Working together with House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen and newly appointed Republican Sen. Keith Wagoner, former mayor of Sedro-Woolley, you can be assured of strong leadership and representation with your 39th District team. This will be important because we have many critical issues to address in the coming weeks.
Update | Capital budget
As I reported to you last week, the capital budget and a solution for Hirst continue to top the list of hot issues this session. Late Thursday, the House approved the long-awaited bipartisan 2017-19 capital budget. With $4.17 billion in total spending and $2.72 billion in bonds, the newly approved budget also leaves $211 million for supplemental capital budget planning in 2018.
Lawmakers hammered out an agreement in 2017 with well thought out priorities and financing for the state's infrastructure needs. As a member of the House Capital Budget Committee, the real challenge in the delay of the budget's approval was keeping that good plan intact. I'm glad we were able to bring this forward with only minor adjustments.
This capital budget plan makes solid investments in K-12 education facilities and helps boost our mental health care net. The School Construction Assistance Program funds ($933 million) will help address a record number of local school bond levy needs across the state. Additionally, $35 million is allocated for small, rural district modernization grants. It's a good plan for our state and for the people of the 39th District.
Update | Hirst
For over a year the Department of Ecology, the Governor's office, and a members of the Legislature have been discussing legislation that would allow counties to rely on the Department of Ecology's rules to manage water, and authorize new wells to be built.
The negotiations for Hirst resulted in a bill that is better for some districts than it was in its original form. When lawmakers in the House voted on the latest proposal, I had to say “no.”
Senate Bill 6091 will create several new restrictions in many parts of our district for new permit-exempt wells, including:
- Limits to maximum annual average withdrawal of 950 gallons per day.
- State fee of $500 ($350 to the department and $150 to the permitting authority) at time of building permit. [There is an existing well fee of $200 not in this bill.]
- Manage stormwater runoff using low-impact development on a case-case-by case basis.
- If there is a drought order, limit to 350 gallons per day for indoor use except to maintain a fire control buffer.
- Will have to go through a watershed planning process that will result in a new rule. Created from a collaboration with a committee that includes local governments, tribes, and water and agricultural interests.
- The plan should include projects that will measure, protect, and enhance instream resources and improve watershed functions.
- The plan needs to be approved by the Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Program (WREP) by June 30, 2021 or the Department of Ecology will submit the plan to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board for technical review and recommendations for a final draft plan.
- The Department of Ecology must initiate rule making six months after a plan is adopted to incorporate recommendations and must have them completed/adopted within 2 years.
The new Hirst proposal was approved by the Senate with a vote of 35-14 and the House with a vote 66-30. It now heads to the governor's desk for signature.
Again, this was not the outcome I hoped for our district. I will continue to do all I can to ensure our District is not treated unfairly. If you have any questions or concerns about Hirst, please feel free to contact my office. My contact information is listed below.
Town Hall | Save the date
Sultan Town Hall from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Arlington's Hadley Hall from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Please stay tuned! I will be sending out more information on our Town Hall meetings in the weeks to come.
Staying connected to your state Legislature
There are a number of ways to stay in touch with your state Legislature. Each Friday afternoon an audio clip called the Capitol Calendar is available for up to date information on events at the Capitol.
During the legislative session, I will be sending out frequent email updates such as this one to keep you informed of the activities in the Legislature. If you know anyone else who would like to receive this communication, please tell them to go to my website and sign-up for my updates.
When you visit my website, you can also see the bills I've sponsored and co-sponsored by clicking “Sponsored Bills” on my page.
Of course, the easiest way to let me know how you feel about issues before the Legislature is to contact me and my legislative assistant, Brenda, directly. You can reach us by calling (360) 786-7816 or sending an email to Carolyn.Eslick@leg.wa.gov.
Here are some other helpful links you can access through your computer, smart phone or tablet:
- The Capitol Buzz | A weekday round-up of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
- My legislative website | Please consider bookmarking my legislative website at: www.RepresentativeCarolynEslick.com. Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, e-mail updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills and other information.
- My photo gallery | You can find photos of me on my Flickr account.
- TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- Legislature's website | You can find bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
- Capitol Campus activities and events | Find a calendar of events here.
- Legislative Hotline | 1-800-562-6000.
- State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards and commissions here.
I encourage you to reach out if you have any questions about the progress being made during the session, want to know what's happening with a specific bill, or have policy or reform ideas for next year's legislative session. My direct contact information is below and I look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Olympia!