Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2016 legislative session began today, and I am back in Olympia to serve you. In accordance with the state constitution, regular legislative sessions begin on the second Monday in January each year. Each legislative cycle and budget is two years. In odd-numbered years – the “budget year” – the legislative session is scheduled for 105 days. In even-numbered years – the “supplemental budget year” the legislature session is scheduled for only 60 days.
Starting with a strong bipartisan budget
The 2015-17 operating budget approved last year is strongly supported by both sides of the aisle. Major adjustments to the budget are not expected, but the legislature will be making some updates and corrections, which is the intent of the supplemental budget process.
The $38 billion two-year state operating budget funds the general operations of state government, including education, health care, public safety and social services. This budget includes an additional $2.9 billion for K-12 education, and decreases class sizes in grades K-3, expands full-day kindergarten. The current budget provided the largest increase in Washington state education spending in more than 30 years and cuts college tuition for the first time since the 1970s.
After another difficult summer of wildfires, I do expect the legislature to make updates for wildfire funding. I will make sure to keep you updated on our wildfire-related discussions this session. Thankfully, our area has received significantly more rain and snow this winter than in the past couple years. I hope this continues so that next summer is not as dry and devastating as the ones in our recent past. My continued thoughts and prayers are with those families that are still recovering from what we experienced.
It is truly an honor to serve as your State Representative. If you have any questions or comments, please contact my office anytime at (360) 786-7832, toll-free at (800) 562-6000, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are planning a trip to Olympia and would like to visit the Capitol Building, I would be happy to connect with your group when you are here.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia.
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000