Next stop for bridge bill is governor’s desk
Last Thursday, the House passed SB 5806, Senator Cleveland’s companion to my legislation, HB 2095, aimed at rebooting the conversation on the I-5 Bridge. But this time around with more information and keeping in mind the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
The bill will establish a joint Oregon-Washington legislative action committee to begin a process towards project development for a bridge. It includes $350,000 for Washington Department of Transportation to do an inventory and document all the work that’s already been done regarding the construction of a new bridge.
The Columbian ran a very comprehensive story on the issue last week, you can read it here.
House Revenue Package
There’s confusion on what the House revenue package actually does, so I attempted to clear it up a bit in my latest video update. You can also read this infosheet to get all the details on exactly how we are proposing to raise the revenue necessary to fully fund our schools.
The state capital budget pays for construction projects such as school buildings, mental health facilities, and state park improvements.
Last week, the House proposed a bipartisan capital budget that would create thousands of jobs, and invest a record $1 billion in funding to build schools.
For a list of projects in the 49th district, please click here.
You can also read a summary of all the projects and investments in HB 1075. 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
- $15.5 million to build early learning facilities to help our youngest learners
- $30 million for rural and distressed K-12 schools
- $800 million for state colleges and universities, with $433 million for community and technical colleges
- $15 million for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) grants at K-12 schools
Investments in rural Washington:
- $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
In cooperation with new investments in the House operating budget, the construction proposal prioritizes mental health:
- $76 million for community behavioral health capacity
- $58 million for construction and renovation at state facilities
- $24 million for supportive housing for the chronically mentally ill
Finally, the budget puts serious funding toward many 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
Internet privacy protections
When President Trump signed into law a bill that strips you of your ability to stop internet service providers (ISP) from selling your private browsing information, many of my colleagues and I decided we needed to do something at the state level because this practice is just plain 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 information without your permission.
I am one of the sponsors of HB 2200 aimed at keeping your information secure by creating 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 enjoys wide bipartisan support, and I look forward to seeing it land on the governor’s desk for his signature.
Get outside and play
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.
So you’re getting four free days or two free consecutive weekends this month to get out and play. Go dust off those hiking boots.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. I hope you’ve found it informative. As always, I welcome your feedback, comments, and ideas.