Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Due to election-year restrictions, this is my first e-mail update since April 8. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I spent the holidays with my family. We had a busy 2014, so it was nice to have everyone in one place a few days.
A lot has happened in the last nine months. In late November, my House Republican colleagues again elected me as their leader. It is an honor to lead such a talented and compassionate group that now includes 47 members (up from 43 members in 2013-14). There are 98 members in the state House of Representatives, which means the Democrats have 51 members. I've been asked recently, “What will the close margin in the state House mean for Washingtonians?” I think it will mean more bipartisanship and a new set of solutions being considered.
The 105-day legislative session begins on Monday, January 12. I've spent the last two months talking to constituents, meeting with groups, and discussing legislative priorities and potential legislation with my House colleagues. All signs point to four major issues dominating the 2015 legislative session:
- What will be done to ease the burdens on working families and improve the economy?
- Will state lawmakers finally prioritize K-12 education in the operating budget, or resort to raising taxes to satisfy the state Supreme Court's McCleary expectations?
- Will there be a transportation package to address infrastructure needs and, if so, how will it be funded? Many Republicans have indicated they would consider it if there are meaningful reforms to the state's transportation system first. Many Democrats have not expressed interest in these reforms.
- Will Gov. Inslee's controversial environmental agenda – including a new fuel mandate and a cap-and-trade system – complicate negotiations for the operating budget and transportation package, and threaten energy prices for families and employers? You can find what the governor is proposing here.
Time will tell what the answers are to these questions. I will be sharing my views on these issues, and others, in future e-mail updates.
Commenting on bills
There are many ways you can be involved with the legislative process. One way is visiting the Capitol. Please contact me if you are ever going to be in Olympia. If you don't have time to come to Olympia, you can comment on proposed bills. All you have to do is go to this website, enter a bill number and click on “Comment on this bill.” It's that simple.
Telephone town hall meeting | Tuesday, February 3
Rep. Elizabeth Scott and I will be hosting a telephone town hall on Tuesday, February 3, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The event allows you to call in, listen to a community conversation and ask us questions if you'd like. The phone number is (360) 350-6256. We hope to hear from you!
We all lead busy lives. It can be hard to follow what's happening in Olympia. I want to make it easier for you to stay connected to the Legislature and state government. I created this handy Get Connected guide to local and state government. Please feel free to print it out and share it with others.
Here are some helpful links you can access through your computer, smart phone or tablet:
- The Capitol Buzz | A weekday round-up of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
- My legislative website | Please consider bookmarking my legislative website at: www.representativedankristiansen.com. Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, e-mail updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills and other information.
- My photo gallery | You can find photos of me on my Flickr account.
- TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- Legislature's website | You can find bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
- Capitol Campus activities and events | Find a calendar of events here.
- Legislative Hotline | 1-800-562-6000.
- State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards and commissions here.
This e-mail update is meant to provide you with succinct, timely and hopefully interesting information. If you know of anyone else who would like to receive this communication, they can do so at the top of my legislative website. Please also know you can unsubscribe to my e-mail updates at any time by going to the bottom of the page of each update that I send out. It's good to be back in touch with you.
In your service,