Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature is only hours away from adjourning its scheduled 60-day regular session for 2014. The House just finished voting on the supplemental operating budget, Senate Bill 6002. I voted “yes.”
The Senate is expected to take action next, and send the bill to the governor this evening. That means this session will be finished on time without the need for a special session. That's remarkable, because it will be the first time in five years in which there will be no special session. Last year, we had three special sessions and lawmakers were in Olympia for nearly six months, about two months longer than normal.
I am very pleased with the outcome of this year's session for several reasons:
- We put more money into K-12 education to help our local schools;
- College tuition rates remain frozen for students;
- We prevented tax increases and provided a supplemental budget that addresses priority needs and lives within its means;
- A third 144-car ferry will be constructed, which will be very helpful to our local ferry runs, and many of the jobs to construct the new boat may be located within the 10th District;
- The Legislature approved and the governor signed my bill to assist law enforcement officers when making misdemeanor arrests; and
- The Legislature's business was completed on time without the need for a special session.
Here's a quick update as we head toward the finish line. Also, please mark your calendars for our upcoming 10th District town hall meetings March 20 and 22. You'll find the times and locations below.
It is my greatest honor to serve and represent you. Thank you for this opportunity!
A supplemental operating budget with more money for education and no new taxes
Last year, the Legislature adopted a two-year state operating budget that put more than a billion dollars extra into K-12 education. This was a great down-payment on the state Supreme Court requirement (McCleary Decision) that the Legislature meet the obligations of amply providing for the education of all Washington children.
This session is a “supplemental” budget year, meaning that we should only make minimal and necessary changes to the operating budget passed last year, such as appropriating for additional caseload, addressing unanticipated and unmanageable needs, dealing with an emergency, or addressing an opportunity that would not be available in the following biennium.
Democrats had proposed to increase taxes on bottled water, recycled fuel, prescription drugs, e-cigarettes, and eliminate the sales tax exemption for out-of-state shoppers. I'm pleased to report the final supplemental operating budget agreement has NO tax increases. They were removed as part of the compromise agreement.
Here are some other highlights of the supplemental operating budget agreement:
- The final negotiated budget spends an additional $155 million in fiscal year 2014. Of the $155 million in new spending, nearly two-thirds are direct toward education funding.
- It increases the state's ending-fund balance (savings account) to $315 million, up from $56 million in the two-year budget passed last year.
Here's the breakdown of how the state would spend the additional $155 million:
- Public education K-12 – $56 million (36 percent)
- Higher education – $41.7 million (27 percent)
- Early learning – $20,000
- All non-education funding (includes protecting our most vulnerable, developmentally disabled people, Medicaid health care services, etc.) – $57.2 million (37 percent)
Legislature approves and governor signs Hayes' misdemeanor arrest bill
I'm pleased to report that a bill I sponsored to allow law enforcement officers to make arrests in misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor cases, even if they weren't the officer who saw the alleged crime, was signed into law yesterday by Gov. Jay Inslee.
House Bill 2057 is in response to a state Supreme Court ruling last year (State v. Ortega) that overturned the conviction of a man who was arrested on drug charges because the arresting officer was not the officer who witnessed the alleged crime.
State law says it must actually be 'the' officer who witnessed a misdemeanor who must make the arrest. The new law changes that word to 'an,' so that a suspect can be arrested without a warrant when the misdemeanor is witnessed by 'an' officer, not just 'the' arresting officer. The new change in state statute will help our law enforcement officers do their jobs effectively. The end result will be greater public safety for our streets and neighborhoods.
Come to our 10th District town hall meetings!
I join my fellow seatmates, Sen. Barbara Bailey and Rep. Norma Smith, in inviting you to our upcoming town hall meetings throughout the district on Thursday, March 20 and Saturday, March 22. Please mark the dates and join us.
THURSDAY, MARCH 20
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
South Whidbey High School, New Commons
5675 Maxwelton Rd
SATURDAY, MARCH 22
9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Stanwood Middle School, Cafeteria
9405 271st St NW
1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Mount Baker Middle School, Cascade Commons
2310 E. Section St.
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Oak Harbor High School, Library
1 Wildcat Way
Catch up on Capitol Report
Each week during the legislative session, I recorded a three-minute radio program, Capitol Report, which was broadcast on KSVR in Mount Vernon and available as a podcast for subscribers.
Here are links to my last three radio programs. I invite you to listen.
03-09-14 – Podcast: Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, talks about legislative passage of his bill that would allow officers who were not witnesses to a misdemeanor crime to make arrests of the suspect(s) in that crime. He also discusses the proposed House and Senate supplemental operating budgets.
03-02-14 – Podcast: Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, introduces his legislative page and then talks about the supplemental budgets that have been introduced in the House and Senate.
02-23-14 – Podcast: Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, talks about his three prime-sponsored bills that have passed the House. He also discusses anticipated revenue from state marijuana sales.
Contact my office any time you need assistance
Remember, I work for you throughout the year, not only when the Legislature is in session. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about legislation or state government, please call my office in Olympia. It is staffed year-round. You'll see my contact information below. I am also available on a limited basis for speaking engagements. Call my office for details.