Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're nearing the end of our fourth week of session, and there's a lot to talk about. That's why I'll be hosting a telephone town hall TONIGHT from 6-7 p.m. with my fellow 2nd District Rep. Andrew Barkis. Andrew and I will be providing an update on the latest from the Capitol, and taking your questions on a wide variety of legislative issues. The call-in number is (253) 244-3374. Please join us if you can!
In my latest video update, I discuss the Hirst water rights bill and the 2017-19 capital budget that were both signed into law after more than a year of tough negotiations. For a list of local projects that will be funded by the $4.17 billion spending plan, click here. In the update, I also discuss the importance of crafting a fiscally responsible supplemental operating budget that pays off debt and pays down items that will become future obligations for the state. Please click on the image below to watch:
As I mentioned in my last email update, I recently learned the suicide rate for people who work in the farming, food, and forestry industries is the highest of any occupational group in the United States, including veterans. House Bill 2671 would require the State Office of Rural Health to convene a task force on behavioral health and suicide prevention in these industries. Beyond the task force, we are also looking to establish a pilot program in two counties to provide free behavioral health and suicide prevention resources for workers, with hopes we can eventually broaden the scope to all rural residents. This bill was voted out of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee yesterday.
Recent radio/podcast appearances
In the past couple of weeks, I've had the opportunity to appear on three different radio shows to discuss the 2018 session. I also recently recorded a fun podcast where people can get to know a little bit more about me on both a professional level as House Republican Floor Leader, and on a personal level as a history buff and lifelong farmer.
You can click on each of the images below to listen to these interviews.
House Republican Leadership Podcast:
I've introduced House Bill 2902 this session because I am deeply concerned we're on the brink of losing our salmon runs on the Nisqually. These runs have been around for hundreds of generations, but are at risk of being completely wiped out in a single generation. My bill would appropriate $50 million (of the $700 million in extra revenue we have due to the strength of our economy) for fish passage barrier removal projects across the state.
In 2014, I introduced legislation to create the Fish Barrier Removal Board. Members of the board include the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington State Department of Transportation, cities, counties and tribal governments. At the time of the board's creation, it was believed 14,000 man-made, complete and partial fish passage barriers existed. Due to the partnerships established by the creation of the board, we now know that number is closer to 40,000.
It is clear we must work much harder on effective, rather than symbolic, recovery efforts. Saving our salmon runs will ensure we're leaving a better world for our children, and our efforts will also play a key role in rebuilding the rural economy. House Bill 2902 was voted out of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee earlier today.
Here are some ways you can continue to stay connected this session:
As we continue to move through this 60-day session, please continue getting in touch with your questions, comments and concerns. My contact information is below.
It is an honor to serve you.