Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This year's legislative session is underway, and I am back in Olympia working hard on your behalf. Here are a few things to highlight from the first three weeks of session.
Protecting Yakima Valley hospital access after Astria closure
The closure of Astria Medical Center in Yakima was a blow to our community. More than 450 people lost their jobs, and other hospitals are now having trouble accommodating more patients. The Yakima Valley can't afford to lose two hospitals in one year. My legislation, House Bill 2729, would increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Toppenish Hospital up to the rate nearby hospitals already receive. This would help prevent a second local hospital closure in 2020.
I'll fight the low-carbon fuel standard and any other tax increase
Gov. Jay Inslee says a low-carbon fuel standard is one of his priorities this year. This is just a fancy name for a new gas tax. Washington is already bringing in more tax revenue than ever. Our state's coffers are overflowing. We should be cutting taxes, building up our rainy day account, and using existing resources to fund priorities like special education, homelessness prevention, and road and water infrastructure. We shouldn't be finding new ways to tax people. I will oppose new property taxes, any unconstitutional state-income tax, and the low-carbon fuel tax.
Helping military spouses work in Washington
Washington state requires military spouses to jump through hoops to get work licenses even if they have a valid license from another state. This is wrong. House Bill 2534 would create temporary licenses for military spouses so they could keep working while they apply for a permanent one. Military families sacrifice right alongside their Service members. We need to do everything we can to welcome them to Washington and reduce barriers that add costs to their transition.
I would like to streamline this process for every new Washington resident who needs a work license. Unfortunately, the Legislature does not share my view. At least we can take a step in the right direction by supporting military spouses.
As always, I welcome your feedback. Please contact my office via email, telephone, letter or in person. My contact information is below.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you.