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Monthly Archives: April 2018

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    State should pay to mail in ballots, says pair of King County senators

State should pay to mail in ballots, says pair of King County senators

April 27th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – With Washington voters having cast their ballots through the mail since 2011, Sens. Joe Fain and Mark Mullet said today that the state should pay for postage to increase voter participation and reduce any confusion or barriers to participating in elections.

The two lawmakers from King County drafted legislation this month that they intend to file ahead of the 2019 legislative session.

“Voting is a critically important right and our state has an interest in removing barriers that keep people from exercising that right,” said Fain, R-Auburn, who has worked on election reform and proposals to expand voter access while a member of the state Senate. “Whether it is the cost or fact that many don’t keep stamps at home in an increasingly paperless society, this is one way to simplify the process and encourage people to participate in our self-government.”

While many states offer some sort of mail-in voting, Washington is one of only three to use all mail-in voting, in which elections are conducted entirely by mail. However, Washington voters are responsible for affixing postage to the ballot before sending it to their county election office.

“Seeing the increased voter participation in Maple Valley as part of a King County pilot project has convinced me that we need this to be a statewide effort, hence my support of this legislation,” Mullet, D-Issaquah, said.

King County, which has conducted elections by mail since 2009, before the practice was adopted statewide, has recently been exploring and testing the use of pre-paid postage in local special elections.

“While both a well-intentioned and effective way to boost turnout, if more affluent cities or counties are the only jurisdictions to provide postage-free ballots, lower-income voters in other parts of the state could be disenfranchised,” Fain said. “We shouldn’t try to restrict those efforts. Instead we should make them unnecessary by expanding access for all voters.”

E News – 2018 Legislative Update

April 6th, 2018|

Dear friends and neighbors,

In my last newsletter, I shared information about the operating, construction and transportation budgets that we passed this legislative session.

This week, I wanted to give you a final update you on the bills I sponsored that were signed into law.

• Property tax relief: Senate Bill 6641 cut property taxes by $391 million, giving homeowners a break on their 2019 tax bill to offset the large increase in this year’s taxes passed in 2017 to fund K-12 education.

• Ban on credit freeze fees: Senate Bill 6018 eliminates credit bureaus’ fees to freeze your credit reports to protect your personal info.

• Allow GET holders to share in investment returns: Senate Bill 6087 lets participants in Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program directly share in recent investment gains, giving them a larger return on investment in the program.

• College credit for high school students: Senate Bill 5917 requires colleges and universities to develop a policy to give college credit to high school students who pass International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International exams.

• Supporting paraeducators and training requirements: Senate Bill 6388.

• Improving how we regulate our financial service sector: Senate Bill 6024.

• Letting local housing authorities continue to invest in affordable housing: Senate Bill 6371.

• Creating an easier system for the State Treasurer to replace lost checks: Senate Bill 6311.

We also passed the House version of my bill to save Maple Valley money by making sure the state continues to pay to maintain S.R. 169 and S.R. 516 (House Bill 2948). Altogether, we accomplished a lot during this year’s short, 60-day session. In addition to passing my nine bills above, the Legislature made it easier for people to register to vote, fully funded K-12 educators’ salaries, made college more affordable and invested heavily in our mental health system.

I’m proud to have played a lead role in addressing some of the most complex, difficult and important public issues facing our state. I look forward to continuing to fight for our communities throughout this year and in the next legislative session, and I welcome your thoughts on how we can best do that.

All my best,