Transportation, Community Safety, and our Legislative Pages!
May 9, 2017 | By Washington House Democrats
Investing in transportation
Having passed both chambers, the bipartisan transportation budget has been delivered to Governor Inslee and is awaiting his signature. The budget allocates approximately $8.7 billion in much needed funding to Washington state’s transportation network.
Thanks to our own 41st Representative Judy Clibborn and the transportation budget negotiating team for their hard work! After negotiating across the aisle and across the rotunda, we reached a budget that helps maintain our transportation infrastructure, supports jobs, and addresses key traffic and transportation problems that affect working families all over the state.
This bipartisan budget makes sure we keep Washington moving, including with in-district projects such as I-405 expansion in the Lynwood to Tukwila corridor, improvements to the I-90 and SR 900 interchange in Issaquah, and funding for the Mountains to Sound Greenway.
It’s our jobs as lawmakers to solve problems and reach compromises. While it’s clear from the success of the transportation budget that negotiation works and compromise can be reached, it is disappointing that Senate Republicans remain unengaged on the state’s operating budget even as we are in special session.
An interactive map of transportation projects is available if you are interested in finding out more about the projects that may affect you.
Please note: With transportation improvements comes additional construction-related traffic. I understand how frustrating it can be, and urge everyone’s patience as we improve vital transportation corridors throughout our district.
Improving community safety
One of the last sets of legislation voted on by the House this session was an agreement on four important bills which focused on gun violence, DUIs, and reducing the trauma of rape.
- When we passed last year’s Initiative 1491, concerning extreme risk protection orders, Washington took a step towards improving community safety. Unfortunately, the initiative left a loophole. When it comes to preventing gun violence, sharing information saves lives. Thanks to HB 1501, law enforcement is now required to let a victim know if their abuser has attempted to obtain a firearm in violation of a court order, as well as follow-up on any illegal or fraudulent attempts to obtain a firearm.
- Drunk driving can have devastating effects on families and communities, yet Washington state has some of the weakest felony DUI laws in the country. SB 5037 updates our DUI laws by making a person’s fourth, rather than fifth, DUI a felony. While we hope this change will further discourage people from driving drunk, part of the solution to prevent drunk driving must also be treatment. That’s why we passed HB 1614, which strengthens treatment, supervision and regulations for repeat offenders, including expanding alcohol monitoring requirements for offenders who really do have a drinking problem. Both of these measures will help keep our communities and our roadways safer.
- The fourth important bill around community safety is HB 1543, which protects women from being forced to co-parent a child with their rapist (Yes, that really was law in Washington state until now). Prior to it’s passage, a gap in Washington law made it possible for a victim’s assailant to claim parental rights. This bill closes that gap and not only protects the women who were assaulted, but protects the children, who can suffer irreparable harm in these situations.
Thank you to our legislative pages!
Thank you to all of the young people who took part in the program this session! We had some great pages from our district participate and get a close-up look at government in action. It was a pleasure to work with Eve, Gabriella, Alan and more this Session!
The page program is a great opportunity for young Washingtonians to learn, have fun and earn money while spending a week helping out House members in the Washington State Legislature. If you know a 14-, 15- or 16-year-old who is interested in this opportunity, click here to learn more and to download an application.
As always, feel free to share this update and please reach out if you have questions or comments.
Rep. Tana Senn