Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Can you believe it's fall already? Time sure does fly. Since the final gavel closed the 2019 session, I've been home, hard at work for you. I've spent the summer traveling around the district meeting with stakeholders, attending meetings and events, taking tours, and listening and learning about the issues that matter most to you. These conversations and visits help me do the best job possible as your representative in Olympia.
In this email update, I'll highlight some of the work I've been doing during the last several months and give you a glimpse into my priorities as we start to gear up for the 2020 session.
Out-and-about throughout the 8th District and state
Interim, also known as the period between legislative sessions, gives me the opportunity to spend time out and about in our beautiful region of Washington state. This allows me to get a good handle on how the decisions we make in Olympia are impacting you, your family, and your business.
Here are a few of the tours I had the pleasure of participating in.
- Snake River/Ice Harbor Dam tour. The removal of our dams is definitely a “hot topic” issue throughout our district, and all of eastern Washington. Our tour highlighted how important these dams are to our agricultural industry, and how they are imperative to help our fish get to their spawning areas. We also learned from experts on the health of one of the major rivers of the greater Pacific Northwest.
- Everett Community Justice Center Tour. The discussion of this tour focused on the work of our Community Corrections Division (CCD), highlighting: the services and programs available to our supervised populations; the responses that can be imposed when violations of supervision occur; the position the Department of Corrections (DOC) is currently facing in regards to our capacity for housing violators; and the challenges we face with our local jail contracts.
- Yakima County Jail Tour. This tour highlighted the services and programs available in our work release facilities. We discussed: programming provided to assist clients with resuming responsibility for their decisions and actions; programming provided to encourage development of community ties through education, employment, treatment, family and community support groups; programming provided to assist with skill development, work search, employment placement, and retention of employment.
- Washington Corrections Center – capital projects tour. Each year, funding is allocated through the state's capital budget for various infrastructure and construction projects across the state. This tour focused on high priority capital improvement projects related to replacing failing infrastructure and obsolete equipment, including replacing the facility's electrical infrastructure; upgrading the facility's security electronics network; and replacing the education and health services buildings. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the House Capital Budget Committee to prioritize funding for WCC infrastructure projects.
These are just a handful of tours and meetings I've had during the interim. I appreciate having the opportunity to meet with everyone in-person. Thank you to everyone who took the time to speak with me, and those who made these tours happen.
Other interim legislative and committee work
During the interim, we're selected to serve on several statutory committees. These bipartisan committees help inform legislation and state policy for future legislative sessions. I serve on the following:
- School Safety Summit. This committee holds annual school safety summits that focus on establishing and monitoring the progress of a statewide plan for funding cost-effective methods f0r school safety that meets local needs. The Summit's focus includes school safety planning and implementation, training of school safety professionals, and integrating mental health and security measures.
- Sentencing Guidelines Commission. This commission evaluates state sentencing policy to include whether the sentencing ranges and standards are consistent. The commission recommends to the Legislature revisions or modifications to the standard sentence ranges, state sentencing policy, prosecuting standards, and other standards.
- Washington State Criminal Sentencing Task Force. This task force reviews state sentencing laws, including the report of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission. We also develop recommendations to reduce sentencing implementation complexities and errors, improve effectiveness of the sentencing system, and promote and improve public safety.
It's an honor to be a member of these committees and commissions that truly believe in keeping our children and communities safe.
A glimpse into the 2020 session | Committee work
Even though Olympia has long been in my rearview mirror, the time is near for it to reappear in the windshield. Recently, lawmakers convened at the Capitol for what is known as Committee Assembly Days. This is our starting point to reconvene in our standing committees and begin the framework for the issues we'll be hearing during the 2020 session.
I serve on the following committees and here's a few issues we will likely see on the table:
- House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee. We will be working on issues surrounding a wide array of legal issues: constitutional law and anti-discrimination measures; commercial law; torts; probate; guardianships; civil commitment; forensic mental health; firearms; eminent domain; landlord-tenant law; and Consumer Protection Act remedies and processes. The committee also considers issues relating to courts and judicial administration; and family law issues such as marriage, marriage dissolution, child support and adoption.
- House Human Services and Early Learning Committee. We will be working on issues and services affecting children and families, including: child welfare services; children's mental health and substance abuse; aid for needy families; developmental disabilities and juvenile justice; and issues relating to early learning and child development from birth to kindergarten.
- House Public Safety Committee. I'm proud to serve as the ranking Republican on this committee. We will be working on issues surrounding law enforcement agencies; crime prevention; criminal penalties and sentencing; impaired driving; registration and civil commitment of sex offenders; and adult correctional programs and institutions.
A glimpse into the 2020 session | Caucus-wide agenda
Members of the House Republican Caucus, alongside staff, have been busy during the interim preparing for the 2020 session. Strategies and ideas are still being worked on to build the foundation of our 2020 agenda. Right now, the discussion is guided by these three key principles: you should never fear for your safety in your home and community; the actions of the Legislature should not increase your cost of living; and your public officials should be held accountable for their actions. Stay tuned to upcoming email updates as we gear up to formally role out our 2020 agenda, and the work we'll be doing for you, the citizens of the 8th District and throughout the great state of Washington.
To stay current on what's happening within our caucus, please follow us:
- House Republican Caucus website: houserepublicans.wa.gov
- Facebook: @wahouserepublicans
- Twitter: @wahousegop
- Instagram: @wahouserepublicans
A glimpse into the 2020 session | Page and Intern program
And finally, did you know the House of Representatives has a page and intern program? These programs are a great way to keep our youth involved in their state government and receive hands-on experience in civic education. If you have a child in school who would be interested in these programs, please visit this link for more information: http://leg.wa.gov/House/Pages/PageandInternPrograms.aspx.
Stay in touch!
I'm your state representative year-round. Please reach out to my office to set up an appointment, to arrange a speaking opportunity, or to ask any questions you may have. I welcome your thoughts and concerns on issues before the Legislature. I look forward to working with you and for YOU!
I know all of us don't always agree on everything all the time, but please know, I still value hearing from you! I enjoy our respectful dialogues, even when we don't agree on the issue.
Also, there's a new face and voice around the 8th District legislative office in Olympia. I'd like to introduce my new Legislative Assistant, Laura Dunham. She is happy to assist you with whatever you need.
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!