Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Senator. It’s such a high honor. Please contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and comments. Every year the Legislature begins planning in November for the upcoming regular session starting in January 2014. We will meet in Olympia on November 21 and 22 to begin work sessions on possible legislation.
However, even before November 21 and 22, we will convene for a Special Session, starting THIS Thursday, November 7 to take up needed reforms to make Washington a more hospitable state to job-creators, especially Boeing. Helping to lessen unnecessary regulations and burdensome taxes is long overdue.
TRANSPORTAION REFORMS AND PROJECTS
Thank you to those who attended the Tacoma transportation feedback forum last month. Over 325 people attended and 74 local citizens and public officials shared public testimony with a panel of 17 legislators (including myself) over the course of three hours. I continue to want to see MAJOR transportation reforms because I am very concerned about how we spend our transportation dollars.
The state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) needs far more accountability and transparency, and I will work hard to make my transportation accountability bill, HB 1986, become law when we convene in January. In addition to fundamental reforms, we need a long-term fix for the huge bottleneck issue on Interstate-5 along the JBLM corridor in any transportation package.
JBLM CONGESTION RELIEF
Unfortunately, the current transportation project lists that I have seen do not include a full-build out to end the congestion along the JBLM corridor of I-5. Commuters and freight are stuck in this choke point at least twice a day. Relief is long overdue.
Also, JBLM is the largest employer in Pierce County and the military has an economic impact of $6 billion to our state. Helping military personnel get in and out of the base more efficiently is easily one of our most important transportation issues. We value the strong working relationship our community has with our service men and women and JBLM.
I welcome your thoughts on this and would love to hear how the congestion around JBLM affects you. I’ll share your stories, and mine, with policymakers in Olympia. Please email me at: Steve.Oban@leg.wa.gov.
SEX-TRAFFICKING AND THE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF MINORS
Did you know that human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world? Washington is unusually prone to human trafficking because we border Canada, have an abundance of ports, and have vast rural areas.
The issue of human- and sex-trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors was an area the late Senator Mike Carrell worked on, and it is an issue I will continue to work on as the Chair of the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee, and as a member of the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Statewide Coordinating Committee.
Today I will be moderating a panel on sex-trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors at the University of Washington School of Law.
As always, I hope you will contact me with your thoughts, ideas and concerns. It’s an honor to serve you in the Washington State Senate.
Senator Steve O’Ban