We are about to enter the fourth week of this short, 60-day session. Some key dates for moving and approving legislative measures are coming up. Policy cutoff is Friday, Feb. 2. This is the deadline for bills without a fiscal impact (no cost to the budget) to be approved and moved out of policy committees. Fiscal committee cutoff is just four days later on Monday, Feb. 6. Any bills with a fiscal impact to the budget must pass out of appropriations committees (Appropriations, Capital Budget and Transportation).
At this rapid pace, it's important to ensure the bills I've introduced are heard in the committees they have been assigned to as quickly as possible. Listed below are some of the bills I've sponsored that are working their way through the process.
Public hearing | Helping cities, towns and counties
Because of the cost of maintenance, many cities consider alternatives for funding parks and recreation centers. In order to share resources, some form districts. Monroe is within the East County Park and Recreation District, but currently receives no funding for Monroe's parks and recreation programs. The city of Monroe came to see me because they need to find alternative funding for its parks maintenance and operations. This means withdrawing from the recreation district. However, once a park and recreation district is established there is no mechanism in statute to change its boundaries.
My bill would authorize a city, town or county to de-annex a park from a recreation district. Geoffrey Thomas, the mayor of Monroe, came to Olympia and testified in a committee hearing on behalf of this measure.
Supporting economic growth | Licenses for “paint and sip” businesses
Paint and sip businesses burst on the scene a few years ago. Since then, the popularity of the concept continues to grow. Customers are supplied with paint, canvases, glitter and time away from their electronic devices to sit and create. The bill I've sponsored would establish a process for on-premises retail alcohol licenses for businesses that participate in art activities like painting, pottery or sculpting. Local business owners, Leslie and David Willmann, came to testify this week on behalf of this measure.
Update | Notification for communities prior to the relocation of wildlife
Residents should be notified before wildlife is transferred into their area. Right now, public hearings are often held hundreds of miles away from the communities most impacted by the relocation of these animals. This session, I've sponsored a bill that would require the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to alert a community's elected leaders and hold a public hearing before moving wildlife into a new location within the state.
I'm happy to report House Bill 2276 was approved by House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 23 with a vote of 15-0. The bill now heads to the Rules Committee for consideration by the entire House chamber.
WDFW will be holding a public meeting at the Skykomish Valley Recreation Coalition on Friday, Feb. 2. This is a meeting for people of our district with economic development and recreation interests in the Hwy 2 corridor from Monroe to Index. The meeting is from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and is open to the public.
Working for you | Bills I'm sponsoring this session
For a complete list of bills I'm sponsoring or co-sponsoring for the 2018 session click here. Please do not hesitate to call my office if you would like status on a specific piece of legislation.
Town Hall | Save the date
Save the date! Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, and I will be hosting Town Hall events in Sultan and Arlington, Saturday, Feb. 17. Sultan Town Hall from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Arlington's Hadley Hall from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
I encourage you to reach out if you have any questions, comments or concerns. If you are planning a trip to Olympia, feel free to stop by or call ahead to schedule a meeting with me. My direct contact information is below. I look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Olympia!