Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now in the sixth week of the 2015 legislative session and things are moving along quickly. This Friday is already the first cutoff date, meaning House bills must be passed out of their respective policy committees or they are likely “dead” for the session. The cutoff for the fiscal committees is next week, Feb. 27. Of course, bills necessary to implement the budget are exempt from any cutoff date. For more on cutoffs click here.
Update on my legislation
House Bill 1534 would allow Pt. Roberts to use their motor vehicle and special tax proceeds to purchase an additional bus in order to give students more options for after-school activities. Some lawmakers are concerned with expanding the use of what the motor vehicle and special tax proceeds can be used for, but we are working on a possible compromise to serve the people of Pt. Roberts.
House Bill 1533, which would ensure museums and historical societies are exempt from the law now in place as a result of Initiative 594, has not received a public hearing. Unfortunately, the chair of the committee is not moving any legislation related to firearms that would change I-594. This is disappointing not only because this seems like a common-sense measure, but it has strong bipartisan support.
House Bill 1955 is a bill I recently introduced that would improve the credit formula for financial aid students in the higher education system. It is one of a number of higher education measures House Republicans on the Higher Education Committee introduced to reduce costs for students and improve our higher education institutions.
I serve as the assistant ranking member on the House State Government Committee. This committee oversees proposed changes to election laws. We have seen some very alarming proposals come before our committee. I think many people would be concerned to know:
- House Bill 1144 would allow same-day voter registration. Walk-ins would be able to register up until 5 p.m. on election day without a thorough identification check.
- House Bill 1294 would allow pre-registration of 16 and 17 year-olds. There are concerns that we cannot ensure they do not get a ballot once they have pre-registered.
- House Bill 1724 would provide prepaid election ballot envelopes. Unfortunately this is very expensive and they are not postmarked. Without a postmark, auditors cannot prove it was received in time and valid.
We will be monitoring these bills as we move forward. If you have questions, thoughts or concerns on these bills or any other legislation, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Contact my office
An important part of a legislator's office is their staff person to help things run smoothly. I am pleased to have Bryan Yon as my legislative assistant. He answers phones, handles my calendar, makes sure I am running on time and I am where I am supposed to be, along with a long list of other responsibilities. Bryan is from Tacoma, but is familiar with the 42nd District as he graduated from Western Washington University last year with a degree in Political Science. Bryan's favorite part of the job so far:
“I like being able to make a difference, no matter how small or large, in the lives of our constituents and others across the state. I also consider it a great honor to work for a state representative.”
I appreciate all the folks from home who have been in Olympia this session. For those of you back in district, do not hesitate to contact me – phone, emails and letters. Your views on the legislation before us is important to me.
Please keep in touch. It is an honor to serve the 42nd District.
Luanne Van Werven