Floor action alert!: Thursday, Democrats voted down a budget amendment that would increase transparency on settlements to lawsuits against the state. We should shine a light on what state agencies are doing wrong to generate large settlements.
- Represents nearly 20-percent growth in state spending, which is the highest in 30 years
- Increases spending $1.1 billion in this biennium alone
- Spreads the extra revenue thinly across various agencies, like peanut butter, rather than provide substantive help to anyone
- Spends the entire $2.4 billion surplus down to $0
- Contains 13 different tax increases, raising $26 billion over 10 years
- Puts $100 million into a “climate resiliency” account, but without any real guidelines for how the money will be spent
- $24 million per biennium for skilled-nursing facilities, although this is a fraction of what is needed to save them from closing their doors
- $13 million to exempt behavioral health providers from the business tax increase, but nothing to exempt health-care providers such as private-practice physicians
- Expands postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year after delivery
- Increases Medicaid rates for primary-care providers
- $50 million in additional funding for improvements benefiting individuals with developmental disabilities, including eliminating the waiting list for services
- $100 million to construct a behavioral-health hospital at the University of Washington
- $38 million to increase staffing at Western State Mental Hospital
The presidential primary:
“Why do I have to declare my party affiliation on the OUTSIDE of my ballot envelope?”
That’s the most common question I’m hearing from constituents who are calling and writing my office right now. Rightly so, many of you have concerns about the requirement to declare an affiliation with either the Republican or Democrat parties on the outside of the envelope for the presidential primary ballot.
We looked into the issue more deeply so that we could explain the reasoning behind the process.
Currently, the oath you sign when you send in your ballot has to accompany the name and registration information. It legally can’t be on the ballot or the security envelope because elections staff can’t be allowed to see your name and your ballot at the same time. Instead, the oath and the party declaration are on the outside of the envelope so the privacy of the ballot itself is protected.
I know many have concerns about their personal information being on the mailing envelope, visible to the mail carrier and others. I understand your concerns. As I understand it, the best way to move forward would be to require an additional envelope, within the mailing envelope, be used for the oath, name and party declaration.
One other important thing to mention is that declaring a party in the primary does not prevent you from voting for whichever candidate you choose in the general election.
If you have additional questions or comments, you can contact the Office of the Secretary of State.
This week’s Senate pages: Brock Tuminello and Philip Harnett
This week I sponsored two Senate pages.
Brock Tuminello, 14, is an 8th grader at St. Anne School in Seattle. He loves basketball, crew, soccer, football and video production.
Philip Harnett, 14, is also an 8th grader at St Anne School. He loves swimming, running, basketball, crew and volleyball.
I really enjoyed having these young men serve the Senate this week and I hope they learned a lot about the legislative process while also having fun.
Click here more information on the Senate page program.
Welcome to the Capitol: 2020 Daffodil Princesses
Anyone who lives in Western Washington knows how important the Daffodil Festival is to Pierce County. These smart and accomplished young women are wonderful representatives of our area’s high schools. I’d like to thank each of them for visiting me while they were in Senate Chambers for Sen. Hans Zeiger’s resolution honoring the Daffodil Festival.
It’s so important for the people to be involved in the legislative process. If you would like to visit me in Olympia, contact my office.