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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This past week has been quite intensive in the Legislature. March 13 was the floor cutoff, meaning House policy bills had to pass out of the House by that date or they are considered “dead” for the session. The same deadline applied in the Senate with Senate bills. So we were working late nights and on Saturday, debating and passing hundreds of bills.

And then came Tuesday, March 12, the day before cutoff, when Speaker Frank Chopp declared he was going to bring out the universal background checks gun control bill (House Bill 1588) to the House floor, once he secured 50 votes. After passing a few bills that morning, Democrats went into a caucus meeting to secure the 50th vote. But it became evident there was a chasm of disagreement between liberal and conservative House Democrats. The conservative Democrats favored adding a referendum clause to the bill, which would have sent the issue to the voters in November. That lost the liberals' votes. When they removed the option of a referendum clause, that lost the conservative Democrats' votes. After caucusing nearly all day without securing the 50th vote, Democrats emerged from their caucus room and declared the bill dead. It was a major loss for Speaker Chopp, but a victory for Second Amendment rights proponents.

On Thursday, House Republicans released the first proposed budget of the 2013 legislative session – a plan that would fund education first in a separate budget before any other programs.  I invite you to read details of this plan below.

This coming Wednesday, the state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council will release the quarterly revenue forecast. This will provide the baseline upon which the state's two-year operating budget is crafted. We'll likely see a budget proposal released by the Senate at the end of this month.

I welcome your comments. You'll find my contact information at the bottom of this e-mail update. Please do not hit “reply” to this report, as it will not reach me. AlexanderKristiansen

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve you!

Fund education FIRST!

One of the bills I introduced several years ago was a proposal to create a separate education budget and fund it first before other state programs. That idea has since gone on to become one of the House Republicans' cornerstone reforms for the state budget. Last Thursday, House Republican Budget Leader Rep. Gary Alexander unveiled a “Fund Education First” budget that would meet the expectations of the state constitution and the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision.

The stand-alone, education budget would increase K-12 funding from $13.6 billion in the current biennium to $15.1 billion in the 2013-15 fiscal cycle. It would also include accountability measures, high standards, and protect taxpayers by not raising taxes.

The Washington State Constitution says it is the state's “paramount” duty to amply provide for the educational needs of children within its borders. Paramount means “first and foremost.” I believe if we are to live up to that duty, we must fund education FIRST!

Read more about our plan here.

Fix it BEFORE you fund it!
This week's transportation reform: Streamlined permitting

In my previous e-mail update, I talked about the systematic problems within the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), including leaky pontoons, faulty ferries and ramps to no where. I also noted that it costs twice as much in Washington to build a highway than other states. Before we ask citizens for more money for transportation, we should get to the bottom of these problems first. In other words, “Fix it BEFORE you fund it!”

House Republicans have released a plan of reforms that we believe should be enacted BEFORE seeking more revenue for transportation. Go here to read our entire plan.

Today, I'd like to focus on one of the six reforms we have proposed:

  • STREAMLINE THE PERMITTING PROCESS: House Bill 1236 would require state agencies to make a permit decision in 90 days or the permit is granted.

Washington's permitting process unnecessarily delays projects, increases project costs, creates unnecessary uncertainty, stirs hostility toward government, leads to angry applicants and encourages project opponents to manipulate the permitting system. All too often, permitting becomes a process based on politics, not practicality. For example, it only took months for a company to secure the necessary permits to break ground in 2006 on a biodiesel production plant in Hoquiam. By contrast, it took two decades and a DupontInterchangechange of ownership before permits were issued for a gold mine that would create 200 jobs in Eastern Washington. The difference? The biodiesel plant had the support of environmentalists, but the Buckhorn mine, which would supply needed jobs in the economically depressed town of Republic, faced fierce environmental opposition.

Naysayers say transportation projects are too complicated to avoid permitting delays. But I would point to the design-build process of the Center Drive Interchange in Dupont (about 10 miles north of Olympia). In the summer of 1995, the Intel Corporation announced its decision to locate a new research, development and manufacturing design facility in Northwest Landing (a large Weyerhaeuser-owned community near Dupont.) Intel would locate there if WSDOT could build the Center Drive interchange in a short time frame. A typical WSDOT project is built in 50 months, but Intel wanted it done in 18 months, or it would locate elsewhere. After negotiations, WSDOT promised to deliver in 28 months and Intel agreed. Ultimately, the project was finished in 26 months – two years faster than a typical WSDOT project – and it cost $3 million less than anticipated. Part of the reason was that the permitting process was put on the fast track, and the environmental, bridge design and geometric design processes were done simultaneously, rather than separately.

House Bill 1236 would add certainty and eliminate unnecessary delays in the permitting process, reduce costs, and stimulate economic activity that could result in the creation of new jobs.

This week in Olympia!

Now that the first floor cutoff (March 13) has come and gone, the Senate is now holding public hearings on House bills, and the House is now holding public hearings on Senate bills. Below is the schedule for public hearings in the House committees this week. I encourage you to become involved in your state Legislature. If you'd like to learn more about how to testify in committee, go here. Click on the links below to get information about each bill. For your convenience, I have highlighted in yellow those bills and issues that are most significant to the 39th District.

TUESDAY, MARCH 19

Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee – House Hearing Room E – 10 a.m.

  • Tax Exemption for Veterans – Public Hearing and Executive Session on Senate Bill 5072
  • Walla Walla Veterans' Home – Public Hearing and Executive Session on Senate Bill 5691

Technology and Economic Development Committee – House Hearing Room C – 10 a.m.

  • Providing Information to Businesses – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5680
  • Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5784

Government Accountability and Oversight Committee – House Hearing Room C – 1:30 p.m.

Health Care and Wellness Committee – House Hearing Room B – 1:30 p.m.

  • Buying Health Insurance from Out of-State Carriers – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5540
  • Hospitals Reporting Treatment for Bullet Wounds, Gunshot Wounds and Stab Wounds – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5305

Local Government Committee – House Hearing Room D – 1:30 p.m.

Education Committee – House Hearing Room A – 1:30 p.m.

  • Improving Student Performance in 3rd Grade Reading – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5237

Transportation Committee – House Hearing Room B – 3:30 p.m.

  • Lane and Parking Preferences to Motorcycles – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5142Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20

Labor and Workforce Development Committee – House Hearing Room D – 8 a.m.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee – House Hearing Room B – 8 a.m.

  • Protecting Domestic Animals Against Gray Wolf Attacks – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5187
  • Acquisition of Habitat & Recreation Lands by the State – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5054
  • Derelict and Abandoned Vessels in State Waters – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5663

Public Safety Committee – House Hearing Room D – 1:30 p.m.

  • Statute of Limitations RE: Sexual Abuse of a Child – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5100

Transportation Committee – House Hearing Room B – 3:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, MARCH 21

Education Committee – House Hearing Room A – 8 a.m.

Early Learning and Human Services Committee – House Hearing Room C – 8 a.m.

Government Accountability and Oversight Committee – House Hearing Room E – 9 a.m.

Environment Committee – House Hearing Room C – 10 a.m.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee – House Hearing Room B – 1:30 p.m.

  • Water Resources/Vitality of Local Economies – Public Hearing on Senate Bill 5219

Transportation Committee – House Hearing Room B – 3:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 22

Finance Committee – House Hearing Room A – 8 a.m.

  • Cannabis Taxation – Implementation, Forecasting Revenues, and Lessons Learned from the Taxation of Liquor, Cigarettes, and Other Regulated Products – Work Session

Education Committee – House Hearing Room A – 1:30 p.m.

 

Events at the State Capitol

We have many groups that visit the state Capitol during the legislative session and participate in events. Here's a look at public events planned this week.

TUESDAY, MARCH 19
Gifted Education Day in Washington 2013
9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sponsored by: Washington Coalition For Gifted Education
Legislative Building – Columbia room
Estimated attendance: 350

State Parks Centennial 2013 — 100th birthday reception
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Sponsored by: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Legislative Bldg – 3rd Floor Mezzanine, Legislative Bldg – State Reception Rm (G)Capitol
Estimated attendance: 100 to 150

Legislative lobbying
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Sponsored by: Our Economic Future Coalition
General Administration Auditorium
Estimated attendance: 20

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20
Poison Prevention Week – Mr. Yuk
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sponsored by: Washington Poison Center
Legislative Bldg – 3rd Floor Mezzanine, Legislative Building – 2nd Floor Mezzanine, Legislative Building – North Foyer, Legislative Building – North Steps, Legislative Building – Rotunda, Legislative
Estimated attendance: 10

DDD – No Paid Services Awareness
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sponsored by: King County Parent Coalition and The Arc of Washington
West Campus – other, West Campus – Tivoli Fountain North Lawn, West Campus – Tivoli Fountain South Lawn
Estimated attendance: 75

ACS CAN Lobby Day
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sponsored by: American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Columbia Room
Estimated attendance: 100

THURSDAY, MARCH 21
Purple Presence
8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sponsored by: SEIU Healthcare 775 NW
Legislative Building – Columbia Room
Estimated attendance: 25

Legislative Reception
3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sponsored by: State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Legislative Building – Columbia Room
Estimated attendance: 100

Ecosystem Coordination Board
9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sponsored by: Puget Sound Partnership
General Administration Auditorium
Estimated attendance: 75

FRIDAY, MARCH 22
Catholic Advocacy Day
9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sponsored by: Washington State Catholic Conference
Legislative Building – Columbia Room
Estimated attendance: 180

In your service,

Dan Kristiansen

State Representative Dan Kristiansen, 39th Legislative District
RepresentativeDanKristiansen.com
426A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
dan.kristiansen@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7967 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000