Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week marks the half-way point of the short, 60-day legislative session. With the policy bill cutoff date last week, many bills have “died” for the session. This week we will have the cutoff for bills assigned to fiscal committees. Some of the bills that died were good bills, but many bills would have been bad for our state.
This important deadline helps narrow our work so we can focus on what is truly necessary this year: passing a supplement operating budget – a task we can and should accomplish within the next few weeks so we can adjourn on time!
This week, we will do most of our work on the House floor where we will be voting on bills. I encourage you to contact my office directly if you have any questions about the bills we will be voting on, or would like to voice your concerns or opinions on the issues we will be debating.
You may have read in the news recently about the ongoing, serious issues concerning the release of more than 3,000 felons from our state prisons due to a computer glitch that miscalculated release dates for 13 years. This is unacceptable!
As a deputy sheriff, I know how dangerous some of these individuals are and the kind of danger they pose to our communities.
As the ranking member on the House Public Safety Committee, I am committed to holding those responsible for this serious breach of public safety accountable.
Last weekend, the secretary of the DOC resigned in the midst of investigations being conducted by both the governor and the Senate Majority Coalition. His resignation does not change the need for a thorough investigation. We must continue to seek answers and identify solutions so this never happens again.
In another state agency shakeup last week, the Senate did not approve the confirmation of Lynn Peterson, who was the acting secretary of transportation. This move came as a surprise to many. However, if you have been following our state's transportation news it should not have been a surprise at all. It's fair to say former Secretary Peterson inherited a problem-prone WSDOT. It is also fair to say she did not do enough to fix those problems, which included bridges not lining up with roads properly, ferries that caused vehicles to bottom out as they entered the vessel, pontoons for bridges that leaked, ongoing issues with the SR 99 tunnel in Seattle, and most recently toll lanes on I-405 that cause more gridlock and charge drivers as much as $10 to use HOV lanes during peak times.
The governor needs to find someone to lead WSDOT who can change the culture and get the department working on solving transportation problems for the people of Washington.
Finally, last week 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 our neighbors who serve as both our guardians and warriors. They serve us during snowstorms, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and confront the very dangerous threats that face them when they go across the world to fight our nation's wars.
I was honored to sponsor House Resolution 4604 to recognize their service to our state and nation. In my last video update, I shared the story of Sgt. First Class Matthew McClintock, who was recently killed during a rescue mission in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by Taliban fighters.
On National Guard Day, it was a great honor to welcome his wife, Alex, and infant son Declan, to the House chamber so they could be recognized for their sacrifice, and his. I was deeply moved by her words and the love she feels for her husband, the state and nation he so bravely served. You can watch my floor speech here.
I presented his wife Alex with a copy of the resolution and a Washington state flag, which was flown over the Capitol in Olympia. Words cannot express my gratitude for her, SFC McClintock and the more than 8,000 members of the Washington National Guard and their families. Men and women 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.
Thank you again for reading this update. May God richly bless you, your family, and may God always bless America! Have a great Washington day!