Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is an important time in Olympia. Last week we shifted from committee and constituent meetings to all-day (and sometimes all-evening) sessions on the House floor. We debated and voted on dozens of bills. I'd like to highlight a few that I'm particularly proud to have voted YES on.
House Bill 1369 would expand the definition of a veteran to give them access to more services. Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to defend our freedoms. That's why it was important to me to expand the definition of a veteran to include members of the military who have received a form DD-214, NGB-22, or equivalent or successor paperwork which classify their service as honorable. These brave men and women deserve all of the support services we can offer them.
House Bill 1733 would allow a technical college to award high school diplomas to students who have completed their associate degree through the Technical College Direct Funded Enrollment Program. Under current law, This is a great opportunity for students who take a different education path but meet the same, rigorous criteria.
House Bill 1808 would provide support for teens in the foster care system to obtain a drivers license and car insurance. This program will provide vital help to foster youth who cannot always get a hold of their original birth certificate, a Social Security card, or a parent's signature. If signed into law, it would help open the door to the outside world and enable these youth to drive to work and college.
House Bill 1717 and House Bill 1493 are about protecting your most personal identifying information. If signed into law, they would prohibit private companies and state agencies from enrolling a biometric identifier of an individual in a database to create identification of the individual, or changing the use of an enrolled biometric identifier, without first providing clear and conspicuous notice and obtaining the individual's consent.
Each of these bills will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
Sound Transit 3
The passing of ST3 has continued to have far-reaching impacts across Pierce county. I've received many inquires about how the legislature plans to address ST3. To recap, ST3 was a proposition that was passed by the people this past November. It implements a hefty property tax increase and an additional 5 tenths of 1 percent increase in the sales tax.
While voters in Pierce county rejected ST3 by a 56 percent majority, we were overrun by King county-Seattle voters and now we still have to pay the fees.
This seems grossly unfair to me, so when I was on the Pierce County Council, I asked legal staff if the residents of the county could somehow opt-out. I was told there was no process in law to repeal or opt out.
This has made supporting legislation that would give residents more options a priority this session. Here are the bills currently working through the legislature that would benefit the many families that have been significantly impacted by the passing of ST3.
House Bill 2132 and Senate Bill 5851 aim to regulate the formula used for calculating car value for car tabs. Many have found the value of their car to be inflated and inaccurate. HB 2132 would tie the formula for calculating value to the Kelley Blue Book value.
Senate Bill 5817 would give cities and counties the local control they deserve by allowing them to opt out of paying the three different ST3 taxes if they choose.
Senate Bill 5854 would also increase local control by allowing counties and cities to exempt their residents from the ST3 property tax increase.
House Bill 1958 would prohibit Regional Transit Authority Property taxes on less than a whole parcel. The measure passed out of the House Transportation Committee, but still sits in the house Rules Committee.
House Bill 1029 and Senate Bill 5001 would make the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) more accountable to voters by requiring board members to be elected rather than appointed. Senate Bill 5001 passed the Senate 29-20 and will go to the House for further consideration.
All of these proposals are moving through the legislature at different paces, but their equally important to protecting working families, homeowners and property owners, and providing accountability and transparency to the voters. I plan to watch these bills closely and support them when I have the opportunity.
Visitors in Olympia are my favorite part of any day. Pictured above are two distinguished guests from Bates Technical College, Trustee Board member Cathy Pearsall Stipek (left) and College President Ron Langrell (right).
As always, please call my office at (360)786-7968 or email me at email@example.com with any questions, concerns, or stories you have. I look forward to hearing from you.