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  • Permalink Gallery

    Rolfes: Governor’s budget makes smart, targeted investments

Rolfes: Governor’s budget makes smart, targeted investments

December 14th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, incoming chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, released the following statement after the release of the governor’s 2018 operating supplemental budget proposal.

“I appreciate the work the governor has done to craft a prudent supplemental budget proposal that offers a blueprint to complete our work in 60 days.

“This budget takes the final step in our duty to amply fund basic education and makes smart, targeted investments in programs that lift Washingtonians up. I appreciate the governor’s focus on expanding treatment for mental health patients and his commitment to protecting affordable health care for all residents.

“This is a realistic approach that will guide the Legislature as we work to put people first with a balanced budget delivered on time.”

Legislative Update: Big changes ahead in Olympia

December 12th, 2017|

2017 Rolfes banner

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.

Regards,

Signature

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.

Airplane

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

Rolfes to chair Senate budget committee

November 13th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, was chosen to chair the crucial Senate budget committee, Ways & Means, on Monday. This appointment follows the 2017 election results, which shifted control of the state Senate from Republicans to Democrats.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee,” Rolfes said. “The decisions we make in Olympia have very real impacts on the people of this state, particularly with regards to how their tax dollars are spent. As chair of Ways & Means, I will work every day to ensure the best interests of Washingtonians are at the heart of everything we do.”

In her new role, Rolfes will be the Senate’s chief budget writer and negotiator, set the committee’s agenda and lead her colleagues in determining what bills will move through the committee to be considered for a vote of the Senate.

Rolfes has served in leadership roles within the Senate Democratic caucus in recent years. She was a chief negotiator on education policy and funding during the critical 2017 legislative session and has served as one of two lead Democrats on the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Rolfes will also serve as vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

“Following some sweeping tax policy changes in the last legislative session, my aim 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,” Rolfes added. “It is also critical we get our work done on time and in a transparent way.”

  • Permalink Gallery

    Legislative Update: Ballot Advisory Votes, Paid Family Leave and more

Legislative Update: Ballot Advisory Votes, Paid Family Leave and more

October 17th, 2017|

2017 Rolfes banner

October 17, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The election is upon us, and ballots for local elected offices and levies will be delivered to your homes this week. There are many talented and hardworking folks competing to help run and guide our local governments and schools, and I’m personally grateful for all who have stepped forward. Ballots need to be post-marked or dropped in a box by 8:00 p.m. on Tues. Nov. 7. For all voting drop-boxes in Kitsap County, please click here.

This fall I’ve been working with school leaders and visiting classrooms to continue outreach on the education funding and policy reforms that the Legislature passed in June. I’ve presented legislative updates to the Bainbridge Island and Kingston Rotary clubs, and the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, and have been working with constituents and community groups from around the region on policy proposals in preparation for the upcoming legislative session.

In this newsletter I highlight a few things that I thought might be of general interest. Thank you for taking the time to read this update, and, as always, stay in touch.

Regards,

Signature

Vote flag

On Your Ballot: Advisory Votes

There are three Advisory Votes on the ballot this year, two of which are related to the school funding lawsuit that the Legislature has been grappling with for the past five years. While legislators are not permitted to offer advice on ballot issues, we are allowed to answer factual questions, so let me take this moment to clarify a few items. The links provided can give you more information about each bill.

  • House Bill 1597 is related to a fee collected on commercial fishermen to help cover the costs of managing the fisheries.
  • House Bill 2242 is the McCleary plan that the Legislature submitted to the State Supreme Court. It includes the reforms and spending plan for education funding improvements over the next four years. It is on the ballot because it also includes a state property tax increase to pay for the bulk of the funding improvements combined with a change in levy policy that will lower levies in many school districts.
  • House Bill 2163 references three taxes that the Legislature agreed to raise to help pay for school improvements – the B&O tax refers to taxes on oil refineries, and the sales tax refers to the collection of sales tax on bottled water and on out-of-state internet sellers.

The format for these advisory votes in the voter’s pamphlet is laid out in statute by an initiative passed years ago. The advisory votes are just that, advisory – they do not impact the outcome of the legislative action. One important outcome is that voters become better informed about tax policy coming out of Olympia, and can refer to the list of final votes to see how their legislators voted.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

No one should fear losing their job because they need to take care of a newborn, a sick child or an aging parent – and yet this happens every day in our state. This will soon be a thing of the past, however, as the Legislature recently passed a groundbreaking paid family and medical leave insurance program (PFML). Ten years in the making, this bipartisan bill was one of the most significant but least known policies to pass in the 2017 legislative session.

The insurance program will be paid in part by the employer and in part by the employee and covers everyone working in our state. Small businesses (those with less than 50 employees) are exempt from paying the employer share of the premium, although they can opt-in.

When the bill went through committee, we heard a number of stories that highlighted the devastating consequences of having no universal paid family leave in our state. One of those stories was told by a young mom who had to go back to work just three days after giving birth to a premature child who remained in intensive care. Thanks to the hard work of legislators on both sides of the aisle and the courage of Washingtonians to share their stories of struggle, workers across our state can take paid time off when their family most needs them.

For more information, please click here.

PFML employer and employee share

Opioid crisis in Kitsap

Opioid crisis and New State Rules

To combat the growing opioid crisis in our state, the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) is implementing new rules regarding opiate prescriptions. As of Oct. 1, 2017, new opiate prescriptions for individuals age 20 or younger will be for no more than a three-day supply, while prescriptions for adults 21 and older will be prescribed for no more than seven days. This policy will not affect individuals being treated for cancer, or palliative or end of life care. Exceptions are also provided for chronic pain treatment. The goal of this policy is to provide broad discretion to the provider while also tightening standards to reduce abuse.

If you have been prescribed opioid medication for long-term use, this policy probably won’t affect you, but you should talk with your doctor about your specific situation. HCA is ensuring doctors are able to make exceptions when they think it is necessary for a patient’s care.

For more on local efforts to combat the opioid crisis, please click here.

WA Business Alliance CTE Award

Career and Technical Education

I was honored to receive three awards this summer for my work to increase state support for career and technical education (CTE) in public schools. I was named 2017 Legislator of the Year by the Washington Business Alliance, the Washington Association of Career & Technical Administrators and the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education (WA-ACTE).

Ridgetop Aviation Classroom

Kitsap schools have some of the best CTE programs in the state, helping students in both middle and high school stay engaged in learning and gain skills for their future. I had the pleasure of getting a tour of the aviation CTE class at Ridgetop Middle School in Silverdale before receiving the award from the Washington Business Alliance (pictured). This program is one of the state’s most unique middle school CTE programs, where students learn about the science of aviation and flight as well as aviation manufacturing. We watched a classroom full of young teens working with flight simulation software – it was wonderful!

News you can use305 Information nightsKingston Transportation Forum

Washington State Flag

Serve Your State on a Board or Commission

Gov. Jay Inslee is seeking skilled and experienced individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds to participate in state boards and commissions. Below is a list of current opportunities that are vacant or past due and ready for immediate appointment, as well as positions with a term set to end in the next three months. The boards and commissions are grouped by issue area:

  • Permalink Gallery

    Legislative Update: Billions more for schools in 2017 budget

Legislative Update: Billions more for schools in 2017 budget

August 9th, 2017|

2017 Rolfes banner

Billions more for schools in 2017 budget

Capitol in summer

Not long before midnight on June 30, a state operating budget was signed into law that invests $7.3 billion in new state funding for schools over four years. This budget makes significant progress in fully funding schools and signifies the biggest education investment in our state in a generation. This funding continues to close the opportunity gaps among students, provides more equitable pay for teachers, and adds more funding for special education, career and technical education and many other programs that have been chronically underfunded.

Of course, no budget is perfect, and the public school funding solution relies primarily on an increase in the state property tax, which was done at Republican insistence. Because school levy rates were lowered by the Legislature in many districts to improve equity across the state, impacts on taxpayers will vary.

There are undoubtedly winners and losers on the tax side, but on the education side the students and educators of this state will see increased funding to support and improve their schools.

Budget Highlights

Mental Health:

  • $60 million for improved care and necessary reforms at state psychiatric hospitals.
  • $26.7 million for community mental health investments including crisis centers, community long-term inpatient beds, and clubhouses.
  • $17 million to increase community placement beds to divert and discharge patients from the state psychiatric hospitals.
Kids

New Department of Children, Youth & Families:

  • To improve service, care, coordination and management of the state’s pre-school, child-care, and child safety and welfare programs, the Legislature provided funds for the governor’s proposal to consolidate the Children’s Administration and the Department of Early Learning into a new agency.

Public Safety:

  • $3.2 million to the Department of Corrections for technology aimed at better time and safety management.
  • $2.5 million to implement a new law that makes a fourth DUI a felony.

Homelessness:

  • $8.9 million on housing and homeless services, including housing and services for homeless youth and individuals with a history of mental illness.
Doctor with patient

Public Health:

  • $739.6 million over two years for a partnership with the federal government on Medicaid reforms.
  • $40.9 million to eradicate Hepatitis C in high-risk populations.
  • $15 million in federal and local funding authority for HIV prevention and support.
  • $12 million to implement strategies that control the spread of communicable disease, chronic disease, and other health threats.
  • $3 million for lead testing in school water.
UW

Higher Education:

  • $65 million over the next two years to continue and expand the state’s financial assistance and scholarship programs.
  • $15 million for expansion of the medical education programs at Washington State University and the University of Washington.
Construction

Capital Budget

Despite having near unanimous support in the House, Senate Republicans refused to give the critical capital budget a vote – one of the few times in state history the Legislature has adjourned without a new construction budget. The capital budget funds a variety of building and maintenance projects throughout the state, many of which are now in jeopardy. I’ve heard from folks around the region concerned about school construction delays and increased costs, loss of federal matching funds, and potential shut-down of the clean-up of contaminated properties.

The delay continues this week, with Senate Republicans holding the capital budget hostage to try and force passage of their solution to an unrelated measure dealing with a Supreme Court water rights ruling, known as the Hirst decision. While Hirst is important to address, linking this issue to the capital budget was irresponsible. Both the Governor and legislative Democrats have offered compromise options, but unfortunately all have been rejected by the Senate Republican majority. I am hopeful that good-faith negotiations will continue.

Many good things came out of the 2017 session, but adjourning without the capital budget is a major disappointment. Click here to read a helpful article about the Hirst dispute. To read more about local impacts of having no capital budget, click here.

Traveling this summer?

Know before you go! With nearly 200 specialized real-time travel alerts from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), you can get alerts about the ferries, roads, mountain passes, Hood Canal bridge and much more right to your phone or email.

UPDATED Know Before You Go Kitsap

Kitsap Hazardous Waste event

Alaska Way Viaduct

Alaska Way Viaduct Replacement

Do you want to know more about the Alaska Way Viaduct Replacement project, or do you have something to say about it? Then check out the project’s online open house to see what is ahead and provide your comments on the work to come. WSDOT will also host an in-person open house on Aug. 10.

In-person open house details

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10

Where: Waterfront Space, 1400 Western Ave., Seattle, WA 98101

Contact Me

Rolfes contact

  • Permalink Gallery

    Landmark education bill adds $7.3 billion to Washington schools

Landmark education bill adds $7.3 billion to Washington schools

June 30th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – In the final hours before a state government shutdown, the Legislature passed a landmark bill that adds billions of dollars to public schools in Washington state over the next four years. Passage of this bill addresses the chronic underfunding of schools called out in the state Supreme Court’s McCleary case.

“This budget makes the biggest investment in education in a generation and reflects the core values that Democrats have advocated for throughout this process,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, one of the education negotiators who also serves as a negotiator on the state operating budget. “It ensures more equity between low- and high-income districts and students and provides additional funds for students with individual needs. Of course no budget is perfect, and the reliance primarily on property taxes for funding was not what Democrats wanted but unfortunately was all the Republicans would consider. In the end, kids and educators will see $7.3 billion more dollars going into their schools over the next four years, and that is an enormous win for the students of our state.”

House Bill 2242 takes numerous steps toward closing the opportunity gap including increasing salaries and salary equity for educators, providing additional funding for special education and for low-income districts. The bill also increases funds for career and technical education and ensures locals may retain control of their levies while also adding common sense transparency and accountability measures to how levies are spent.

“This has been a long process but in the end we were able to come together in a bipartisan way and produce a K-12 funding solution that will meet our Constitutional obligation and help the 1.1 million schoolchildren in our state to achieve their fullest potential,” said Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “Education in general, and this plan in particular, goes well beyond just helping individual children. When we get education policy and funding right, we boost our economy, build community, and strengthen our democracy by producing well rounded, intelligent citizens.”

The bill passed with bipartisan support out of both chambers of the Legislature (67-26 out of the House of Representatives, and 32-17 out of the Senate). The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

To view a summary of impacts of the bill, please click here.

To review estimated school district tax impacts of the bill, please click here.

Special session update and news you can use

June 7th, 2017|

2017 Rolfes banner
Capitol in Summer

June 7, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As the first week of June comes to a close, so does the second week of the Legislature’s second special session. June also means my oldest daughter is graduating from high school! Between preparing for and celebrating this milestone, I have been commuting to Olympia since April, working to negotiate education funding and help find compromise on the overall budget. Progress is slow, and the Senate Republican majority continues to refuse to sit with the House Democratic majority to work through significant partisan differences on overall state government spending enhancements and reductions.

With a state government shutdown looming at the end of the month, I know that a balanced and bipartisan budget can be agreed upon if the two majorities will come together. In fact, they must come together. I know this is frustrating for citizens of the state, and harmful for those who are already receiving “pink slips” and notice of stop work orders. I will continue to update you as I have more news. As always please stay in touch!

Regards,

Signature

Improving Care for Foster Kids

One of our state’s greatest responsibilities is taking care of foster kids. Coming from some of the toughest situations imaginable, these babies, children and teens rely on the state to work with their families and foster parents to give them the safety and stability they need. I was recently interviewed on what the Legislature is doing to improve the foster care system, which you can read here.

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News You Can Use

Free credit security services for active duty military

The Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) will begin offering free credit file security freezes for eligible members of the United States Armed Forces beginning in the first half of 2018. Under these new guidelines, active duty service members will be able to place, lift and remove a security freeze on their credit files at no charge, regardless of whether they have been the victim of identity theft or not. To find out more, please click here.

Volunteers needed for Sheriff’s Office Citizens On Patrol

Applications are now open for volunteers dedicated to helping others who want to support the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office to improve the quality of life for our community. The Citizens On Patrol (COP) program offers the opportunity to interact with the community, enforce handicap parking regulations, help with boat inspections, conduct security/vacation checks on homes and be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.

For information on this and other volunteer opportunities, or to apply to the COP program, click here or contact Kitsap County Volunteer Services at (360) 337-4650, rpirtle@co.kitsap.wa.us.

Port Gamble Clean-Up

Port Gamble Bay Clean-Up

In 2013 I helped secure funding to rehabilitate Port Gamble Bay. With that funding the state Department of Ecology was able to purchase land for conservation and recreation and complete restoration and pollution control projects in the bay. They also studied contamination in fish and shellfish in the bay.

The projects completed with this funding have improved and protected habitat in and around Port Gamble Bay, created jobs in the area, and improved recreational opportunities.

Ecology is posting a three-part informational series on their website about the clean-up. For part-one click here and for part-two click here. (Stay tuned for part-three!)

You can also keep up with this and other work by the Department of Ecology on their Facebook page here.

Connor Huey

Senate Page from the 23rd District

I have had the pleasure of hosting a number of pages throughout session, including Connor Huey, an 8th grader at Central Kitsap Middle School (pictured here). The Senate Page Program is a wonderful opportunity for students between the ages of 14-17 to come to Olympia and participate in the legislative process. Pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers, and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting.

For more information, please click here.

Contact Me

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  • Permalink Gallery

    Legislative Update: Key bills win approval before the gavel falls

Legislative Update: Key bills win approval before the gavel falls

April 28th, 2017|

2017 Rolfes banner
A Note from Christine

April 24, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Legislature started a 30-day special session today in order to negotiate a budget and fully fund education. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans are still refusing to come to the table and negotiate.

While this is extremely frustrating, progress was made on a number of issues this session through bipartisan work and cooperation. I’d like to share with you five important bills that passed in the final days of the regular 2017 session. These new laws will have a positive impact on people in our community and throughout Washington, and I am glad they were able to get to the Governor’s desk before we adjourned the regular session.

I will continue to update you on the budget as special session continues and, as always, please stay in touch.

Regards,

Signature

Police Car

Making a 4th DUI a felony

Senate Bill 5037 will make a fourth conviction of driving under the influence (DUI) within 10 years a felony. Currently, an intoxicated driver doesn’t face a felony charge until a fifth DUI in a 10-year period. This would impact an estimated 190 DUI cases per year, bringing Washington State more in line with DUI laws throughout the nation.

Reporting for failed background check applications

House Bill 1501 will better protect victims and survivors of domestic violence from their abusers. Currently, if you fail a firearms background check in Washington or lie on the application form, there is no follow-up by law enforcement. This bill changes that by requiring firearms dealers to report denied sales or transfers to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Victims and survivors will also be notified.

Data show guns make domestic violence five times more deadly, and every year in Washington there are more than 3,000 illegal attempts to buy a gun. This bill will empower survivors by giving them the opportunity to proactively keep themselves and their families safe. The bill will also provide police the tools and funding to investigate illegal attempts to buy guns.

The concept behind this bill was suggested to us by gun owners in Kitsap County, and it was prime sponsored by our very own local Representative Drew Hansen. After much review, it passed the Senate unanimously.

Foreclosure

Property owner and tenants’ rights

Senate Bill 5388 establishes a process for the removal of people, often referred to as squatters, who are unlawfully residing on property they do not own. This bill creates a process for property owners or agents to investigate and request removal of people living on their property without permission. It allows both tenants and owners to establish their claim to the property, and a pathway for law enforcement to remove individuals found to be in violation of the law.

A great deal of work was done by banks, law enforcement, local governments and tenant organizations to find a compromise that was fair to everyone.

Support for survivors of rape

About one in three women in Washington experience a sexual assault in their lifetime, according to the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. The vast majority of rapes are underreported and under prosecuted.

House Bill 1109 creates the Washington Sexual Assault Kit Initiative pilot project, which funds the creation of response teams to conduct cold case investigations tied to previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. It also requires the state’s criminal justice training programs to incorporate new training with a victim-centered, trauma informed approach.

This bill is the next step toward providing justice to victims of sexual assault, especially for those whose kit remained untested for many years. Victims deserve more than to have their kit tested, they deserve to have their cases investigated, and this bill will help ensure that happens.

Preventing poaching of fish and shellfish

Senate Bill 5306 is an important little bill I sponsored that will help battle international poaching of the oceans and ensure that fish product listed as sustainably managed comes from legally managed fisheries. Washington has a strong seafood economy but it is harmed by illegally harvested product coming into our markets.

In a recent case, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police confiscated more than $2 million in shellfish, stolen from public and private tidelands in Puget Sound. This poaching is bad for our fragile marine ecosystems, threatens public health, and challenges local harvesters.

This bill updates and improves labeling and record-keeping requirements, including adding the state or country of origin to fish and shellfish sold in Washington. It had a great deal of support, ranging from the Seattle Aquarium to the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.

Rolfes DFW award

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7644

Email: Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Rolfes

Sunrise over Capitol
  • Permalink Gallery

    Internet privacy, transportation budget and Navy Day at the Capitol

Internet privacy, transportation budget and Navy Day at the Capitol

April 14th, 2017|

2017 Rolfes banner
DividerA Note from Christine

April 14, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

The regular 2017 session is set to end on April 23, and the Legislature has passed a number of good bills leading up to the deadline. This includes measures to ensure accommodations are made for pregnant workers in Washington, a bill to reduce distracted driving and a bill to help better identify children with mental health challenges. Women may be interested to know that the final bill passed by the Senate was legislation to allow contraceptives to be dispensed on an annual basis, rather than in restricted three-month increments.

Budget negotiations are not as far along as I would like, but I am encouraged that Republicans have finally begun bipartisan discussions on education funding after many attempts by Democrats to initiate negotiations.

Official negotiations on the entire state budget are the ultimate goal, yet Senate Republicans continue to be recalcitrant about coming to the table. This posturing is likely to send us into a special session, which is not in anyone’s best interests. I will continue to update you as things progress.

Regards,

SignatureDivider

Online Privacy

Protecting Internet Privacy

I am the co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill called the Internet Privacy Act. If passed, this would block internet providers’ ability to collect and sell identifiable, personal information without the customer’s permission. Failure by corporations to comply would be a violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act.

We wrote and submitted this bill after the U.S. Congress voted to suspend Federal Communications Commission rules protecting internet privacy. Legislation like this has since been introduced in over 20 states, and is critical to ensuring personal information is kept private.

The House version of the bill is moving and on track to pass that chamber next week. Although 12 Senate Republicans are signed onto the Senate bill and many House Republicans are signed onto the House version, Republican leadership in the Senate has indicated they are not committed to passing the bill this session. I will continue to work to keep the bill moving, but if you are interested in this issue I encourage you to submit comments on it. To do this for the House bill click here and the Senate version here.

DividerChimacum ferry

New Ferry Chimacum

The newest ferry, Chimacum, joined the state fleet on Friday, April 7. The name honors the Chemakum tribe’s gathering place, which is now the present-day town of Chimacum.

The Chimacum is the third Olympic class ferry in the fleet and can accommodate 144 cars and 1,500 passengers. It will travel the Seattle/Bremerton route beginning this summer.

The fourth Olympic class vessel, Suquamish, is now under construction at the shipyard in Seattle.

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Transportation Budget

The Senate transportation budget was passed last week and funds a number of improvements for Kitsap County, including:

  • Continuing corridor mobility and safety improvements along State Route 305, from the Bainbridge ferry terminal to Hostmark Street in Poulsbo.
  • Planning and engineering support for county-led improvements on NW 1st Street near the Kingston ferry terminal.
  • Safer routes to school enhancements along the shared path at Finn Hill Rd. in Poulsbo.

DividerNavy Day 2017

Navy Appreciation Day

Last week the Legislature held Navy Appreciation Day, welcoming sailors from Washington state naval bases – including those in Kitsap County.

As many of you know, there is a long tradition of the Navy in Kitsap, with uninterrupted use of the Navy Yard at Bremerton since it was first established in 1891. We now have other installations at Keyport and the Bangor Submarine Base.

Along with their families, those who serve in or are retired from the Navy continue to be an important part of the culture throughout our region. It was fun to be able to meet some of them in Olympia and honor their work and sacrifices. A resolution honoring the Navy was read on the Senate floor, and we heard a beautiful performance by the Navy band in the Capitol rotunda (pictured above, in background).

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23rd District Senate Pages

I have had the pleasure of hosting two pages recently, Austin Smith and Grace Campbell, pictured below. The Senate Page Program is a wonderful opportunity for students between the ages of 14-17 to come to Olympia and participate in the legislative process. Pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers, and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting.

For more information, please click here.

23rd LD pages Grace and AustinDivider

Correction: In my last e-news I reported Morrow Manor in Poulsbo was funded in Senate capital budget at $475,000, but the actual funding is $750,000.

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Capitol with blue sky and blossoms

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7644

Email: Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Rolfes

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    Complaints on social media lead to return of medical fees to Kitsap consumers

Complaints on social media lead to return of medical fees to Kitsap consumers

November 17th, 2016|

OLYMPIA – Some Kitsap County residents will see relief from medical care received last year, thanks to efforts by Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, and an investigation by the Office of State Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

“I am so glad people in our community are getting a fair shake here,” Rolfes said. “After seeing many people in our community sharing their concerns about urgent care billing last year on social media, my office brought it to the attention of the Attorney General’s Office. I am grateful they pursued this and that families in Kitsap County will get their money returned to them.”

The resolution of the complaint totaled $1.1 million in consumer relief for patients of three Kitsap County clinics operated by CHI Franciscan. The more than 2,000 patients who were incorrectly charged have already received refunds of roughly $107,000, or had their bills corrected by Franciscan. The medical group is also forgiving nearly $1 million in outstanding patient debt from July 1, 2014 to Aug. 19, 2016, removing patients’ obligations to pay. Consumers receiving debt relief will be notified within 60 days.

For more information from the Office of the State Attorney General, please click here.