Opinion editorial by Rep. Dan Kristiansen: The homestretch of the 2014 legislative session
We are now in the last third of the 60-day legislative session. In these last two weeks, state lawmakers will need to make mid-course adjustments to the state's two-year operating, capital and transportation budgets. There are also several pieces of legislation in play in the House and Senate that would impact our economy, schools, health care system, community safety, agriculture community, and the Washington State Department of Transportation. While it appears that a transportation tax package will not move forward this legislative session, anything is possible from now through March 13.
Olympia should never feel like a distant or scary place. We truly have an open citizen Legislature that allows you to be involved with the issues you care about the most. And there are different ways for you to participate in the legislative process.
One way of getting involved is testifying or commenting on a bill. It's not as hard as you might think.
A constituent contacted me recently about legislation that she opposed. I encouraged her to come testify on the measure and share why it would hurt her small business. She came to the Capitol and testified against the bill. Her input provided me a different perspective on the issue and I appreciate it.
If you don't want to testify in a committee hearing, but want to watch one – it's easy to do. You can watch committee hearings and chamber sessions online by going to tvw.org. You can also learn more about visiting the Capitol campus and watching legislative action up close by going to leg.wa.gov.
If you want to comment on a bill, simply go to apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo, enter a four-digit bill number and click on “Comment on this bill.”
If you'd like to just pick up the phone and share your views with a state lawmaker on an issue, you can always call the toll-free legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.
Finally, if you'd like to sign-up for an e-mail that provides you current news stories on legislative issues each weekday, please visit: houserepublicans.wa.gov/capitol-buzz
There are many ways for you to be involved in your citizen Legislature. I hope you take advantage of your opportunities. Please let me know if you ever have any questions.