Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This will be my last e-mail update for a while, as election-year restrictions on legislators' communications kick in. Although I can't contact you, the law allows me to answer your direct requests for information, as long as you indicate that you would like a response.
Although the 2014 session was short (60 days), I'm happy with what we were able to accomplish. Here's an overview of the legislation I was proud to champion:
Senate Bill 6552 – Creates a 24-credit high school diploma, boosts science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction, and gives local districts more flexibility. This bill has been a long time coming, and it's so great to see it finally put into law. I represented our caucus while we crafted and negotiated this bill.
House Bill 2443 – Gives students and parents the ability to research online the potential future wages of different higher education degrees and certificates. While the bill wasn't moved out of committee, I was able to incorporate most of the language into the supplemental operating budget.
House Bill 2671 – Clarifies that electric vehicles – such as the partly made-in-Washington BMW i3 electric car – qualify for a state sales tax exemption even when equipped with optional range-extenders. After this bill got bipartisan support and 21 co-sponsors, the Department of Revenue reversed its original decision that these vehicles wouldn't qualify and concurred with our interpretation.
House Bill 2023 – Allows crowdfunding for smaller companies who traditionally can't get funding from venture capitalists.
House Bill 2797 – Uses lottery-backed bonds to fund up to $700 million in new classroom construction. This passed the House overwhelmingly, but didn't make it through the Senate. I'm optimistic about its chances in the next session.
House Bill 2733 – Allows certain hydroelectric projects to be designated as renewable resources.
House Bill 1011 – Ends the one-year waiting period for veterans or active-duty military to be eligible for in-state tuition.
And here are the big issues I'll be working on in the interim, in preparation for next year's legislative session:
- As a member of the Article IX Litigation Joint Select Committee, I'll be contributing to the report due to the state Supreme Court April 30 regarding the Legislature's progress in complying with the McCleary decision (full funding for K-12 basic education).
- Representing House Republicans on the Quality Education Council and the governor's work group on education funding.
- Modeling K-12 levy and compensation reform proposals for each school district in Washington.
- Modeling for higher education performance funding proposals based on economic success metrics.
- Participating in the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute and Education Data Quality Fellowship with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Thank you for your time, and please remember I'm available to help you year-round and welcome your questions, comments and concerns – but due to election-year restrictions you must specifically request a response in order for me to be able to answer you.
427 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7876 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000