Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It has been a successful few weeks in Olympia. We finally passed a capital budget and a solution to the water-rights issue, known as Hirst! Gov. Inslee put pen-to-paper last week and signed both of these important bills into law. In this legislative update, I will discuss honoring our state National Guard, details of the Hirst solution and capital budget, and the Capitol visit by the Tri-Cities Legislative Council and Leadership Group.
Celebrating one of my favorite days | National Guard Day
Recently, we celebrated one of my favorite days in the Legislature: National Guard Day.
The men and woman of the National Guard, both Army and Air, are citizen soldiers who are both our guardians and warriors. Whether it's snowstorms, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, or the very dangerous threats that face them while they are oversees, across the world, fighting our nation's wars, each of these men and women is a hero!
It was a true honor to sponsor the resolution recognizing our National Guard members, and their service, to our state and nation. Words cannot express my gratitude to the more than 8,000 men and women of the Washington National Guard. These brave guardians are at the tip of the spear, who run toward danger when everyone else runs away; in order to protect us our state and our nation.
My recent video update | Full details of the Hirst solution and capital budget
For a complete breakdown on Hirst and the capital budget, I encourage you to watch my recent video update. I go into detail on what the Hirst solution does for our water rights, and the highlights of the 2017-19 capital budget. You can watch by clicking on the photo below, or by clicking here. Thank you!
The Hirst solution – what does this compromise look like?
The State Supreme Court's Hirst decision hurt economic growth, decreased property values, and slashed people's dreams of building on their own land. I am happy to report we have a solution that works for our district.
It took long days and nights, and tough negotiations, to reach the compromise that we met. The bipartisan solution provides a minimum of 950 – 3,000 gallons of water usage per day, grandfathered in all existing wells. This was a major area of contention for our rural homeowners fearful the state would either take away our water or require excessive, unnecessary metering. Now, stalled projects can start up again and economic development will continue to thrive and flourish in our rural areas. I was proud of all the hard that went into this solution and was a “yes” vote on the bill.
The 2017-19 capital budget
The capital budget funds public works construction projects across our state. This budget allocates $4.17 billion in total spending, including $2.72 billion in bonds. It leaves $211 million for the 2018 supplemental capital budget planning process. It also allocates $933 million for K-12 school construction through the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). This allocation will help fund school construction and modernization projects through the state.
The Eighth District received funding for the following projects:
- $10.8 million for the Tri Tech Skill Center
- $6 million for the Kennewick automated meter reading program
- $6 million for the US 395/Ridgeline interchange
- $3 million for WSU Tri-Cities academic building
- $1 million for the Yakima Valley farmworkers clinic in Kennewick
- $800,000 for the Tri-Cities Readiness Center
- $441,000 for the LIGO STEM Exploration Center in Richland
For more information on the capital budget, please click here.
Visitors to Olympia | Tri-Cities Legislative Council and Leadership Group
It was great to visit with this wonderful group of people from the Tri-Cities! Thank you for making the trip and taking the time out of your busy schedules to meet with us to discuss the things that matter most to you!
Stay in touch with me!
Throughout the legislative session, I hope you will take the time to call, email or visit me in Olympia. I welcome your thoughts and concerns on issues before the Legislature. I look forward to working with you and for YOU!
I know we don't always agree on everything all the time, but I do want you to know I value hearing from you! I enjoy our respectful dialogues!
Thank you again for the opportunity and the honor to serve you, your family, and our communities as your state representative.
May God richly bless you all! Have a great Washington day!