Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now into the second week of the 60-day 2016 legislative session. While this is technically a short session, there are several key issues we'll be dealing with over the next two months. As usual, I'll send these e-newsletters to keep you informed so you can stay involved. Feel free to forward on to your friends and family.
K-12 Education: McCleary and Charter Schools
We made historic investments in K-12 education last year with full-day kindergarten, reducing class sizes and giving teachers cost-of-living increases. We currently have a bipartisan workgroup to determine how much local school districts rely on local levies for their “basic education” needs. I expect this levy issue to be addressed during the budget-writing 2017 legislative session. Regardless of how the Legislature choses to ultimately address the local levy piece in the future, equally important in my mind is the protection of the local taxpayers footing the bill.
Unfortunately, the state Supreme Court once again overstepped their bounds with last year's ruling against the voter-approved public charter school system. There is bipartisan support in the Legislature to arrive at a solution. I'm signed on as a cosponsor of HB 2367 which has 24 Republican and Democrat sponsors. However, the governor has not expressed his support. To watch a quick video on the charter school issue along with our solution, click here to watch the ranking Republican on the House Education Committee, Rep. Chad Magendanz.
This is a supplemental budget year, which means we shouldn't be enacting new policies or spending measures that have significant carry-forward costs. A supplemental budget is for small tweaks to the two-year operating budget passed by the Legislature last year. The governor's supplemental budget plan calls for more tax increases on things like bottled water. However, I don't see much serious desire from his own party to try and raise taxes this year. I do anticipate there may be the need to tap into the state's Rainy Day Fund (expected to reach nearly a billion dollars by the end of 2017) in order to help pay for the devastating wildfires from this past summer. The Rainy Day Fund is for emergencies – like the Oso Landslide and Carlton Complex Fire from two years ago, and the many fires we experienced this year – not state government daily expenses.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a yearly attack by some in Olympia on our Second Amendment rights. With President Obama and Gov. Jay Inslee each issuing executive orders dealing with guns, there is starting to be some momentum for further gun control efforts in the Legislature. From legislation to allow local governments the ability to regulate firearms, to the misguided effort to outlaw “assault” rifles and high-capacity magazines, please be assured I will not support ANY proposal that seeks to degrade, limit or alter the Second Amendment. I truly believe “the Second protects the First.”
I recommend you download this list of gun-related bills to stay up-to-date on firearms legislation this session. Several of these bills are receiving a public hearing on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 1:30 in the House Judiciary Committee. You can call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-600 to leave a message for the chair of that committee, Rep. Laurie Jinkins.
Also, here are some ways to stay involved in your state government:
- Capitol Buzz – A daily, electronic clip service of House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
- The Current – An online publication from House Republicans to include you in the legislative process. Click here to subscribe.
- Capitol Report – A three-minute, weekly radio program (aired weekly on KOMW in Omak and KCVL in Colville) that discusses current issues of the 7th District and the state. Click here to sign up for my RSS podcast. You can also get all of the Washington House Republican Capitol Report programs on your iPhone and iPad through the iTunes store by clicking here.
- Check out my website – www.representativeshellyshort.com. From this link, you can get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- Video updates – Every other week, I record a new legislative video update with the latest news from the Legislature. You can view my reports here on YouTube.
- TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live. You can also watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet: www.tvw.org
- Legislature's website – You can get bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about state government issues. It's always good to hear from the folks back home. And if you plan on visiting Olympia, please make sure to contact my Legislative Assistant, Jacquelin, so I know when you might be in my office. I'd love to sit down for a few minutes to chat.
427A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7908 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000