Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's day 45 of the scheduled 105-day legislative session in Olympia and an important time in our schedule. Last Friday, Feb. 20 marked our first major deadline of the session. It was policy cutoff. Policy bills that were not passed out of their respective committees by that date are considered “dead” for the session. This Friday, Feb. 27 marks the second major deadline. It is fiscal cutoff. All fiscal bills (those that cost money), with the exception of bills necessary to implement the budget, that have not been passed out of their respective fiscal committees by Friday are also considered dead for the session. For further information about our cutoff dates, click here.
Of course, any bill that gains enough interest and support can be “resurrected” at any time with a suspension of rules and moved to the floor for a vote. However, that doesn't happen very often. For a list of major “dead and alive” bills, click here.
As I noted in my last e-newsletter, Washington is bringing in an additional $3 billion this budget cycle. That number is even larger now that the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its revenue forecast on Friday, which shows an additional $107 million for the current budget cycle (2013-15) and $129 million for the 2015-17 cycle.
The governor wants to raise taxes and this morning, the ranking Republican of the House Appropriations Committee confirmed that some key Democrats on the budget committee also favor tax increases. The state will be collecting 9 percent more in tax revenue over the next two years. Did your household get that kind of a raise? I believe the state needs to live within its means, just like you and I must do. Click here to learn more about the operating budget and the so-called “shortfall.”
Senate transportation proposal
On Feb. 12, leaders in the Senate announced a $15 billion statewide transportation revenue package. The measure includes $8 billion in new construction spending, paid for with an 11.7-cent gas tax implemented in stages over three years and fee increases. I continue to have reservations about this proposal and am very firm that we must have significant transportation reforms in place before any new spending is implemented. I list three of my transportation reform bills below.
In addition, I'm concerned the Senate transportation proposal largely ignores Snohomish County and portions of the 10th District. In response, I'm seeking funding for four projects:
- Expansion of State Route 531 in the city of Arlington, which is now a congested two-lane highway that handles commuter traffic to Boeing supplier AMT Senior Aerospace;
- Ferry Dock Road in Clinton, which handles drop-off passenger traffic to the Clinton ferry and is crumbling;
- $1.08 million for the Island Transit Everett Connector Service; and
- $960,000 to re-establish the Island Transit Tri-County Connector Service, which closed last June.
Hayes' transportation reforms
The following are three important, cost-saving transportation reform bills I've sponsored and co-sponsored:
- House Bill 1850 – Exempting certain transportation projects from local review or permit processes under the Shoreline Management Act. This bill would help to streamline permitting for state highway maintenance projects and reduce the multitude of duplicative review and permitting processes, effectively saving money on work that does not impact shorelines. There was a public hearing yesterday in the House Transportation Committee and action is expected soon on the bill.
- House Bill 1851 – Creating an expedited permitting process for structurally deficient bridges owned by local governments. There are a large number of structurally deficient bridges in the state which need to be maintained or replaced. The permitting process associated with bridge repair or replacement can be time-consuming and expensive. This bill would save cities time and money by streamlining the state permitting process. The measure passed from the House Environment Committee and is in the House Rules Committee awaiting floor action.
- House Bill 1695 – Prioritizing the use, reuse, and recycling of construction aggregate and recycled concrete materials on Washington's transportation projects. There is an abundance of recyclable and reusable construction materials that now is just disposed of in our landfills. These materials can and should be recycled and reused for new projects, which is not only environmentally friendly, but would also save taxpayer dollars. This bill, which I co-sponsored, passed the House Environment Committee and had a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee, which is expected to take action soon on the bill.
Several of my other prime-sponsored bills had hearings and have passed from their committees. Soon, they will be considered on the House floor, along with hundreds of other bills. Here's an update:
- House Bill 1306 – Equity for city-owned marinas – Legislation passed in 2008 exempts the City of Oak Harbor from paying lease fees to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on its marina until 2019. Port districts that own marinas are permanently exempt from paying these DNR lease fees. I introduced House Bill 1306 so cities would be exempt from the marina lease fees the same as port districts. When Oak Harbor's exemption expires, it could cost the city up to $150,000 a year. Although a public hearing was held in the House Environment Committee, the chairman of that committee would not let my bill advance, citing the fiscal impact to the state. I'm concerned about the fiscal impact to Oak Harbor. I will work to reintroduce legislation next year.
- House Bill 1052 – Helping active duty military families access higher education: This measure would requires the early course registration process that is available for eligible veterans and National Guard members to be offered to spouses receiving veteran education benefits. The measure passed the House Higher Education Committee and is in the Rule Committee awaiting floor action.
- House Bill 1061 – Adding a third District Court judge for Skagit County: Court caseloads have increased the past 16 years in Skagit County, along with population. However, there are still two District Court judges trying to handle the exploding docket. House Bill 1061 would help alleviate the backlog and ensure trials are held in a timely manner. This measure has passed two House committees and is now awaiting action on the House floor.
- House Bill 1723 – Allowing booking photos and electronic images at jails to be open to the public. The measure would require jails to include booking photographs of persons charged with an offense as part of its jail register. Click here for background on this bill, including a story about a Freeland couple who came to testify. This measure passed the House Public Safety Committee and is now awaiting action on the House floor.
Save the date – Town hall meetings
Join me and my seatmates, Sen. Barbara Bailey and Rep. Norma Smith, for town hall meetings in Mount Vernon and Coupeville. It is important to hear from you as we vote on issues affecting the 10th District. This is your opportunity to discuss those issues with us.
Saturday, March 14
Coupeville Recreation Hall
901 NW Alexander St.
Coupeville, WA 98239
10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Informal meet and greet
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Town hall meeting
19710 State Route 524
Mt. Vernon, WA 98274
2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Informal meet and greet
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Town hall meeting
KSER Legislative Update
Every two weeks on Tuesdays at 4 p.m., I am a guest KSER's Sound Living program with Ed Bremer. Today on the program, we talk about transportation and education. You can dial up the program at 90.7 FM or listen to my interview here.
Legislative Update Video
I also invite you to watch my video update on our House Republican YouTube channel here.
I want to hear from you!
Please feel free to contact me on these or other issues. Also, please share with your friends and ask them to sign up for my e-mail updates from my website at www.representativedavehayes.com.