(360) 786-7600|Guy.Palumbo@leg.wa.gov

Sen. Palumbo Newsroom

E News- Committee days & K-12 funding update

Dear friends and neighbors,

Last week was what they call in Olympia “committee days” — the time of year when the Senate gets together to plan for the upcoming legislative session. This year’s committee days went a little differently than last year’s because Democrats have reclaimed the majority of the Senate, which means we get to set the agenda and assign committees for next session. We successfully secured a one-seat majority this election cycle after a special election victory in the 45th Legislative District.

With this new majority, I have new responsibilities. I will serve as vice chair on the Energy, Environment & Technology, Local Government, and Higher Education & Workforce Development committees. I will also serve as a member of the Ways & Means committee which handles the state’s operating and capital budget.

K-12 Funding Update

Last session we passed a historic $7.3 billion K-12 funding package in response to the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling that the state was not meeting its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education.

Last week, the court announced that while we have made significant progress to remedy the McCleary ruling, the Legislature is not out of the woods yet. The main component for the court’s decision to retain jurisdiction of the case is that they found that the state remains out of full compliance because updated basic education salaries will not be implemented by Sept. 1, 2018.

It is also clear that, as passed, the McCleary legislation is causing some serious difficulties on the ground in our school districts. I am committed to working with those on the ground to make the policy and funding changes necessary to provide a world-class education for our children. A top priority for me is to also lower the new property tax levied to pay for schools. I voted against the property tax because our district gets absolutely hammered under this plan. I would like to find a more responsible and progressive tax plan that does not hurt working families and those on fixed incomes.

Stay Tuned

Thanks for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. Remember, I am able to do my best work when I hear from you and know your priorities. As we head into the 2018 session, please do not hesitate to contact me to share your concerns for our community and the state.

Have a pleasant Thanksgiving, everybody! This year, I am truly grateful for the opportunity you gave me to represent you in the Legislature. It’s an honor and privilege to serve you.

Sincerely,

November 21st, 2017|E-News|
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    Palumbo to vice chair three Senate committees in new Democratic majority

Palumbo to vice chair three Senate committees in new Democratic majority

OLYMPIA – Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, will serve as vice chair on the Energy, Environment & Technology, Local Government, and Higher Education & Workforce Development committees in the Washington State Senate.

Palumbo will also serve as a member on the powerful Ways & Means committee which handles the state’s operating and capital budget.

Securing a one-seat majority after a special election victory in Washington’s 45th Legislative District, Senate Democrats will now set the docket for policy committees and floor action.

“There is a dire need for action on a broad range of issues in the upcoming legislative session,” said Palumbo. “New opportunities with a new majority will help us show Washington what effective governance looks like once more. I am thankful for the opportunity to work closely with my colleagues as we move Washington forward.”

On these varied committees, Palumbo will aid the Senate Democratic Caucus in setting priorities for the 2018 session and intermittently serve as acting chair.

 

November 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- 2017 session comes to an end

Dear friends and neighbors,

During the campaign, I promised to fight every day to ensure the 1st Legislative District got its fair share of infrastructure investments. Our district did very well in the supplemental transportation budget that passed the Legislature this year. We also did well in the capital budget that passed the House by a 92-1 vote but fell short of passing in the Senate.

Unfortunately, the capital budget was used as leverage by the Senate’s Republican majority to address the Supreme Court’s Hirst decision on contentious water rights. Democrats in the House offered numerous alternative solutions that were ultimately rejected. When it was clear there wasn’t time to come up with a permanent solution to this very difficult policy problem, House Democrats offered a two-year suspension of the court ruling. This would have provided relief to rural homeowners waiting for permits, while allowing the Legislature to take the time to come to a thoughtful compromise. That offer was also rejected by Senate Republicans.

If we can collectively find a path to overcome this impasse on Hirst in the months to come, the capital budget will pass with a large bipartisan vote. It is a budget our state needs badly.

NO CAP BUDGET HURTS THE 1st

The $4 billion capital budget would create more than 19,000 construction jobs, invest more than $1 billion in public school construction to lower class sizes, and pump $800 million into our public universities and colleges. Additionally, the capital budget would provide millions of dollars in investments to support our elderly, add new mental health beds, protect our natural environment and get homeless kids off the streets.

Your legislative delegation secured the following investments in the capital budget for the 1st District:

  • $29.5 million for a new parking structure at Cascadia College.
  • $15.3 million for new construction at Juanita High School.
  • $4.4 million for improvements at Mountlake Terrace Elementary School.
  • $3 million for UW Bothell for predesign for a new STEM sciences building.
  • $1.5 million for the Willows Road Regional Trail connection in Kirkland.
  • $1 million for the preservation and conservation of land formerly occupied by the Wayne Golf Course in Bothell.
  • $1 million to extend the Centennial Trail in south Snohomish County in Maltby.
  • $1 million for the North Creek Regional Trail.
  • $250,000 to improve drainage at the Cedar Grove Park Athletic Field.
  • $115,000 to update ADA ramps in Brier.

Although I am not an expert on water rights, I have spent the last two weeks doing shuttle diplomacy between the parties and interest groups in the hope of finding a compromise. I am hopeful that we can continue to negotiate during the interim and find a deal on both the Hirst conundrum and on the capital budget.

Your partner service,

August 1st, 2017|E-News|
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    Palumbo: Solar incentives bill will support thousands of jobs, promote renewable energy

Palumbo: Solar incentives bill will support thousands of jobs, promote renewable energy

OLYMPIA – With the state’s solar incentive program set to sunset soon, the Washington State Legislature extended the program as a part of the overall budget agreement that was reached at the end of June.

Senate Bill 5939 provides clear incentives and rules to install renewable energy systems on homes, businesses and in communities.

“This bill will support thousands of jobs and promote renewable energy throughout the state,” said Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby and co-sponsor of SB 5939. “I fought hard all session long for this bill and I am proud we got it over the finish line in a bipartisan manner.”

Prior to this legislation, several utilities in the current program had reached their cap on incentive payments, resulting in reductions to existing customers and barring new customers from entering the program. Under SB 5939, the utility caps are increased so that existing customers will receive full payments and new customers will be able to join the program.

“This bill kills two birds with one stone,” said Palumbo. “Not only does it benefit our natural environment by promoting renewable energy, it also supports an entire industry of small businesses that specialize in solar energy.”

Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB 5939 into law on July 7.

 

July 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- Budget agreement reached, work left to be done

Dear friends and neighbors,

I am going to apologize in advance for what is going to be a long update on the legislative session.

While most of the state had gone to bed on Friday night June 30th, the Legislature finally passed an operating budget, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. Had we failed to get our job done, state parks would have closed and services that many of our most vulnerable populations depend on would have been halted.

This was my first time participating in the budget process and it convinced me that we need to reform the system. We as a Legislature must do better. We cannot continue to play a high-stakes game of chicken by running up against a government shutdown just to get our work done. Not only did we wait until the last second to pass a budget, we did so with no public input. Not to mention, most legislators, myself included, were given only a few hours to review the budget.

That is unacceptable and it needs to change.

As we reflect on last week’s celebration of the birth of our democracy, we need to remember that our founding fathers wanted a process robust with open debate and public scrutiny.

To that end, I have already introduced a new bill that requires 72 hours before bills are brought to the floor for a final vote. This will provide adequate time for the public to review legislation and provide feedback to their representatives before a bill becomes a law.

We also passed a K-12 funding bill that makes historic investments in our public education system. This legislation is in response to the State Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling that Washington was not meeting its constitutional obligation to fully fund our schools.

I voted against both the K-12 funding bill and the operating budget. I will share my reasons below.

K-12 FUNDING

The landmark K-12 funding and policy package we passed late last Friday invests $7.3 billion into our public education system. It also funds important programs aimed at closing the opportunity gap, increases teacher compensation so we can recruit and retain the best and brightest to teach our children, and maintains local control.

I voted no because of the secretive process and because the plan is funded by a statewide property tax that is unsustainable in the long run and unfairly hurts working households and folks on fixed incomes – especially in the 1st Legislative District.

The process was maddening. Legislators and the public were not given accurate data on how the taxes and policy would affect our district until the morning of the vote. This left me little to no time to get feedback from teachers, parents, superintendents and other education advocates in my district. A bill of this magnitude requires more scrutiny and reflection in order for us to get it right.

I am also greatly concerned about the sustainability of the new property tax. This legislation suspends the 1% property tax limit over the next four years – a limit established by a Tim Eyman sponsored initiative. However, the 1-percent property tax cap goes back into effect in Year 5. As a result, the main funding source for schools will begin to erode and we will be back in the same situation we are today – scrambling for more K-12 dollars. My colleague, Sen. Jamie Pedersen, articulated these concerns very eloquently on the Senate floor. I encourage you to watch his comments by clicking here.

My final reason for voting against the K-12 bill is because it disproportionately hurts homeowners and renters in our district. Make no mistake about it, no other legislative district gets hit as hard as ours does. When you rank the 295 school districts statewide on the property tax increase, the 1st Legislative District has two school districts in the top 5 and three of our districts are in the top 10.

Property tax increase on the average homeowner in the 1st Legislative District.

Of the $7.3 billion investment, $4.1 billion of it is from this Republican property tax swap. It simply asks homeowners and renters in our district to fund tax cuts for districts east of the mountains. I cannot in good conscience place the burden of funding education in our state on the backs of low-income households and seniors on fixed incomes in our district. Affordability is already a major problem in our region and this tax plan will only make things worse. I would have preferred a tax plan that asked polluters to foot the bill rather than the middle class.

My friend and colleague, Sen. Patty Kuderer, summed things up best during the floor debate. I encourage you to watch her remarks by clicking here.

THE BUDGET

Because we have a split legislature, the operating budget that passed was ultimately a compromise. For both parties, there are items in the budget that are good and items that are hard to justify.

I am happy that this budget funds additional slots for the state’s early learning programs, invests in mental health and supports programs that assist our most vulnerable citizens. As the ranking member on the Senate Higher Education committee, I am pleased this budget invests in the State Need Grant that helps more children access higher education.

In the end, though, I voted ‘no’ on this budget.

Once again, I was extremely disappointed in the negotiation process. I was given the 620-page budget to review at 11:00 a.m. on Friday and I had to vote on it at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. There was no public hearing, no public input. I was still scanning the document 10 minutes prior to the vote, trying to figure out how the budget addressed the priorities of my constituents.

I also voted against this budget because it is loaded with accounting gimmicks and it uses almost $2 billion of one-time money for ongoing operating expenses. For example, it sweeps the Public Works Trust Fund – a fund created to help local communities bond important infrastructure projects at low-interest rates.

My friend Sen. Mark Mullet illustrated the sustainability problems with this budget in his floor speech and I encourage you to watch it by clicking here.

The state treasurer has also weighed in on this specific problem:

“Using one-time revenue for an annually recurring expense is concerning. In the coming days there might still be ‘back of the budget’ explanations that will help put this transfer in better context,”- Duane A. Davidson, Washington State Treasurer.

I really wanted to be able to vote for a bipartisan compromise budget. However, the complete lack of transparency, coupled with what I believe to be unconstitutional and unsustainable funding sources, warranted my no vote.

SUPPORT FOR SOLAR ENERGY

At 2 a.m. last Saturday, we finally passed my Senate Bill 5939, a critical solar energy bill that enhances the solar production incentive for renewable energy systems. This bill will support thousands of jobs, local businesses and renewable energy throughout the state. I fought hard all session long for this bill, right up to the last moment. It will go a long way towards improving our environment and helping many small businesses that specialize in solar energy systems.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

After months of tense negotiations, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5975 to establish a new statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. The culmination of more than a decade of work by legislators and advocates, SB 5975 is the most worker-friendly paid family and medical leave program in the nation.

Under this legislation, employees will be able to take off up to 12 weeks for the birth of a child, to take care of a family member who is suffering a serious medical condition, or for a non-work-related illness or injury to that employee.

I was proud to be a part of a sub-group of small business owners in the Senate Democratic Caucus who were able to give input on how paid family medical leave might affect small businesses in the state. Because of our participation, this legislation has many good elements that protect small businesses including a provision that exempts businesses that employ fewer than 50 employees from having to pay the employer share of the premium, but allows them to opt in if they choose.

CAPITAL BUDGET UPDATE

Senate Republicans are refusing to pass a Capital Budget — the budget that funds construction projects, class size reduction and maintains public lands across the state — until there is a repeal of the Hirst water decision.

At 3:30 a.m. last Saturday, House Republicans joined House Democrats and passed the Capital Budget off the House floor by a 92-1 margin. Clearly, House Republicans are just as frustrated as their Democratic counterparts that the Senate Republicans are holding the Capital Budget hostage.

This is completely reckless and places projects in our district at risk of losing important state funding, including $1 million for further preservation of land in Bothell formerly occupied by the Wayne Golf Course.

The current special session is scheduled to end on July 20. I am hopeful Senate Republicans will join us at the bargaining table so we can pass a compromise Hirst fix and Capital Budget before our work in Olympia is done.

KEEP IN TOUCH

Even though we are a citizen legislature and our work is considered part time, I will continue to work diligently during the interim on projects important to the 1st Legislative District. For instance, my efforts on transportation this session are beginning to bear fruit. There is now a work group focused on fixing traffic issues at the north end of I-405. A recent change in the plan includes a new parking garage at the Canyon Park park-and-ride and adding a new park-and-ride near the University of Washington-Bothell. This will help to integrate the new SR 522 and I-405 bus rapid transit lines when they become operational.

I will also convene a group of local CEOs and city officials to work on bringing more biotech and STEM jobs to the Canyon Park business district. Stay tuned.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. My number-one responsibility is to you, the residents of the 1st Legislative District. You sent me here to represent your values and I will never lose sight of that trust and responsibility. Please feel free to contact me anytime. The more I hear from you, the better I can fight for your priorities.

Sincerely,

 

July 12th, 2017|E-News|
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    Palumbo: Public deserves greater transparency in budget process

Palumbo: Public deserves greater transparency in budget process

OLYMPIA — Sen. Guy Palumbo, D- Maltby, issued this statement following the passage of the state’s operating budget and K-12 funding solution:

“As a legislator, I am here to represent the people of my district and ensure their voices and priorities are heard. However, it is extremely difficult to be accountable to my constituents when they are unable to provide feedback on what I am voting on.

“This year’s budget process has been a nightmare. With the threat of a government shutdown mere hours away, we produced and passed an operating budget without any public input. Not to mention, most legislators, myself included, were given only a few hours to review the budget – a document that is 620 pages long. This is unacceptable, especially when we are implementing monumental K-12 education reform that will have an impact for generations to come.

“Today I introduced legislation that requires all bills to be available 72 hours before they are brought to the floor for a final vote. This will provide adequate time for the public to review legislation and provide feedback to their representatives before a bill becomes a law.

“Next session and beyond, I will continue to work on increasing accountability and transparency in our state government. It’s the democratic thing to do and my constituents and people across the state deserve to be a part of the process, not kept in the dark.”

 

June 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Palumbo applauds Bothell City Council, warns state funding for Wayne preservation at risk

Palumbo applauds Bothell City Council, warns state funding for Wayne preservation at risk

OLYMPIA — Sen. Guy Palumbo, D- Maltby, issued this statement following the decision by the Bothell City Council to purchase land formerly occupied by the Wayne Golf Course in Bothell to transform it into a regional park.

“I want to thank the Bothell City Council for their decision to purchase the Wayne Sammamish Regional Park. Bothell is one of the fastest growing regions in the state. It is critical that we continue to fund projects that protect the natural environment and open spaces in our district that will improve our quality of life even as we deal with rapid population growth.

“During this legislative session, I was able to secure an additional $1 million in the Senate capital budget to further preserve this land. Unfortunately, gridlock in Olympia has caused capital budget negotiations to stall. Further complicating matters is the very real possibility of a government shutdown beginning on July 1, which would delay funding for the Wayne acquisition and many other important capital projects in our community.

“Coming from the business community, I am shocked with the way negotiations are handled in our current political environment.

“However, I remain committed to securing state funding for Wayne land and other important preservation projects in this year’s capital budget. A project of this importance deserves a collaborative funding effort from all levels of government.”

June 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

E News- Join me for a telephone town hall!

Dear friends and neighbors,

Please join my seatmates and me tonight for a telephone town hall. Under this telephone town hall format, thousands of constituents will receive telephone calls just before 6 p.m. asking if they would like to stay on the line and participate. Participants may ask questions for their lawmakers and hear our answers to other questions as well.

Anyone who does not receive an invitational call can participate by dialing 877-229-8493 and entering ID Code 116308. Alternatively, the telephone town hall can be live-streamed:

http://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=16308

https://vekeo.com/whdc01/

I look forward to fielding your questions and giving you some updates about what is happening down here in Olympia.

SMALL BIZ ’BILL OF RIGHTS’

As a small business owner, I know how difficult it can be to navigate and abide by Washington’s various rules and regulations. That’s why this session I co-sponsored legislation to establish a small business bill of rights. We have a patient bill of rights, an airline passenger bill of rights — it’s long past time that we had a small business bill of rights.

This legislation directs the attorney general to work with state agencies and identify the rights of small businesses that face inspections or audits. The attorney general will then report the findings to the Legislature so lawmakers can find ways to streamline the process by which the state educates small business owners about their rights.

Gov. Inslee signed House Bill 1352, companion legislation to my bill in the Senate, into law earlier this month.

I am looking forward to continuing to work on additional legislation that supports small businesses in upcoming sessions so they can continue to drive our state’s economy.

VIDEO UPDATE

In case you missed it, please check out my latest video update. This segment highlights important transportation and capital construction projects I helped secure funding for in our district. I hope you enjoy it.

KEEP IN TOUCH

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. My number-one responsibility is to you, the residents of the 1st Legislative District. You sent me here to represent your values and I will never lose sight of that trust and responsibility. Please feel free to contact me anytime. The more I hear from you, the better I can fight for your priorities.

Sincerely,

May 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    MEDIA ADVISORY: 1st District legislators to hold telephone town hall

MEDIA ADVISORY: 1st District legislators to hold telephone town hall

Who: State Senator Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, together with State Representative Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, and State Representative Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland

What: Telephone town hall meeting

When: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Where: Calls will go out to thousands of homes throughout the 1st Legislative District. Residents will be able to listen live and ask the legislators questions. Those who do not receive a call can participate by dialing 877-229-8493 and entering ID Code 116308. Alternatively, the telephone town hall can be live-streamed:

http://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=16308

https://vekeo.com/whdc01/

Why: Sen. Palumbo and Reps. Stanford and Kloba will give a brief update about the status of the 2017 legislative session, currently in the second special session. The majority of the live town hall discussion will be spent answering questions directly from constituents.

Under the telephone town hall format, thousands of constituents will receive automatically generated telephone calls to their homes in the 1st Legislative District just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 30. Constituents may ask a question by pressing *3 on their phones during the call. Volunteer screeners will take questions, and the legislators will answer as many questions as they can get through during the one-hour call. For those whose questions are not addressed during the town hall, there will be the option to leave a message for the legislators.

May 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Palumbo ushers small business bill to the finish line

OLYMPIA – Legislation to establish a small business bill of rights was signed into law Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

House Bill 1352 directs the attorney general to work with state agencies and identify the rights of small businesses that face inspections or audits. The attorney general will then report his findings to the Legislature so lawmakers can find ways to streamline the process by which the state educates small business owners about their rights.

“As a small business owner, I know how difficult it can be to navigate and abide by Washington’s various rules and regulations,” said Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, co-sponsor of the companion legislation to HB 1352 in the Senate. “We have a patient bill of rights, an airline passenger bill of rights – it’s long past time that we had a small business bill of rights.”

Small businesses are the backbone of Washington’s economy, noted Palumbo. He added that small businesses in Washington employ nearly 1.2 million people and make up 98 percent of all employers in the state. Additionally, there are more than 400,000 small businesses in Washington without employees.

“Small businesses don’t have high-priced legal teams at their disposal like the big corporations do,” said Palumbo. “I know from personal experience how costly and burdensome it can be when you are faced with an enforcement action by the state.”

Palumbo also said that he plans to continue to work on additional legislation that supports small businesses in upcoming sessions so they can continue to drive our state’s economy.

“Supporting small businesses shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” said Palumbo. “I’m proud that this bill garnered bipartisan support and I want to thank Sen. Lynda Wilson and Rep. Andrew Barkis for working across the aisle with me to get this done.”

May 10th, 2017|E-News|