A message from Marcus: Committee Assembly Days, Spokane investments, executive order on vaping

Mobile office candid

Thanks for stopping by our mobile office!

Our most recent mobile office at the Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market was a great success. Thank you to everyone who came by!

We asked constituents about the priorities that matter to them most. I had conversations on issues ranging from land use and housing to transportation and green energy. I always enjoy the opportunity to connect with people in our community. Connecting individually helps me better understand the issues important to Spokane and allows me to better serve the community.

Committee Assembly Days: A preview to the 2020 session

Every fall, state representatives from around the state meet in Olympia for “Committee Assembly Days.” Lasting several days, this meeting of committees in-between legislative sessions is an opportunity to hear important upcoming topics and allows us to hit the ground running when session begins in January. September 12 and 13 brought our first round of committee days, while the second is set for November 21 and 22.

As your state representative, I sit on the House Health Care & Wellness, Capital Budget, Rules and Transportation committees. In Transportation, I heard from experts about the Target Zero campaign. Our state’s road infrastructure shouldn’t just keep people and goods moving, but should also ensure the safety of all who use it. Target Zero aims to reduce traffic deaths to zero by the year 2030.

I reviewed the data and trends presented by experts with the Department of Licensing, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission. What has become apparent is there has been an uptick in traffic fatalities, injuries, and collisions overall. Target Zero has done a great job of identifying the reasons for this uptick, and what it says about our state.

Washingtonians rank among the best at using seat belts. However, impaired and distracted driving, as well as speeding, were the three leading causes of traffic fatalities in our state. This important research will inform many of the decisions made in this committee during the 2020 legislative session. Keeping our roads and families safe is vital. I look forward to collaborating with people in our community to keep Spokane and our state moving forward safely.

Celebrating in Spokane

Rep. Marcus Riccelli

In recent weeks, I have had the honor to celebrate multiple successes along with community members. From hitting a historical half-way point in the long-awaited North Spokane Corridor, to bold investments in higher education right here in Spokane, there’s a lot to be excited about.

Rep. Riccelli at podium during SFCC event

At Spokane Falls Community College, I joined other community leaders on September 25th to talk about our wins in higher education. Waiving tuition in our public colleges for families making 55% of the state’s Median Family Income (about $50,000 or less for a family of four) was one of many victories we celebrated. Known as the Workforce Education Investment Act, this legislation is particularly meaningful here in Spokane, where several public colleges are located and families are among the most economically disadvantaged in the state. Post-high school training creates opportunity for a better life for many in our district. Everyone deserves a fair shot, regardless which zip code they call home.

Then on Friday, we celebrated a major milestone in the progress of the North Spokane Corridor (NSC). Thanks to significant investments from our Connecting Washington package, this area now receives $1.30 back in investment for every $1.00 in taxes contributed. In prior years, that investment had only been 80 cents back on each dollar.

We know the NSC will expand our employment opportunities, move freight, and reduce travel time by several million hours each year. It also will have a positive environmental impact reducing emissions, improving air quality and supporting alternative transportation. The NSC will even reduce traffic collisions, which sets our previously-discussed Target Zero efforts up for success, as we look to eliminate dangers on our roadways.

I am proud to have helped put this project on a path to finally being more than half complete, with the remainder on track.

Governor takes executive action on vaping

On September 27, Governor Inslee issued an executive order regarding certain vaping products. Seven cases of severe lung illness tied to vaping have been reported in our state so far. As a member of the House Health & Wellness Committee, reports of vaping-related illness, especially among young people, are deeply concerning to me. I will be looking closely at any vaping legislation that comes before the committee in the 2020 session.

You can read my response to the governor’s action in this article from the Spokesman-Review.

It’s an honor to serve you. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.

Best regards,