Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's difficult to believe the 2020 legislative session begins in just a few short weeks. To prepare, I've spent the past several months meeting with constituents, talking to local stakeholders—listening and learning about the issues that matter the most to Central Washington residents. This week, I traveled to Olympia for Committee Assembly days. Lawmakers from across the state are convening to begin discussions on public policy topics that will be debated and decided during the upcoming 2020 legislative session.
What's an advisory vote?
When the Legislature passes a tax increase, an advisory vote automatically gets placed on the next general ballot. Each increase prompts a separate advisory vote. The intention is to keep lawmakers accountable to tax-payers. The results do not change the law. However, advisory votes provide important feedback to legislators on the will of the people.
This November's advisory results
Evaluating this November's advisory results has more meaning this year. Here's why: Many of the tax increases approved by the majority party during the 2019 session were pushed through the legislative process as “title-only bills.” In the final hours of the 2019 session, the majority party used a parliamentary “maneuver” which bypasses the state constitution and cuts the public out of the legislative process. Title-only bills, also called “ghost-bills”, are blank pieces of paper amended with text later and rushed through the legislative process with little to no public scrutiny or comment. Some of these tax bills were approved by the majority party in the middle of the night—midnight to 3 a.m.
That's wrong. The legislative process needs to be open and transparent to the public. Spending and tax decisions need to be fair to Washington's working families. As many of you know, there was plenty of money for the state's budget last year. We entered the 2019 session in the best financial position since the Great Recession, with a surplus of $2.8 billion. There was no need to increase taxes.
Your voice matters!
Most of the tax increases approved last year were met with disapproval by the people of Washington. What does it mean? The voters have spoken—no more tax increases. Now, it's up to lawmakers to respond. As your state representative, I'll continue to do all I can to fight for accountability and fiscal restraint in Olympia.
House Page Program
Did you know the state House of Representatives has a page program? The program gives students a unique educational opportunity to participate in the legislative process. This is a great way for youth, ages 15 to 17 years, to get involved in their state government. If you know a student that might be interested, please click here for more information.
Stay in touch!
I work for you! Please reach out to my office if you have questions about state government-related matters. I look forward to hearing from you.
It's an honor to serve you.