Friends and Neighbors,
While our state has a part-time Legislature, I conduct my job as state representative much closer to full-time. I have been very busy this interim (the time between legislative sessions), including meetings with employers, groups, committees, the media, other state lawmakers, and constituents. Below are some of the things I have been working on, in addition to other information you might find interesting.
State honors Lewis County resident killed in combat
The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) decided last week to name the bridge over the Skookumchuck River on SR 507 (located between milepost 4 and 5) the “Petty Officer First Class Regina R. Clark Memorial Bridge.” I am proud to have worked with Lewis County citizens to propose and pass House Joint Memorial 4007 this past legislative session. This legislation is what prompted the WSTC to make its decision.
You can learn more about this decision, and the life of Petty Officer First Class Regina R. Clark, in this article from The Chronicle. In the story, I am pleased with how I was quoted, saying: “It's important that we remember our military personnel.” I have always believed this and always will.
Recent JLARC meeting
I am a member of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee – also referred to as JLARC. This committee works to make state government operations more effective, efficient and accountable, and is comprised of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate.
As a member of the Executive Committee, I am sometimes called upon to chair meetings. I had the opportunity to preside over the committee's meeting on July 17 where we elected officers for the biennium. You can watch it at this TVW link. You can also find the agenda here, including a preliminary report on 2019 tax preferences performance reviews.
Upcoming JTC meeting
I am also a member of the Joint Transportation Committee. This committee reviews and researches transportation programs and issues to better inform state and local government policymakers – including state lawmakers. This committee gives us a chance to learn about and develop solutions to our transportation challenges – and with so many aspects to our state's transportation system, there is a lot to monitor and improve.
Our next meeting is on Thursday in Olympia (John A. Cherberg Building – Hearing Room 1), from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., though meetings are often held in various areas of the state.
The JTC interim work plan can be found here.
My job often requires that I talk to reporters and meet with editorial boards – with hopes it will provide citizens with important information and perspective on what is happening at the Legislature and with state government in general. On May 31, I had the opportunity to meet with The (Longview) Daily News editorial board along with Sen. John Braun and Rep. Jim Walsh. I appreciated their questions and interest in the legislative process. You can listen to our discussion on the newspaper's podcast at this website.
A lot has happened in the news over the last few weeks. Here are just a few making headlines:
- Businesses fret over new sales tax law in first weeks under legislation (The Daily News)
- As Seattle gets closer to an income tax, state Republicans work to stop it (Crosscut)
- Pay-per-mile tax faces vote later this year by commission (AP/Seattle P-I)
- The head doctor at Monroe prison was fired over alleged negligent care. Now seven inmate deaths are under investigation. (The Seattle Times)
- Despite millions spent, 'crucial' DSHS electronic records system years behind schedule (The News Tribune)
- Debate over changes to overtime rules for thousands of Washington workers (KING TV)
- Kretz takes fellow lawmakers on eastern Washington wolf tour (iFiberOne TV)
- Despite $20 million budget shortfall WDFW not planning significant cuts (The Spokesman-Review)
New Speaker of the House
Frank Chopp stepped down as Speaker of the House on May 3, ending a long and storied tenure in the position. John Lovick was chosen as “Acting Speaker” until House Democrats choose a new speaker-designate on July 31. I will update you on this in my next email update.
Reminder: I am your state representative year-round
Please remember that I am your state representative year-round. I am here to listen and help. My Legislative Assistant, Tori, takes your calls and letters and coordinates with me on e-mails, scheduling meetings, and casework to help get your issues resolved. We welcome your calls, emails and letters. Please contact us anytime at (360) 786-7990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.