The legislature is back in action.
The 60-day session kicked off on Monday, and a lot has already happened. Here's an idea of what to expect between now and March 8.
Democrats are in charge
After a special election in Northeast King County last fall, Democrats will be setting the agenda in the Senate, House and governor's mansion. That doesn't mean they'll have all the power, however. It takes a sixty percent vote in both houses to approve long-term borrowing and to spend out of the rainy day fund.
I believe in a responsible governing, and it is my hope that the majority party will take their new role seriously and govern thoughtfully.
New taxes, Hirst and the capital budget
These are the policies you'll hear about most this year. The governor would like to enact a $1.5 billion gas tax, on top of the gas tax increase passed just four years ago, and the governor's proposed tax will not even be spent on transportation. I think that is short-sighted and does not take into consideration the transportation needs of East King County.
The capital budget remains on hold until a solution to the Hirst water well issue can be reached. I am committed to passing both a real solution for the Hirst issue and a strong capital budget.
Transparency, accountability and fixing ST3
These will be my priorities this year.
Prior to session, I introduced the Legislative Transparency Act to remove the special exemption state lawmakers receive from making their calendars and communications available to the public. The exemption is wrong and I'm committed to creating a more transparent government that is accountable to the people.
Sound Transit 3 needs more attention as well. From the inflated system used to calculate your car's value to the property taxes levied on some residents who do not live completely within Sound Transit boundaries, I'll reaffirm my efforts to fix ST3 in a way that's fair to both taxpayers and commuters.
It's truly an honor to be serving you again. I'm here to listen, help and lead.Please call and email me as often as you can. I'll stay in touch as the session unfolds and will rely on your feedback to continue representing you in Olympia.