Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature is making slow progress toward votes on the operating budget and several other issues. Wednesday is the final day of our 30-day special session, and there is finally some news to report.
First, House and Senate budget writers have reached an agreement on the operating budget and will announce a final proposal today. You can read The News Tribune's story here. I hope the final budget bill minimizes cuts to education and makes serious reforms to social programs, while avoiding calendar tricks and fund transfers.
Second, we did reach a deal on workers' compensation reform that will encourage injured workers to return to work and resolve claims through structured settlement agreements. We voted on the measure late yesterday and it passed the House by a vote of 69-26. You can find more details on workers' compensation reform here.
Third, the capital budget has been delayed by a dispute over whether to lower our state's debt limit from 9 percent to 7 percent while smoothing out future capital budget bonding capacity. This debt limit reform is essential to passing a capital budget for upcoming construction projects. See Debt limit rift could stall lawmakers in Olympia. If we cannot resolve this issue soon, we risk pushing our work into a second special session.
I hope you'll join me for a telephone town hall this Thursday, May 26 at 7 p.m. You can join the community conversation by calling toll-free 1-877-330-0552. You can listen in, ask questions and take part in polls.
I look forward to sharing details about the budget and other issues like our state's debt limit and workers' compensation reform.
If you can't be a part of the telephone town hall, please don't hesitate to contact me directly anytime. You can reach my Puyallup district office at 253-840-4526 or send me an email at email@example.com.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000