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Dear Neighbors and Friends,

As we head into the third week of the 2018 legislative session here in Olympia, I want to take a moment to provide a brief update. I was honored to be selected by colleagues to serve as Caucus Chair this year. As the Senate Democrats navigate our first session back in the majority, I will continue to help foster our vision and values during this short 60-day session.

In my culture, leaders are often seen as peacemakers, and I intend to keep the peace within our own ranks and when we reach across the aisle to work with our Republican colleagues. It’s important we realize that we are all in this together and must find common ground if we are going to make positive changes for all people in our state.

I will also serve on the following committees:

  • Energy, Environment & Technology
  • Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks
  • Transportation
  •  Rules

Finishing on Time

Last year, the Legislature ran for nearly 200 days, marking the third year in a row that the Legislature did not end in time. Now that the Democrats are in control of the Senate, we intend to conclude the state’s business within 60 days, as I think voters rightly expect. Republicans both in our Washington and the other Washington have set the governing bar extremely low. Our job will now be to raise that bar and restore public confidence in functioning government.

Rural Broadband

In today’s digital world, having access to broadband internet is survival necessity. Much like electricity and telephones, access to affordable internet service connects people to the world around them. Those of us in large cities may not view internet access as an equity issue, but more than 200,000 people in Washington still lack access to broadband and more than 400,000 have access to only one provider and no choice. A staggering 68 percent of Americans on tribal lands remain cut off from broadband access.

I introduced legislation last session to expand the authority of public utility districts and ports that want to invest in broadband, and I support other bills that would provide an improved pathway for public-private partnerships.

Without fiber-optic cables, rural reservations and communities will remain cut off from access to education and economic opportunity everyone else enjoys. I will continue to push for rural broadband access, as all residents deserve to be connected to those around them.

Stay informed this Session

The Legislature has a variety of tools to keep you informed about what is happening during the legislative session.

  1. You can sign up for updates via email and get anything from lists of bills next to be voted on the floor, to committee schedules, to legislative reports, right to your inbox. To sign up, click here. (link)
  2. Watch the action for yourself. Floor debates and votes, press conferences and public hearings in committees can be viewed on www.TVW.org (link).
  3. Want to know more about the budget and state’s finances? Go to www.fiscal.wa.gov.
  4. The main website for the Legislature is www.leg.wa.gov. You can find all bill information, contact information for legislators, state laws and legislative agendas.

Video update

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you here in Olympia. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions and concerns.

Sincerely,

Sen. John McCoy

John.McCoy@leg.wa.gov

Phone: 360-786-7674

To subscribe to Sen. McCoy’s E-Newsletter, click here.

 

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Dear Friends:

We are already one third of the way through the 2015 legislative session, and the pace remains busy here in Olympia. I want to give you a brief update on a few of the important issues I am working on.

Oil transportation: Public safety before oil company profits

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As oil production in the U.S. has increased, so has the need to transport it to refineries. The use of rail to transport crude oil from North Dakota and the Bakken region of Canada to refineries in Washington and elsewhere has quadrupled in less than a decade. Unprecedented amounts of oil are now traveling along Washington’s rail lines, through rural areas, downtowns and along the state’s coastlines. In Snohomish County, the increased rail traffic is also causing congestion for drivers at crossings. I strongly believe the safety and health of our communities are more important than the financial interests of big oil companies.

Just this week, we learned through the press that a train loaded with Bakken crude oil had more than a dozen tank cars leaking oil as it traveled across Washington state last month. This is unacceptable and as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee, I will continue to push for the strongest safety measures to reduce the risk to our vulnerable communities.

Video Update

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I discuss oil transportation safety and why we need stronger safety measures in place in my latest video update. Watch the video here.

Transportation

We had some welcome news this week when Senate transportation leaders announced the framework for a package of investments in transit and transportation infrastructure. This plan is a start, but I also have many concerns. The package includes a provision that takes a step back in addressing climate change, and gets all the funding from gas and sales taxes that fall on working Washington families. As the bill moves through the legislative process we need to resolve these issues. It is crucial that we get a transportation package that helps Washington’s families, environment and economy while not taking funds from the operating budget that could be going to education.

Priority legislation update

Here’s a quick update on a few important pieces of legislation that I am sponsoring this year:

I remain hopeful that these bills will advance and the full Senate will have the opportunity to debate and vote on these measures. I will keep you updated on the progress of these and other important bills I am working on throughout the session.

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Thank you for the privilege of representing you here in Olympia. I welcome your comments and questions anytime.

Sincerely,
Senator John McCoy
John.McCoy@leg.wa.gov
Phone: 360-786-7674

 

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Dear Friends:

We are just finishing up the third week of the 2015 legislative session, and we are hard at work on funding our public schools, crafting a transportation package and fighting for an economy that creates jobs and opportunity. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve you. This is the first of several updates I will be sending you about my work here in Olympia.

Committee assignments

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I will continue to serve as the Democratic leader (called the “ranking member”) on the Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee. This committee plays an important role in ensuring we protect clean air and water in our state. I’m also serving on the Government Operations Committee and the Trade and Economic Development Committee.

Priority legislation

I am sponsoring several important pieces of legislation that would improve the lives of people in our communities and around the state. Here are a few of those proposals I am fighting hard for this year:

  • “Kelsey Smith Act” would allow police to quickly track cell phone signals in case of emergencies like a kidnapping, a missing child or theft. Giving police this capability is a common sense measure that puts public safety first.
  • Senate Bill 5159 would recognize that tribes are in the best position to determine what will work best for the dental needs of their tribal communities. The bill would allow tribes to train, employ, or contract with a dental health aide in practice settings operated by an Indian health program or tribal non-profit organization.
  • Senate Bill 5618 would identify communities in our state that share a disproportionate burden of pollution, causing harm to health and quality of life. The State Department of Ecology would be required to notify residents when it considers certain environmental permit applications in those communities.
  • Senate Bill 5565 would recognize March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day, honoring the pioneer of the national farm workers’ labor rights movement.

I will keep you updated on the progress of these and other important bills I am working on throughout the session.

Video Update

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I shot my first video update of the session this week. In the update, I discuss my top legislative priorities for the 2015 session. Take a look!

Meeting my European counterparts

Earlier this month I travelled to London to meet with my United Kingdom counterparts to share our knowledge on energy and climate change policy and the challenges of addressing environmental issues while maintaining competitiveness. As we face natural and man-made threats to our environment, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with policy makers across the globe facing the same challenges.

Thank you for the privilege of representing you here in Olympia. I welcome your comments and questions anytime.

Sincerely,

Senator John McCoy
John.McCoy@leg.wa.gov
Phone: 360-786-7674

 

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Dear friends,

As the 2014 legislative session nears its midpoint, I want to take this chance to report on our progress in the last few weeks of the session and look ahead to issues we will be facing in the coming days.

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DREAM Act is a reality

I’m happy to report the Senate finally passed the Washington DREAM Act last week. The bill will authorize college financial aid for students illegally brought to the United States as children. People have worked hard and waited a long time for this legislation, which ensures children have an equal opportunity to compete for the high demand jobs here in Washington State. I’m extremely pleased that I had the chance to vote for a measure that will allow hard-working students the same access to financial aid that their peers have always had.

Veteran tuition assistance

The passage of the DREAM Act wasn’t the only piece of good news for higher education access in our state last week. The Senate also approved Senate Bill 5318, which will remove the in-state tuition waiting period for veterans. This will allow the men and women who served our country to make a speedy transition to successful and productive civilian careers. Nothing can repay the debt we owe for the sacrifices they have made for us, but this bill can make a big difference.

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Oil train safety concerns

As the boom continues in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, we are seeing more oil trains passing through our communities here in the Washington. These trains travel through our cities and towns on their way to export terminals and refineries, but we know little more than that. What type of oil they are hauling? How much? How often? We are now seeking answers to these important questions so we can prevent the kind of tragedies like the derailment in Quebec last year that killed 42 people. We don’t want an accident to happen in our backyard, so I am supporting Senate Bill 6262. The measure will ensure that communities are fully informed about any risks posed to their safety by the transportation of oil in our state.

Pension “reform” is not necessary

One of my Republican colleagues has recently introduced legislation that would attempt to roll back benefits on the middle class. Senate Bills 5851 and 5856 would bring unwarranted changes to our state’s fiscally sound pension system. I oppose both of these bills because our police, firefighters, schoolteachers and other public servants deserve our support, not a steady erosion of their compensation and benefits.

For more information on 2014 legislative session, please watch my latest video report. If you have questions or comments at any time, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Sen. John McCoy
360-786-7674
John.McCoy@leg.wa.gov