I was appointed to fill the 46th Legislative District seat vacated by former Rep. Jessyn Farrell last month. You can read about my appointment, as well as my committee assignments in this press release.
I recently participated in a TVW project called “Legislator Profiles.” These are short 2 to 3 minute videos aimed at providing viewers some information on their lawmakers. Click on the image below to watch mine:
Washington makes history with new paid family leave program
By passing Senate Bill 5975, Washington became the fifth state in the nation to set up a paid family and medical leave program for workers. When we voted on the bill, which passed with strong bipartisan endorsement, several of my colleagues and I stood up to speak in support of this important legislation. Click on the image below to watch my floor speech:
Starting in 2020, the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program will provide workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a baby or an ailing family member, and up to 12 weeks to tend to personal illnesses. Total annual leave will be capped at 16 weeks, or 18 weeks for difficult pregnancies.
Depending on their earnings, workers can be granted up to 90 percent of their pay or up to $1,000 per week during their leave. To fund the program, both employers and employees will pay into the social insurance fund, and businesses with 50 or fewer employees can opt out.
This comprehensive, practical and affordable plan for both workers and businesses will foster stronger families and a secure middle class.
Click here for more information.
Operating Budget & Education Funding
We averted a government shutdown that would have had disastrous consequences by finally passing the 2017-2019 operating budget. It’s good that both sides were able to compromise and reach an agreement on a budget that makes large investments in education.
Most lawmakers, including myself, and the public had just a few hours to consider the final package as Republicans in our state Senate employed the stall tactics of Republicans in the other Washington. While this budget makes important investments in our public schools and other key social services, it hurts many families in our communities, so I voted against the additional corporate tax break proposal. The ones I had the biggest problems with were the B&O tax break for manufacturers and the Transalta tax break, thankfully, both were vetoed by Governor Inslee.
We ended up with a budget that embodies strong Democratic core values and puts families first by making great strides funding education, taking care of children in need, keeping families healthy, fighting homelessness, funding state contracts and ensuring a responsive government. These are the budget highlights:
For more information, below are the 2017-19 budget details provided by nonpartisan staff:
Legislative Office of Program Research Summary document: https://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2017/hoSummary_0630.pdf
Four-Year Budget Outlook: https://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2017/hoOutlook_0630.pdf
Budget bill (PSSB 5883): https://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2017/hoBill_0630.pdf
You may have heard that in the wee hours of July 1, the House of Representatives passed a Capital Budget on a 92-1 vote. It’s been sitting in the Republican-controlled Senate since then, which is why we are still on our third special session. If they don’t bring it to a vote, Washington state won’t have a construction budget this year.
The Capital Budget we sent over to the Senate funds $4.17 billion in construction projects around the state. Those projects are vital to our schools, universities, parks, the environment and our overall economy. Here is what’s at stake:
As stated earlier, we are still in special session, but we are not in Olympia every day. So if there’s something in your mind that you’d like to discuss, feel free to contact my district office at (206) 729-3255.