is a bare-bones budget. Our state has many transportation needs and lack the means to meet them. Fish culverts, replacement of the I-5 bridge in Vancouver, the US 2 Trestle in Snohomish County and many other projects large and small across the state.”

May 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Senate honors Lake Stevens Eagles softball for advancing to 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

Senate honors Lake Stevens Eagles softball for advancing to 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

OLYMPIA – The Lake Stevens Eagles have become something of a regional softball powerhouse over the last several years.

Since 2013, the Eagles have won either gold or silver at the annual Special Olympics Washington State Softball Tournament. In 2018, the Eagles’ success landed them in the Special Olympics USA Games where they placed fourth in the nation.

On Wednesday, in recognition of this accomplishment, the state Senate ran a resolution honoring Lake Stevens for its success on the diamond.

“Having been born and raised in Lake Stevens, I can tell you that this team is a source of pride for everyone,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, the resolution’s sponsor. “These kids worked so hard and accomplished so much. They are an inspiration to our community and it is my honor to share their accomplishments with the rest of the state.”

Seattle served as host for the 2018 Special Olympics, which marked the 50th anniversary of the games. The event drew over 4,000 athletes and coaches to the Emerald City from across the nation to compete in 14 Olympic-type events.

The Eagles made more news last spring as actor Chris Pratt, a Lake Stevens native, raised money to help the team cover expenses during their run to the national games.

“The last year has been such a rewarding experience for our whole community, but it has been extra special for the families who got to watch their sons and daughters compete at this level,” said Hobbs, whose son Truman plays for the Eagles. “I think I can speak for every parent of a Lake Stevens Eagle that this summer provided us with memories that we will never forget.”

Lake Stevens Eagles roster: Walter (Ole) Aurdal, Traci Baughman, Casey Condit, Matt Condit, Tyler Duim, Scott Hayford, Truman Hobbs, Dawson Kellar, Lance Kleisath, Xaphya Madden, Nikki Osbjornsen, Jaimi Robertson, Darrell Zimmerman.
Coaches: Patty Studdard, Chuck Griffis.

April 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|