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.
These are some of the local projects in our community:
- $23.4 million for Highline College’s Health and Life Sciences building
- $407,000 for the Kona Kai Coffee Training Center – a culinary and hospitality job training program for marginalized youth
- $3 million for the Kent YMCA
- $252,000 for Sea Mar in Burien
- $282,000 for the Puget Sound Skills Center (minor works)
- $740,000 for the Criminal Justice Training Commission (minor works)
For a map, the full list of projects and more information, please click here.
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
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.
Update on My Bills
We’re on the final stretch of this legislative session, which is scheduled to end in just a couple of weeks. This means lawmakers in both, the House and the Senate, are spending a lot of time on the Floor debating and voting on bills, and I am pleased to report that mine have fared well. Here is an updated list of the ones that have passed so far:
- HB 1079 protects victims by allowing criminal no-contact orders against their traffickers, who often use threats or coercion to manipulate their victims.
- HB 1184addresses trafficking and prostitution. It will help solve a problem by giving prosecutors more options to stop crime.
- The state contracts with the Pediatric Interim Care Center (PICC) in Kent to provide residential care for children from birth to age 2 who have been exposed to and are exhibiting withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other drugs. SB 5152, the Senate companion bill to my House Bill 1491, addresses regulation of the PICC.
- SB 5272, the Senate companion bill to my House Bill 1112, allows survivors of human trafficking to have their prostitution convictions vacated.
- SB 5022, the Senate companion bill to my House Bill 1057, the student loan transparency act.
But mid-April also means the days are getting longer, people are generally in a better mood and everything is blooming. For instance, take this gorgeous canopy of cherry blossoms at the Capitol Campus. It serves as a reminder of how fortunate and honored I am that you put your trust in me to represent you in Olympia.
As always, thank you for your time and interest on what is happening at our state capital. Please contact my office if you need more information on any legislative issue or if you have any feedback for me.