Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Hello and greetings from Olympia!
Click below to watch my video update:
We are reaching an important point of the 2013 legislative session, the first cutoff. By Friday, February 22 all bills must be out of the House or Senate policy committees in order to move forward in the legislative process. The only bills that have a reprieve from this cutoff date are those necessary to implement the budget, or bills being considered in a fiscal committee.
Three bills that I have sponsored have been voted out of committees and will be coming to the House floor for consideration. Two of these bills may be considered as early as this week.
- House Bill 1132 would extend the eligibility of Gold Star License plates from parents of fallen soldiers to include spouses of veterans killed in action. I am working to get this bill to the House floor for comments and a vote before passing it over to the Senate.
- House Joint Memorial 4000 would designate Interstate 5 as the “Purple Heart Trail.” While the official name of the highway wouldn't change, the Washington State Transportation Commission allows naming highways and bridges to institute an enduring memory of a person or group of people who have contributed significantly to the well-being of the state or nation. This bill is also on the Floor calendar awaiting conversation and a vote of the full House.
- House Bill 1345 would give Americorps, Peace Corps and Job Corps as well as our military recruiters the same access to high school campuses already afforded to other higher education institutions or occupational recruiters. This is important for Washington's students because it allows them to understand all opportunities available to them after high school. Programs and organizations such as these will give our students greater opportunity to life experiences, job opportunities and higher education resources. Americorps, Job Corps and our military provide money for education after completion of service. In our current economy students need the opportunity to consider every choice available to advance themselves through higher education and a variety of occupations.
Criminal Justice Training Commission update
Currently local Police Departments and Sheriff Offices are struggling financially to ensure that our Police Officers and Sheriff's Deputies receive the statutory, mandatory training required before hitting the streets. Our state mandates that officers become certified by attending the police academy, but require the local jurisdictions to pay 25% of that cost. This creates an underfunded mandate situation and places a significant financial burden on our local governments.
House Bill 1315 would restore the criminal justice training account, and protect all future funds going into the account from being swept later on. In past years the legislature has raided this account and put the money into the general fund. This bill would put the protection of the funds in state statute, protecting from future raids.
This bill will have a fiscal note because it will be rededicating funds permanently to the CJTC account. But it will not cost taxpayers any additional money. It will instead direct existing revenues in the general fund back into the account and protect it from being raided. Public safety is a core responsibility of government. Ensuring the proper training of our law enforcement officers is a great first step in making sure we protect all Washington citizens.
I plan on working with the chair of the House Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks to make sure this important legislation moves forward.
In closing, it is an honor to serve you. I always welcome hearing from the people of our district so I can learn more about your thoughts and perspectives on various issues. If I may be of assistance, please contact my office.