As we enter spring and look longingly toward summer, I wanted to send a final email to you all before election year restrictions begin. I’ll be unable to send these updates on the work I do after April, so hopefully this gives you an idea of what I’ll be working on the next few months.
Chairing the General Government & Information Technology Committee is an interesting and challenging opportunity to address issues like cybersecurity, emergency management, and information technology in the state. Below you’ll see some of the projects I’ll be focusing on through the summer and fall.
There’s also a whole host of issues you’ve brought to my attention that I wanted to share with you, and what state government is doing to address your concerns.
As always, please reach out to my office, drop me an email, or say hi if you see me in district and have a question or concern you want to share. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
This month’s two deadly magnitude 7.0+ earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan serve as a somber reminder that we ourselves need to be prepared for such an event here in the Pacific Northwest. In early June, emergency management agencies at all levels of government will take part in the Cascadia Rising exercise to test our response to such an incident. Preparations for this simulation have been ongoing for months. I will be observing it all unfold from one of many emergency coordination centers in the state.
The General Government and Information Technology Committee, along with the Technology and Economic Development Committee, will also be working together with the state’s Military Department on ways to better respond to emergencies throughout the interim.
Is your household or workplace ready for a potential calamity? The Washington State Department of Health and the King County Department of Emergency Management has information available to help you make sure.
As a member of a new interstate Task Force on Cybersecurity being convened by the National Conference of State Legislatures, I look forward to working with my counterparts as legislatures nationwide are paying more attention to protecting their residents from costly data breaches in state IT systems.
Over the last two years, I have focused on cybersecurity legislation as chair of the General Government and Information Technology Committee.
As cyberattacks continue to make headlines all across the country, it’s clear that the bad guys aren’t slowing down in their attacks. We need to make sure that we’re not just setting standards and then leaving them on the shelf to gather dust. We need to constantly look at our standards and then fix things and move forward. Here in Washington, we are already hard at work. This new effort across states will help us all adapt to the best practices for our modern age and make sure we are protecting your data as best we can.
My committee will also be working in concert with the Technology and Economic Development and Transportation Committees to identify the issues that arise in deploying technology for transportation purposes.
Transportation is a constant issue in our state. As we grow, so does the congestion on our roads. With advancements in technology, we need to be prepared to make use of the changing consumer preferences and demand for transportation options. We are going to explore the different challenges and issues facing transportation today and in the future and propose a plan to confront those issues to maximize the benefits of information technology.
Two years ago, one of your neighbors told me about a problem faced by a small arts group that teaches lucha libre and organizes exhibitions right here in Puget Sound. Under current law, they are regulated like boxing or mixed martial arts, but unlike those competitive and combative sports, theatrical wrestling participants of all stripes strive to entertain and above all, avoid injury.
In a great example of government and everyday people working together, the Department of Licensing and the wrestling groups found a way for our local wrestlers and luchadores to be successful small businesses in our community. I introduced a bill with their solution and this article gives a great insight into what transpired.
The bill also has one of the most entertaining lines of the session. Watch it here.
Last time, I wrote a little about what was included in our supplemental operating budget. Now that work is finally complete as Governor Inslee signed the budget on April 18th. A number of sections were vetoed including several that would have created a good deal of financial stress for our local governments.
One would have placed cities in a position to choose between supporting retired firefighters and maintaining existing services we rely on. Another would have blocked access to funds for local governments to keep infrastructure like water pipes and sewers clean and working.
Election year restrictions on these e-newsletters are about to begin so this one will be the last until at least December 1st. My legislative assistant, Doug Honma-Crane, and I will of course be available to help you with any issues you may have with the state government, so feel free to contact me with your thoughts. Have a great summer, fall, and holiday season!