Washington State House Democrats


Family First Center / 405 HOT Lanes / Budget / Voter Access / Public Records / Survey

Doug Baldwin Family First Center

I am happy to report that we got $1.5 million in the House capital budget proposal for the Family First Center. If these funds are confirmed and added to the $8.5 million in private and public donations, the City of Renton can begin construction of this project.

family first center

The center will be a multi-service, multi-generational community facility that will provide numerous health and recreation opportunities for youth and their families living in the Cascade/Benson Hill area of Renton. It will offer a host of programs including sports, recreation, and health and wellness, as well as classes in technology, music and English as a second language.

This project is a unique partnership between the City of Renton, Doug Baldwin from the Seattle Seahawks, Renton School District, and HealthPoint, a healthcare provider, and now hopefully, the state of Washington!

In the short term, the project will generate construction jobs, and later there’ll be long-term job creation with staff hired for the operations of the facility, recreation activities, administration, custodial and maintenance.

If this funding comes through, the estimated groundbreaking is February 2019, and the project should be completed in 2020.

toll lanes 405

Transportation Budget

I voted no on the transportation budget because it started us down the wrong path on the tolling conversation for I-405 Renton to Bellevue. Upon completion in 2024, it will include two toll lanes that will only be free to carpools with 3+ passengers.  I believe we first need to start by providing free access on those future toll lanes to carpools with 2+ passengers.  If and when the lanes are too congested, only then should we consider moving to 3+ free and excluding the two-person carpools.

While the transportation budget does include $3 million for seismic upgrade and painting work on the Bronson Way Bridge, which the City of Renton will be maintaining and operating, along with the rest of the state route 900 running through downtown.

Supplemental Operating Budget

The supplemental budget adjusts the biennial budget we passed last year and is an opportunity to improve in areas that need more investments. Our proposal includes nearly $1 billion for K-12 education, focusing on funding teacher salaries, but also includes investments in special education. With these additional funds, the state will come into compliance with the McCleary decision.

Additional investments include:

$300 million to expand and improve mental health services and capacity, including investments to combat the opioid crisis and for community supportive housing;

$156 million to fully fund the State Need Grant, making it easier for economically disadvantaged students to access higher education; and

$32 million to restore the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to pre-recession levels, strengthening the safety net.

This budget also includes short-term property tax relief with $1 billion in reductions for millions of families across the state.

Access to Democracy

I am very excited that my bill to pre-register 16 and 17 year olds, which we have passed in the House seven times over the last six years, was finally passed by the Senate and it will go straight to the governor!

This measure will allow our youngest potential voters to pre-register when they get their driving permit or license. That way, when they turn 18, their ballot will automatically start showing up in the mail. It is part of our Access to Democracy Package aimed at enriching our democracy by removing obstacles to the ballot, fostering greater accountability, and giving voters more control.

Democrats believe voting is a right shared by all citizens. Accessing, filling out, and returning one’s ballot should be, if not a civic joy, at least a civic duty that is unencumbered, easy to manage, and as transparent as possible.

The Access to Democracy Package also includes:

voting bills

The Washington Voting Rights Act – Empowers local jurisdictions to create electoral districts, which gives communities the opportunity to elect more reflective and responsive representation.

Automatic Voter Registration – This proposal would automatically register eligible voters through interactions with other government agencies, like getting an enhanced driver’s license. When Oregon recently enacted automatic voter registration, they added nearly 300,000 new voters in just one year.

Same Day Registration – Allows citizens to register to vote on the day of the election. States with same-day voter registration see much higher participation rates than other states.

The Disclose Act — Shines a light on unaccountable campaign dollars, bringing transparency to the political spending of certain non-profit organizations in elections.

SURVEY: Public Records Act

As you may have heard, last week the House and Senate passed a bill that would make, for the first time in decades, many legislative communications available to the public and to the press.

I felt this was a good first step toward more government transparency and voted in favor of the measure, even though the process to get this bill through was extremely rushed, which made me and many of my colleagues uncomfortable.

The responses from my constituents made me realize that passing that bill without allowing it to go through the regular legislative process was a mistake. We can fix mistakes, so I, along with some of my colleagues, asked the governor to veto the measure, and he did, earlier this evening.

We still have to figure out how we’re going to fix the public records issues in the Legislature, but we need a fresh start, it’s the right thing to do.

We urged the governor to convene a task force of news media, open government advocates, legislators, the Governor’s Office and others, to engage in a very public process and bring back recommendations to the legislature next year.

This action will also still allow the court process play out.  I feel very strongly that one of my paramount duties as your legislator is to protect your privacy and not allow private emails you send me to be disclosed without your permission. I value your input, (a key piece of how I make decisions) and I do not want your opinions to be withheld from me because the disclosure rules are changed. Your trusting me with sometimes very private information is something I do not take lightly.

I want to know how you feel about this critical issue. Please take the survey and in question 5 be sure to give me feedback on this or any other issue important to you.

Take survey button

Past Survey Results

I’ve received really positive feedback from many of you on getting the chance to see the survey results and read the comments.

If you did not take the Immigration Issues survey, you can do so now by clicking here.

Responses to the Immigration Issues survey are here.

I always appreciate your taking the time to read my newsletters and respond to my surveys. Keep contacting my office when you have ideas, questions or concerns.


Bergquist Signature