The Legislature’s 2015 regular session ended April 24. The Senate approved and passed to the House a no-new-taxes budget, significant cuts in college tuition to help the middle-class, mental health reform to get the mentally ill the compassionate treatment they need while protecting the public, and a capital budget that builds 2,100 classrooms to lower K-3 class size.
We prioritized education and tuition relief and mental health, within our means, thanks to $3 billion in additional projected revenue, over last year. A special session was called by the Governor because the House has a different budget and further negotiations are necessary because the two chambers disagree.
The House’s plan spends $1.5 billion more than our plan by raising taxes and creating a brand new income tax on capital gains and energy.
Our goals are clear entering this special session. With $3 billion in additional projected revenue we can deliver the real priorities of state government without raising taxes.
Governor signs my bills focusing on youth homelessness prevention
Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Homeless Youth Prevention Act into law Friday, Senate Bill 5404 . The law aims to decrease homelessness with greater coordination of services, use of data and prevention efforts.
This is one of the most important pieces of legislation in recent history to combat youth homelessness. By better coordinating state resources, we can get at the root of youth homelessness and prevent the tragedies these children face each day such as being victims of human trafficking or drug abuse.
Our goals are to reunite these youth with families when possible and provide resources like education and employment opportunities to improve their lives.
Measure provides new law enforcement training to respond to human trafficking
On Friday the governor also signed Senate Bill 5933 into law. The new law establishes a statewide training program for those who work on the front line to combat human trafficking.
It is a needed tool for law enforcement to deal with a serious issue. Those working on the front lines combating human trafficking don’t always have the most current information or training to deal with this complex and sometimes misunderstood problem. We need an effective program to train those tackling this issue so that vulnerable people can get the help they need.
State fails disabled woman
KING 5 recently brought a story to my attention about a troubling lapse in policy at the state Department of Social and Health Services. A 48-year-old developmentally disabled woman was seriously injured and repeatedly abused by her state paid caregiver. This is a tragic incident that should never have been allowed to happen. I continue to fight for more accountability in our state’s social service agencies to prevent abuses like this one from occurring. Please click here to watch the KING 5 investigation.
Moving Pierce County forward
While the Legislature convenes for a special session to address the state’s operating budget, I am continuing to work to reduce congestion on Interstate 5 along Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
I recently authored a guest editorial in the Tacoma News Tribune advocating for full funding for the I-5, JBLM corridor and SR 167 (a key access freeway to the Port of Tacoma), and significant reforms of WSDOT and the way we spend our transportation dollars. Please click here to read the editorial. The House transportation budget does not fix the JBLM corridor or complete SR 167, but spends more on Seattle area projects.
It is an honor to represent you as your state Senator. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (360)786-7654 if I can be of service to you or your family with issues pertaining to Washington State government.
28th District Senator
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
– Sir Winston Churchill
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