Dear Friends and Neighbors,
2014 Legislature adjourns!
I am pleased to share that the Washington State Legislature has completed the 2014 legislative session on time! We adjourned our 60-day session last evening.
My colleagues and I approved the supplemental operating budget late yesterday afternoon, which makes adjustments to the current 2013-15 budget. The budget measure, Senate Bill 6002, was approved in the House by a vote of 85-13, and by the Senate, 48-1. I voted in favor of it. The supplemental operating budget does not include tax increases (or tax incentives) that some legislators proposed.
2014 supplemental operating budget overview
The $33.8 billion budget makes $155 million of new investments, with about two-thirds of the new dollars directed to education. It provides approximately $64 million more to K-12 education, $35 million more to higher education, and $56 million more to protect our most vulnerable. The budget funds much-needed materials, supplies and operating costs for our K-12 schools, and continues a freeze on college and university tuition increases for the second straight year.
As a result of slightly more revenue flowing into the state than anticipated over the past year and the budget adjustments, the ending-fund balance in this supplemental operating budget is approximately $315 million, which is up by $257 million from the two-year budget approved last June. The financial reserves include the $315 million ending-fund balance, plus $582 million in our budget stabilization account, for a total of $897 million in total reserves.
- House Bill 2105 would make a modest update to Washington's Open Public Meetings Act to require public agencies to post meeting agendas online at least 24 hours in advance. It has passed the Legislature and has been sent to the governor for his signature. I expect the governor to sign the bill soon. Read more about this legislation here.
- House Bill 2106 makes a much-needed update to state election law to relieve counties with partisan county offices of the burden of holding a primary election if only one person files to fill an unexpired term. This bill resolves an issue for Chelan County and many other counties in our state. The photo at right is of Gov. Jay Inslee signing the bill. Read more about the measure here.
I worked hard for many months on both bills and I am glad they received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
Interview with Dr. Gene Sharratt
Earlier this week, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Gene Sharratt about higher education. Dr. Sharratt is a former superintendent of North Central Educational Service District in Wenatchee and is now on the governor's cabinet as the executive director of the Washington Student Achievement Council.
I am pleased to say the Legislature recently approved House Bill 2626 regarding statewide student achievement goals. Washington is among the small number of states that have actually adopted a “road map” of attainment goals for post-secondary education through 2023.
District office to re-open soon!
Now that the 2014 session has come to a close, I will be closing my office in Olympia and re-opening it in Wenatchee. You'll find the district office address and my contact information below. Please contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about state government and legislation.
Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your state representative.
It is my honor to serve you. See you back home!
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000