We’re on the final stretch of this legislative session, which means we’re spending a lot of time on the Floor debating and passing bills. As you probably know from stories in the news, the big question continues to be how to pay for education as mandated by the Supreme Court. Budget writers from both chambers have to sit around the table to negotiate with the goal of finding viable, bipartisan solutions for our communities.
And it can be done. I will not join the naysayers who insist we are unable to find common ground. An example of how well we can and do work together is the bipartisan construction budget, or as we call it the Capital Budget, rolled out by the House last week.
This budget would create thousands of jobs and invest a record $1 billion in our children by building more schools.
If you are interested, you can read a summary of all the projects and investments included in House Bill 1075.
And for the list of projects in the 19th district, please click here.
Some of the highlights of this $4.15 billion budget include:
Investments in Education:
- $1 billion to build K-12 schools for our 1.1 million school children
- $30 million for rural and distressed K-12 schools
Investments in rural parts of Washington include:
- $203 million for the Public Works Assistance Program, which helps local governments build critical infrastructure such as water and stormwater projects, roads and bridges
- $80 million for Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP)
- $5 million to bring broadband to timber and farm country
- $18 million for Forest Health/Wildfire Prevention, a vital need given that the state has spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in recent years to fight wildfires
- $54 million for State Parks
- $160 million for Clean Drinking Water and Centennial Clean Water programs
- $40 million for Stormwater Financial Assistance
The budget also puts serious funding toward some of the state’s most pressing issues:
- $105 million for housing
- $65 million for Clean Energy, Solar, and Energy Efficiency
- $49 million for Arts, Building Communities, and Youth Recreation programs
- $14 million for dental capacity and residency
Get outside and play
I want to make sure you know that two of the 12 free days per year designated by Washington State Parks are in April: the 15th, Spring Day and the 22nd, Earth Day. On those days, visitors don’t need a Discover Pass to park.
The Discover Pass, which costs $30 for an annual pass or $10 for a one-day permit, is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.
The free days apply only to day use and only for lands managed by Washington State Parks.
But National Park Week is also in April, and to celebrate the 101st birthday of the National Park Service, fees will be waived April 15-16 and April 22-23 at national parks that typically charge for entrance.
Specifically in our district, you could head over to Fort Columbia State Park to see old historic wood-frame fort buildings, walk around three artillery batteries, and even see two coastal artillery guns. You can also consider going to see the tallest lighthouse in Washington at Westport Light State Park.
We are lucky in the 19th to have such great areas for recreation, so since you’re getting four free days or two free consecutive weekends this month to get out and play, go dust off those hiking boots.
Internet privacy protections
President Trump signed into law last month a bill that strips you of your ability stop internet service providers (ISP) from selling your private browsing information.
This means if you’ve ever typed your Social Security into an online form, your ISP could collect it and sell it according to congressional experts.
I think that is wrong. The internet has become ubiquitous and it is increasingly difficult to conduct our lives without entering personal information on the internet. ISPs should not be allowed to sell your personal information without your permission.
That is why I am supporting HB 2200.
The bill would create new internet privacy protections enforceable under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, including:
- Compelling transparency by making ISP privacy policies available to customers so they know what to expect.
- Protecting privacy by prohibiting ISPs from selling or using private information (such as a person’s browsing history) without consent.
- Requiring ISPs to report to customers when they have been hacked and personal data has been breached so customers can protect themselves.
Consumers should have the option to keep their personal browser history private.
This is an important consumer protection measure that has seen wide bipartisan support, and I look forward to seeing it passed through the houses and land on the governor’s desk for his signature.
Thanks for reading this update. I always welcome your feedback and comments, so don’t hesitate to contact my office anytime.