The 2014 legislative session has come to a conclusion and I’m pleased to report many of the good bills we proposed are going to become law. Additionally, we passed a budget this year that contains no tax increases, invests more in education and had strong bipartisan support.
I’d say the 2014 session overall was a good one, but there’s more work to be done next year. I’m looking forward to returning to the Senate to keep working on making Washington a better place to live, work and do business.
Next Thursday, I’ll be hosting another telephone town hall meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. I would greatly appreciate your participation and hope you can provide feedback about what issues are of primary concern for you and your family.
It truly has been an honor and privilege to serve as your state senator for the 28th District this year in Olympia. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions, comments or concerns. Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you soon.
2014 bipartisan education budget passes
The supplemental budget I voted for contains no new taxes and increases state spending by $155 million. Nearly two-thirds of that funding will go toward K-12 schools and state-run colleges and universities.
Because of the good budget we passed last year, this was the first session since 2008 that we began without facing a deficit. This supplemental budget keeps us on that fiscally-responsible path.
The House voted 85-13 for the final version before the Senate gave its near-unanimous support to the plan. The Legislature is required to adopt a biennial operating budget in odd-numbered years; it may pass a supplemental budget in even-numbered years to make minor corrections to the two-year budget.
I was also able to get $400,000 into the final budget for a new law school at UW-Tacoma. That will do more than just provide local students with additional opportunities to follow their dreams…It also has the added benefit of encouraging business development and job growth in the greater south Puget Sound region.
I graduated from University of Puget Sound law school when it was located in Tacoma; however ownership of the law school was later transferred to Seattle University and eventually moved from downtown Tacoma north to Seattle University’s main campus in the 1990s.
I’m proud to have been able to secure this needed funding for UW-Tacoma’s law school.
My bills that passed and will become law
- Senate Bill 6126 – Gives children in foster care a voice to help accelerate the legal process and place them in a loving, permanent home. Approved by both the House and Senate and will now be signed into law.
MILITARY AND VETERANS
- Senate Bill 5969 – Awards academic credit for military training so a veteran can get his degree faster and more affordably. Approved by both the House and Senate and will now be signed into law.
- House Bill 2315/Senate Bill 6468 – Requires certain health professionals in Washington state to complete six hours of training in suicide assessment, treatment, and management as part of their education requirements. I sponsored the Senate version. The House bill was approved by both the House and Senate and will now be signed into law.
- Senate Bill 6051 – Reforming the Washington State Department of Transportation by requiring far greater transparency and accountability and speeding up the costly permitting system. While the bill itself did not even receive a hearing, I was able to successfully amend the state’s supplemental transportation budget to include this bill’s languange. The reforms won’t last as long as they would with an actual bill, but it points the state in the right direction.
- House Bill 2195/Senate Bill 6311 – Addresses the determination of a court to authorize involuntary medication for maintaining the level of restoration in a jail following a restoration period. I sponsored the Senate version. The House bill was signed into law on March 12.
For the full list of bills I proposed this year, please visit my website.
Senate recognizes additional Washington State Medal of Honor recipients
Another proud moment for me came late this week when the Senate adopted two resolutions recognizing two of the three recent Medal of Honor recipients who reside in Washington. You’ll remember that the Senate honored the third Washington-based recipient of the Medal of Honor, U.S. Army Capt. William Swenson, earlier this year.
Staff Sergeant Ty Michael Carter was honored with Senate Resolution 8713 for his heroic actions in the Kamdesh district of the Nuristan Province of Afghanistan, followed by Sergeant Leroy Arthur Petry who received a similar honor with Senate Resolution 8714 for his sacrifice in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province.
Sergeant Carter was present for the adoption of SR 8713, while Petry, who is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was unable to attend as he is on active duty. However, a public ceremony for all three recent Washington Medal of Honor recipients is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 2, at which Petry will be presented with a copy of SR 8714.
It was truly an honor to bring these resolutions before the Senate on behalf of these individuals who have given so much for our country, gone way above and beyond what they signed up for and helped to save the lives of their comrades in arms. I’m extremely proud that these fine Americans call Washington State their home, and I hope they choose to remain here for a very long time.
Please join my next telephone town hall
I’ll be hosting a post-session telephone town hall meeting next week to update folks on what happened this year, and I’d like to invite you to attend
The community conversation will be on Thursday, March 20, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. You’ll receive a call at that time inviting you to participate, but if for some reason you don’t you can always call in.
A few minutes prior to 6:30, please call 877-229-8493 and enter the access code 112578.
I look forward to hearing from you, and you can always call the toll-free legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message.