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December 12, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is hard to believe 2018 is just around the corner. With a new year comes a new legislative session, beginning January 8, and many changes in Olympia.

Following a special election in the 45th Legislative District last month, Democrats have retaken the majority in the state Senate. I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to chair the Senate budget committee, Ways & Means. In this new role I will be the Senate’s chief budget writer and negotiator, set the committee’s agenda and lead my colleagues in determining what bills will move through the committee to be considered for a vote of the Senate.

The decisions made at the Capitol have very real impacts on people in Kitsap County and throughout the state, particularly with regards to how tax dollars are spent. My aim as chair is to make sure schools have the flexibility and funding they need, taxes are fair, businesses have the space to grow, and workers across this state can thrive. It is also critical we get our work done on time and in a transparent way.

As many of you know, I have been a chief negotiator on education policy and funding, and was one of two lead Democrats on the Senate Ways & Means Committee in 2017. In addition to chairing Ways & Means, I will also serve as vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

I am looking forward to these new opportunities and continuing to work with all my colleagues to ensure the best outcomes for the people in our state. Thank you for your continued support and input. I hope you and your family have a safe and joyful holiday season.



Capitol in the snow

Session to start Jan. 8: How can you get involved?

Many people ask how they can be more involved in the legislative process in Olympia. While Democrats now control both chambers and the governor’s office, the majorities are very slim on both sides. In reality we are still operating as a divided government, so hard work and practical compromise must be at the center of everything we do.

Your involvement is critical to operations in state government. Here are five ways to stay informed and involved this legislative session and beyond:

1.     Contact your lawmakers: The 23rd Legislative District lawmakers are myself, Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, and Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island. If you live outside the 23rd district, you can find your district and lawmakers by clicking here.

2.     Comment on a bill: The Legislature has implemented a system designed to allow the public to send comments about bills to their legislators. Click here for a step-by-step way to ensure your voice is heard on legislation being proposed in the 2018 session.

3.     Visit the Legislature: You can meet with lawmakers, watch public hearings or testify on bills important to you, participate in lobby days and campus events, and take tours of the Capitol. For complete information on visiting the Legislature, click here.

4.     Watch committee hearings and important events at home: TVW is the Washington state version of C-SPAN. It televises committee hearings and important events live, including press conferences, and tapes a number of other events and programs regarding state politics and proceedings. You can find the local TV station or stream online here.

5.     Get updates to your inbox: There are a number of updates you can sign up for to stay informed about what is going on in Olympia:

  • Bill, committee and schedule updates here.
  • Sign up for e-newsletters like this one for Senate Democrats by going to their websites here and Senate Republicans here.
  • Daily roundup of relevant news articles here.

I also recorded a video earlier this year about ways to get involved in the process in Olympia. Click here to watch.


Real ID

My office has received a number of questions regarding Real ID and the upcoming changes to identification requirements necessary to travel on domestic flights and access certain federal facilities.

For domestic flights, standard

state licenses are acceptable until October 2020.

After October 2020, federal requirements will be enforced regarding what kinds of state-issued identification are acceptable.

The new identification requirements are part of the REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005. Currently, Washington state residents can obtain a standard driver’s license or ID, or an enhanced driver’s license or ID. Proof of identity and residence is required to obtain a standard card, while an individual must also show proof of U.S. citizenship to obtain an enhanced card.

This timeline is part of the agreement state and federal officials have reached after several years of discussion.

It is important to note that Washingtonians are not required to get an enhanced driver’s license or ID card, and I encourage you to consider your options and look at other forms of federally acceptable ID you may already have.

Other forms of federally acceptable ID are:

  • U.S. passport or passport card
  • Military ID
  • Green card
  • Homeland Security-issued trusted traveler card
  • Foreign government issued passport
  • Border crossing card
  • Airline or airport ID issued under a TSA-approved security plan
  • Federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID
  • Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 Personal Identity Verification card

Click here for more information.

News you can useFerry

Winter Sailing Schedule

The sailing schedule will change on Seattle/Bremerton and Seattle/Bainbridge Island routes to the Winter 2018 schedule starting Jan. 7, 2018. Some Bremerton sailings depart 5-15 minutes earlier while some Bainbridge sailings depart 5-15 minutes later. You can prepare in advance by checking the winter 2018 schedule online. The sailing schedule changes will remain in effect until the Colman Dock Project is complete in 2023. For more information, please visit the project website.

Click here for the Colman Dock Project website.

Click here for the winter 2018 sailing schedule.

Enroll by Dec 15 2017

Click here to enroll, or for more information.

Veteran designation on WA license