Dear Friends of the 32nd District:
Greetings to all of you! I hope that my first electronic newsletter of 2015 finds you and your loved ones well.
If you have any ideas to improve our schools, fix traffic or make it easier for middle-class families, I’d love to hear your thoughts or your family’s story.
This newsletter is meant to keep you informed about issues important to our neighborhoods.
The State Budget
Every two years, the Legislature writes the state budget. The operating budget pays for day-to-day expenses like teacher salaries, health care for low-income families, and prisons. You can read in more detail how the state budget works here.
While our state is slowly recovering from the recession, revenue is not keeping up with the demand for state services. Republican lawmakers say state revenues are up $3 billion from last biennium. While that is true, it’s only half the picture. Our projected expenses are up—way up—more than $3 billion.
The recession hit everyone hard, even the state. We cut $12 billion in state spending since 2008. We cannot cut billions more and expect positive outcomes. In the end, we’re probably looking at some level of spending cuts to go along with some new revenue in order to balance our state budget.
Send me your thoughts – What would you cut from state government? What revenue options should we consider?
My bills for the 2013 Legislative Session
My focus, as always, is to advocate for and protect the consumers of Washington State. These are the bills I have introduced so far:
Unclaimed properties (House Bill 1551)
Improves the administration of your unclaimed properties by the Department of Revenue, and businesses such as banks, utilities and even your telephone companies. You might consider periodically visiting ClaimYourCash.org at https://ucp.dor.wa.gov/ to check if you or a family member has any unclaimed property.
Notice for storage unit owners (House Bill 1043)
Permits those of us renting storage space to be notified of default of payment and other notices by the self-storage facilities through electronic mail (e-mail). As a fail-safe, first class mail notice is still required in the event of a lack of response from the customer.
Fairness on debt management (House Bill 1489)
Protects the consumer from outrageous fees out-of-state debt adjusters charge for services which often leave the consumer with higher debt and worse credit scores. The non-profit and other debt management servicers may not charge more than fifteen percent of the total debt listed by the debtor.
Preventing human trafficking (House Bill 1651)
Provides clear definitions relating to human trafficking so we can do a better job of fighting this modern version of slavery.
Whistleblower protection (House Bill 1354)
Protects workers from employers taking retaliatory actions because an employee (or former employee) engaged in activities or complained that certain employment standards have been violated.
Bills I support, having heard from many of you:
For our public school employees – COLA, smaller K-12 classes, increase in health care funding
Incentives to pollute less (House Bill 1314)
Uses the power of the free market to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
A fair wage for a fair day’s work (House Bill 1355)
Boosts the minimum hourly wage to $12 an hour at the end of four years. Nobody working a full-time job should have their family live in poverty.
A bill I will not support, having heard from so many of you:
The ag gag bill (House Bill 1104)
Creating the crime of interference with agricultural production.
James Anderson and Representative Ryu on the House floor.
James spent the second week of session as a House page. He lives in Woodway and is an 8th grader at St. Luke School, Shoreline. We totally agree with Principal Rick Boyle and his teacher, Ms. Rosemary Conroy. Just as they predicted, James was outstanding as a page. He was responsible and carried out his assignments willingly and with confidence.
If your student is interested in being a page next year, please complete an application form. I am always happy to sponsor students from my district.
If you know a boy or girl who is a good candidate for the role, click on https://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Pages/HousePageProgram.aspx to learn more and to download an application. Don’t delay – spots fill up quickly! (Also click onto the “Pages” title to see and hear from our former pages!)
As always, I thank you for contacting me on any and all issues. Your input is important to me especially when I am voting on a bill. Please keep in touch.
Best wishes to all.
Representative Cindy Ryu (D)
for the 32nd Legislative District