Washington State House Democrats


Rep. Blake’s 2/16/18 Update: Officer Schlimme / Economic Development in Rural WA / College Bound / Corporate Crime

Video Update: Officer Matthew E. Schlimme

The House passed House Joint Memorial 4011 earlier this week on a unanimous vote. I introduced this memorial to petition the federal government, which is currently building a new fleet of Coast Guard cutters, to name one of the cutters after Petty Officer Third Class Matthew E. Schlimme of the United States Coast Guard.


On February 12, 1997 Petty Officer Schlimme and his crew were called to rescue an imperiled vessel, the Gale Runner, stranded in the Pacific two miles south of the Quillayute River. Shortly before 1 a.m., Schlimme and his crew set out on 25-foot seas in driving wind and rain. En route to the dismasted ship, Shlimme’s craft rolled three times, and he was thrown from the vessel into the roiling ocean.  While the two persons on the Gale Runner survived, Shlimme did not make it back to shore.

Our petition to the federal government is to recognize the valor and commitment Officer Schlimme displayed on that fateful night. May we honor his sacrifice solemnly, and may we live our lives with his fortitude and courage.

Click on the image to watch the video.

Opportunity and hope for rural Washington

I’ve been working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle on legislation to help create jobs and foster economic development in timber and farm country. I’m happy to report that these bills are moving forward in both chambers. Learn more about our efforts by checking out our rural agenda.

When we refer to the state here, in the House, we say “One Washington,” because it’s wrong to see our state as divided, or to push the false notion that some parts of our state have to lose if others are to win. The goal is for our entire state to succeed, and when we work together, Democrats and Republicans, we find good solutions that help families and small businesses in every corner of the state.

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While we’re on the topic of economic development, I’d like to tell you about a couple of bills I sponsored to give fairs across the state an economic boost.

One of the measures designates fairs as economic drivers for their communities, and the other one ensures funding for their operations.

Read more about these bills in this press release.

Making college more affordable for Washington families

Despite Democratic efforts to freeze or cut college tuition for all students, the cost of higher education is still too high.

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We have programs in place to help low-income families, for example, the College Bound Scholarship created by the Legislature in 2007, has made it possible for many kids to get a higher education.

However, there are two main problems with the program: eligibility is determined only in junior high, and it excludes students whose families make slightly more than what the law defines as low-income, which keeps college out of reach for these struggling families when a little help could go a long way.

I believe we can and must do better for Washington families, so I am supporting a bill that fixes both problems. It expands College Bound Scholarship eligibility for students from seventh all the way to tenth grade, and it guarantees some financial help for students whose families make “too much” to be considered low-income, yet not enough to afford full college tuition.


Taking on Corporate Crime

In 1924, the state created laws to punish corporate entities that broke laws. When a corporation committed a crime, the corporate officers could be charged. But there needed to be penalties for the business as well. So, nearly 100 years ago, a fine was created and the maximum fine was set at $10,000. That law hasn’t changed since.

These days, $10,000 is nothing to an international, major corporation. Breaking the law has virtually no consequence to their bottom line. It’s ridiculous that the law hasn’t been updated in nearly a century. That’s why I’m proud to have voted for HB 2362, which increases the criminal fines for corporate entities up to $1,000,000.

It’s time we start holding corporations accountable when they do something that causes harm to the public.

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. I will continue working on passing legislation that grows the economy, gives all Washingtonians the opportunity to attend college, and holds big business to account.

If you need more information on these or any other issues, or you have feedback for me, please contact my office.

Have a great weekend!

Blake Sig