News From The Capitol: End of Session and the Challenge Ahead
April 24, 2015 | By Washington House Democrats
Affected families gather at the signing of Rep. Riccelli’s bill to screen newborns for critical congenital heart defects.
The Legislative Session has come to a close. We’ve accomplished a lot in the past few months–paved the way for a new WSU medical school, ensured that every newborn in Washington can get life-saving heart screenings, and increased access to low-cost prescription drugs.
These measures will lower health care costs, increase access to care, and even save lives. I am proud to champion these efforts to keep our friends, families and communities healthy.
Despite these achievements, significant challenges remain. We need to grow our economy from the middle out, not trickle down, and everyone should pay their fair share.
House Democrats’ operating budget invests in early learning, education and family-wage jobs while protecting our most vulnerable.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans built a budget based on gimmicks, illegal contract violations, and one-time transfers, giving with one hand while taking with the other. In particular, the Senate Budget:
- Raids funding from dedicated accounts to pay for ongoing state needs;
- Diverts marijuana money from public health and substance use prevention;
- Short-changes workers, including care providers and people that work with victims of child abuse, by rejecting collective bargaining agreements;
- Backfills tuition by slashing financial aid for low-income students.
The House budget invests in core services and levels the playing field for small businesses by asking corporations and the very wealthy to pay their fair share for the quality of life we expect in Washington state.
Read about our proposals to give money back to small businesses, close costly corporate tax loopholes, and ensure the wealthiest among us pay their fair share:
Special Session: Why I’m Heading Back to Olympia
The differences between the House and Senate budgets have proven too great to resolve in the regular session, and I will be heading back to Olympia on Wednesday for a special session.
After the challenges of the past few months, I would love to be at home full-time with my family in the city I care so much about.
But you did not send me to Olympia to pack my bags when the going gets tough. I was elected to stand strong for our community’s values.
As we head into special session, I will continue to defend our shared priorities, like growing family-wage jobs, fostering great schools, increasing access to early learning, and providing services for our most vulnerable. I am also working hard to pass a transportation revenue package that funds the North Spokane Corridor and other key priorities for our region.
In the coming weeks, we’ll have to make some tough decisions about the direction our state is heading, and I can’t do it alone. With your help, we will ensure that we pass a budget that reflects our core values. It is an honor to serve you.
Representative Marcus Riccelli
3rd Legislative District – Spokane