Kristiansen E-mail Update and Survey: Dec. 2, 2016 – A look ahead to the 2017 legislative session

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Election year restrictions have ended, giving me the opportunity to again communicate with you via email updates and seek your input through an electronic survey.

A lot has happened since my last email update to you April 28. Earlier this week, I was honored to once again be elected by my House Republican colleagues as their leader. Read more about it here. We remain a dedicated, talented and compassionate group of 48 House Republican members out of 98 seats in the state House.

Although we had hoped to pick up more seats which would have put Republicans in charge of the state House, the November election didn't change our numbers from the previous year. With 50 members, Democrats continue to hold a thin majority in the House. But our close margin has proven to bring more bipartisanship to the table as we seek solutions for the challenges facing our state.

John Koster - 1999A great 39th District team
We have some new and returning faces in the House Republican Caucus following this election. I am pleased to welcome John Koster, R-Arlington, back to the House of Representatives as my seatmate to serve the 39th District. John previously served three terms in the House in the late 1990s, representing the 39th District, but left at the end of 2000 and went on to serve for several years as a Snohomish County councilman. John knows the district well and is familiar with our local issues. Working together with John and Sen. Kirk Pearson, you can be assured of strong leadership and representation for the 39th District during the 2017 session that begins Jan. 9. That will be important because we have many critical issues to address in the coming session.Education

Education funding likely to dominate 2017 session
Topping those critical issues of the scheduled 105-day session will be the creation of a new two-year state budget that funds K-12 education. Nearly five years ago, the state Supreme Court ruled in what is known as "The McCleary Decision" that the Legislature had not been meeting its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education. With bipartisan support, I'm proud to say the Legislature has provided an additional $4.6 billion for K-12 education during the last four years. This is the largest increase of education funding in the history of our state and represents a permanent increase of 34 percent.

The biggest remaining question of McCleary is how to shift the cost burden for K-12 teacher pay and other basic education expenses away from voter-approved levies and onto state government. What that means is that state government will need to take on the responsibility of those expenses to replace a large part of levies. That portion of addressing McCleary will likely dominate much of the session.

I believe we must prioritize K-12 in the operating budget rather than resort to raising taxes to satisfy the court's McCleary expectations. I welcome your comments and suggestions as we work to find solutions to these issues.

Heroin

Stemming the increasing tide of heroin abuse
In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine highlighted the rapidly-growing plague of crystal meth in rural areas across the United States and pointed to Granite Falls as a particular problem area, calling it, "Methville." At the time, the drug was cheap to make from chemicals found on store shelves, including ephedrine - commonly found in over-the-counter sinus medications. Meth was ruining lives, increasing crime, and making neighborhoods dangerous to live in as "meth houses" cropped up. Subsequently, the Legislature took action to limit the amount of ephedrine sold at one time to customers, and to require customers to show ID and sign for the purchase. This effectively made it harder for people to manufacture meth and drove up the price of the drug.

While meth is no longer the epidemic it once was in our district, another drug -- heroin -- has taken its place in popularity and affordability. As I have spoken to our local citizens, I've learned heroin use is rapidly becoming a serious problem in our district and across the state. I'm very concerned with the devastating effects this drug could potentially have in our area. I'd like to know if it is a problem/concern in your community. This is one of the questions in my survey I hope you will complete.

39th District Pulse Survey
SURVEY - Checking The Pulse of the 39th District

Your feedback is most important to me as we work to identify and solve issues affecting both the 39th District and the state. Occasionally, I like to "check the pulse" of our district by various means. One of those ways is through an electronic survey. Please click here and take a moment to fill out my short survey to let me know what is important to you as we prepare for the 2017 legislative session.

Staying Connected - Kristiansen

Commenting on bills
Your input also greatly affects the output of the Legislature. There are many ways to be involved with the legislative process. One way is to visit the Capitol and testify on proposed bills. Here's a website that tells you how to participate in the process. If you don't have time to come to Olympia, you can go online to comment on proposed bills. Just go to this website, enter a bill number, and click on "Comment on this bill." It's that simple.

Helpful links
Here are some other 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 SoundCloud audio page | You can listen to my radio interviews from this site.
  • 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.

Keeping in touch
During the legislative session, I will be sending out frequent email updates such as this one to keep you informed of the activities in the Legislature. If you know anyone else who would like to receive this communication, tell them to go to my website: http://www.RepresentativeDanKristiansen.com and subscribe to my email updates.

Also, please feel free to contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about state government and legislation. I'm glad to help.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve you!

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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05-04-16: Rep. Dan Kristiansen’s 39th District 2016 Legislative Report

Dear Friend:

During an election year, I am able to send out an after-session newsletter. Here is a link to that newsletter: Rep. Dan Kristiansen's 2016 Legislative Report.

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: April 28, 2016 – Successes from the 2015-16 biennium

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Communication with those I serve is one of the most important parts of my job as your state legislator. That's why I have provided regular email updates to you during the legislative session and on a monthly basis during the interim in a non-election year.  I hope you have found them informative and educational. This, however, is an election year. There are limits to what and when I can contact you. Due to those election-year restrictions. this will be my last e-newsletter until December.

I want you to know I work for you throughout the year. I can respond to a direct request for information, so I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions about legislative or state issues.

2016 Legislative Report soon to be mailed/emailed

It has been several years since I've mailed a legislative report to the district. However, I felt it important to communicate some important things that have happened the past two years that have significant and positive impacts on our district and for the state. You may be receiving my newsletter in your mailbox soon. However, I am also allowed to send that report to you via e-mail, so be looking for it soon in your email inbox.

Successes during the 2015-16 biennium

One of my greatest honors, along with serving as your state representative, was to be chosen as House Republican Leader. In this position, I have had the privilege to work with dedicated legislators who share my goal to make Washington a better place to live, work and raise a family. I am proud of the accomplishments we've made during the 2015-16 biennium. I am also appreciative of your support and input that has helped to make these things happen. Here's a quick look at some of our successes:Success

  • Increased funding to K-12 education by nearly 19 percent, comprising 48 percent of the operating budget - the highest in 30 years.
  • Provided salary increases and cost-of-living adjustments to teachers.
  • Funded all-day kindergarten and reduced K-3 class sizes.
  • Lowered tuition at Washington's colleges and universities - the first for any state.
  • Made significant investments in treatment and capacity for our mentally ill.
  • Saved public charter schools.
  • Increased funding for state parks.
  • Provided pay raises for Washington State Patrol troopers.
  • Prevented major tax increases. More than $1.5 billion in proposed tax increases, including capital gains income tax, carbon, cap and trade, and most business and occupation taxes were taken off the table.
  • Protected Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
  • Held the Department of Corrections accountable for early release of prisoners and rejected confirmation of the Department of Transportation secretary following project cost overruns and major delays.
  • Forced changes to the I-405 express toll lanes to relieve traffic congestion.
  • Provided additional funding to kick-start widening of Highway 522 near Maltby.

Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Get involved in your government! Make a difference!

The best ideas in the Legislature often come from constituents. We truly have a citizen Legislature – a place where ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. You can make a difference from the 39th District. Here are some ways to get involved in the legislative process and state government:

Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 (toll-free)
Governor’s office: (360) 902-4111 | governor.wa.gov
Legislature: leg.wa.gov
State agencies: access.wa.gov/agency
TVW: tvw.org
Bill information: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo
Civic education: leg.wa.gov/civiced
Washington House Republicans: houserepublicans.wa.gov

As always, I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions about state government. Contact me any time. You will find my contact information below.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve you!

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: March 15 – Special session

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

The 2016 regular session of the Legislature began Jan. 11 with a bang of the opening gavel. It ended Thursday night with a fizzle and none of the traditional Sine Die ceremonies as many lawmakers were out of the Capitol building and on their way home before the final gavel fell. That's because they knew that although the regular session was finished, the business at the Capitol was not.

Special session called as governor vetoes 27 bills
House Democrats and Senate Republicans had not yet reached agreement on a supplemental operating budget by the last day of session. So at 9:30 Thursday evening,Gov. Jay Inslee Gov. Inslee called a special session, then made good on his threat to veto bills if a supplemental budget had not arrived at his desk that evening.

The governor vetoed 27 of 37 Senate bills he had received -- much of it very good policy dealing with: disabled college students; economic development; out-of-pocket health care costs; industrial hemp; and the environment. It was unfair to everyday Washingtonians who worked hard to get these bills passed. The governor's action did absolutely nothing to help budget negotiations.

Why did the Legislature go into overtime?
Like last year, House Democrats have held onto an unreasonable budget position, holding the process up. They have proposed:

  • Raising taxes by $120 million, an overreliance on the Budget Stabilization Account (aka Rainy Day Fund), not accounting for $487 million in K-3 class-size reduction, and giving up on the four-year budget outlook;
  • They were the only ones who brought up the possibility of not having a supplemental budget; and
  • They don’t even have 50 votes to pass their new tax increases off the House floor.

A true supplemental operating budget is what we need
I support a true supplemental operating budget that makes mid-course adjustments and adheres to the Tom Huff principles I outlined in my e-newsletter last week. The Senate's State operating budgetbudget is the closest to those principles because it would:

  • Not raise taxes;
  • Not use the Rainy Day Fund for non-emergencies. We should plan for a rainy day;
  • Stay committed to K-3 class-size reductions;
  • Fund policies to prevent and respond to wildfires;
  • Address mismanagement at the Health Care Authority and Western State Hospital; and
  • Honor the four-year budget outlook.

Negotiations will continue until an agreement can be reached on a supplemental operating budget. Hopefully, it does not take the full 30 days of the special session!

Supplemental transportation budget includes money for SR 522
The Legislature passed and sent to the governor a supplemental transportation budget that provides an additional $416 million for capital projects (including $325 million in re-appropriations) and $61 million for operating programs (including $20 million in debt service payments), for a total increase of $477 million. The revised Uncompleted SR 522 project2015-17 transportation budget is $8.7 billion.

Nearly $225,000 was provided in the supplemental transportation budget for initial planning and work on State Route 522 between Paradise Lake Road and the Snohomish River Bridge in the 1st Legislative District.

Also, the state Transportation Commission is directed to look at the tolls on SR 405 and adjust the hours of operation and number of passengers to use the lanes for free.  For 2017-19, the House plan is to add a northbound auxiliary lane between SR 520 and NE 70th Place and to add a general purpose hard-running shoulder northbound from SR 527 to I-5.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t address the root problem for I-405: congestion during peak hours. Some of these changes could take as long as three years to implement. This is not enough for commuters who have suffered since September with WSDOT's disastrous toll-lane program.

Major accomplishments this session
While I'm disappointed there is not yet a budget agreement, there are plenty of Rep. Dan Kristiansenaccomplishments of the 2016 session to write home about. Here's a quick look of major bills of interest that passed the Legislature and were delivered to the governor:

  • House Bill 2315 - Extending the Mortgage Lending Fraud Protection Account.
  • House Bill 2323 - ABLE Act allowing individuals with disabilities to have investment accounts.
  • House Bill 2375 - Creating the crime of electronic data interference/theft (cybercrime).
  • House Bill 2394 - Parent to Parent program for parents of individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • House Bill 2440 - Exempting certain youth host homes from DSHS foster licensing.
  • House Bill 2445 - Banning certain flame retardants.
  • House Bill 2458 - Allowing individuals to participate in state's surplus prescription drug donation program.
  • House Bill 2511 - Allowing child-care providers to serve five-year-olds in the same group.
  • House Bill 2539 - Clarifying application of inheritance exemption to real estate excise tax.
  • House Bill 2591 - Notifying foster parents of court dates.
  • House Bill 2681 - Allowing pharmacists to prescribe and dispense contraceptives.
  • House Bill 2872- Increases pay for Washington State Patrol.
  • House Bill 2875 - Establishing the Office of Privacy and Data Protection.
  • House Bill 2928 - Allowing forest resiliency burning despite weather conditions.
  • Senate Bill 6194 - Reestablishing charter schools in Washington.
  • Senate Bill 6245 - Providing vision screening in schools.

For an entire list of major bills dead or alive from the 2016 session, click here.

Serving you year-round, even during special session
I work for you throughout the year. Please call my office with questions, comments, suggestions, or if you need help dealing with a state agency. You'll find my contact information below.

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: March 7, 2016 – The last three days

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Cherry blossoms are blooming at the Capitol, signaling Sine Die is near. In fact, the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn this Thursday, March 10.

Capitol in Spring

Only three days remain in the 2016 session
The last week to consider Senate-approved bills ended Friday, March 4. From now until Thursday, the focus is on differences between the House and Senate bills. Budget negotiators will also be working behind the scenes to reconcile the differences between the House Democrat and Senate Majority Coalition Caucus supplemental operating, capital and transportation budget proposals.

Budget negotiations progress
There seems to be a lot of progress on the final versions of the capital and transportation budgets, but some differences on the operating budget remain between Republicans and Democrats. We continue to advocate for the Senate Republicans' initial approach: make necessary adjustments to state programs and services; do not raid the Budget Stabilization Account for non-emergencies; and do not raise taxes on Washingtonians. We need a true supplemental operating budget -- not a spending plan that would add new policies and taxes, and leave our state vulnerable for the inevitable rainy day.

A true supplemental budget
Last year, after several months of negotiations, the House and Senate came to an Supplemental budgetagreement on a compromise two-year state operating budget (that also balances out for four years). This operating budget was approved on a bipartisan vote to pay for the state's financial obligations through June 30, 2017.

As noted above, a true supplemental budget is one in which we make necessary adjustments to the financial needs of state programs and services. Negotiations this year are centering on several hundred million dollars, not in the billions as the full $38 billion two-year state operating budget involved last year. This year, we must find agreement to pay for suppression of the devastating wildfires last summer in Eastern Washington, which is a legitimate expense in the supplemental budget.

When House Republicans were in the majority in 1998, then-House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Tom Huff summarized the meaning of a true supplemental budget on the back of his business card. It read: "A supplemental budget request will be considered if:

  • It is an unanticipated, unmanageable change in an entitlement program, workload or caseload;
  • It corrects a serious technical error in the original appropriation;
  • It deals with an emergency; or
  • It addresses an opportunity that will not be available next biennium."

Those are great standards to keep in mind as we negotiate our supplemental budgets this year.

Rep. Dan KristiansenI work for you throughout the year
Although the 2016 legislative session is coming to an end, I continue to serve as your state representative throughout the year. Please feel free to call my office if you have a concern, idea or suggestion about state government, or if you are having difficulty dealing with a state agency. My office stands ready to help. You'll find my contact information below.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve and represent you in the state Legislature.

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update – Feb. 29, 2016: The final stretch

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Happy Leap Year Day! Eleven days remain in our scheduled 60-day legislative session. Here's a quick update for you.

The fiscal cutoff
Days, nights and weekends all blended together as lawmakers raced to the 2016 session's fiscal cutoff today, Feb. 29. This is the last day opposite-house bills can be considered in their respective committees. After today, our time will be devoted exclusively to passing opposite house bills and then ironing out differences on legislation that has already passed both houses as we drive toward the session's scheduled last day of business on March 10.

Budgets unveiled
Last week was budget week in the Legislature. Both the House and Senate rolled out their respective supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. In the House, Democrats have proposed $119.5 million in new tax increases for the remainder of the budget cycle, which ends July 2017.

Supplemental operating budget
This House Democratic-proposed supplemental operating budget passed off the HouseKristiansen video update floor Thursday on a narrow 50-47 vote -- with one Democrat excused from voting. Our concerns with this proposal include new tax increases, an overreliance on the Budget Stabilization Account and the use of an accounting gimmick to balance the four-year outlook. We offered 35 amendments during the debate, including Amendment 839, which would have prohibited the Human Rights Commission from spending money enforcing the gender-neutral bathroom rules at schools. Only nine of our amendments were accepted.

The good news is the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has proposed a more balanced, fiscally responsible alternative. It does not rely on new tax increases and does not raid the Budget Stabilization Account. You can find an overview here.

Also, if you are concerned about the new gender-neutral bathroom/locker room rules by the state Human Rights Commission, I would love to hear from you. My contact information is at the end of this e-newsletter.

Supplemental transportation budget falls short for I-405 commuters
The supplemental transportation budget also passed off the House floor Thursday, but with a more bipartisan 84-13 vote. A summary can be found here.

There are a lot of things to like about this budget, including funding for: the recruitment, retention and increased compensation for the Washington State Patrol; structurally deficient bridges; and Republican-sponsored bills.

There are also some problems with this plan, including funding for a controversial road user charge pilot program. House Republicans offered Amendment 828 to eliminate funding for this pilot program, which would open the door for a vehicle miles traveled tax. However, the amendment was rejected.

The House supplemental transportation budget also includes funding for the I-405 changes proposed by the governor recently. Unfortunately, the governor’s plan doesn’t address the root problem for I-405: congestion during peak hours. Some of his changes could take as long as three years to implement. This is not enough for commuters who have suffered since September with WSDOT's disastrous toll-lane program.

Rep. Mark Harmsworth introduced two amendments on the House floor to address the ongoing problems on I-405, but unfortunately they were scoped. This means no votes were allowed on these measures.

House supplemental capital budget
The bipartisan House supplemental capital budget was unveiled at a news conference last State BudgetWednesday. Also known as the construction budget, state representatives laid out plans to build K-3 classrooms, improve our state's mental health system, help homeless youth, and fund the Public Works Trust Fund. You can learn more in this news release. This budget is expected to reach the House floor sometime this week.

Budget negotiations begin
With less than two weeks remaining of the regular session, every hour will count as Republican and Democratic budget writers work to reconcile differences in the budgets for final passage in the House and Senate. Most lawmakers do not like the prospect of going into overtime, after spending an additional three months in special sessions last year to finalize budgets. This year is different, because these are "supplemental" budgets, which mostly address unanticipated changes in the original budgets adopted last year. There's no reason we cannot complete our business on time. Citizens expect and deserve no less!

Local teens serve as legislative pages
I'd like to take a moment to thank Justus Dahlinger and Benson Gonzales, both Rep. Dan Kristiansen with legislative pages Justus Dahlinger and Benson Gonzalesstudents from Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe, who recently served for me as legislative pages.

Each year, young people from throughout the state between the ages of 14 and 16 participate in the legislative page program. Pages assist legislators by delivering messages and documents to lawmakers in their offices, committee rooms, and in the House chambers during floor sessions.

Justus is the fourth oldest of 11 children in his family. He is involved in Boy Scouts. Justus also likes to sing, dance and be involved in drama. He is the 15-year-old son of Rod and Gina Dahlinger of Monroe.

Benson plays the piano and the clarinet. He's also involved in choir and track in school. Benson is the 14-year-old son of Darren and Aminda Gonzales of Monroe.

For more information on the page program, go here.

This week in Olympia
Only one major committee hearing for your calendar this week:

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
Commerce and Gaming Committee - House Hearing Room C - 9 a.m.
Reducing marijuana excise tax and state pre-emption of regulating, producing, processing and the retail sale of marijuana - Public hearing on House Bill 2988.

For a full agenda of the House committees, go here. To learn how to testify in committee, go here. Click here if you are planning to come to the Washington State Legislature in Olympia. If you'd like to look up a bill, go to the Legislature's Bill Information Page. Finally, you can track bills by creating an account and going to the tracking page here.

Your input is important
As we get close to completing the final days of the 2016 session, your input is as important as ever. We will be voting on many bills in the coming days. Please contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions. It is an honor to serve you!

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update – Feb. 22, 2016 – Business news

Dear chamber and business friends:

As we enter the final three weeks of the 2016 legislative session, scheduled to adjourn March 10,  I would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief update on legislation that could be of importance to businesses across the state. For additional information, please click on the links to the bill, scroll down and click on the links to the "Bill Reports."

Please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or comments on any of these bills.

In your service,

Dan

Business- and employer-related legislation

House Bill 1336 - Requiring applicants for any private security guard license to undergo national fingerprint-based background checks. This is a measure supported by retailers that would help them make hiring decisions for important security positions. The bill passed the House Business and Financial Services Committee, but did not advance out of the House Rules Committee before the Feb. 17 cutoff.

House Bill 1647 - Abortion and contraception insurance mandate. The bill would require all private, state-regulated health plans to provide coverage for abortions, if it provides coverage for maternity services. Federal health care reform legislation states that a health insurer inside the Exchange cannot be required to include abortion coverage in health plans. The federal law would likely preempt this bill and could result in the loss of federal funds. This measure is anti-choice because it would not allow individuals to choose whether or not to have a health plan without abortion coverage. The measure passed the House last year on March 10, 51-46. I voted no. This year, the measure did not advance out of the House, so presumably it is dead.

Rep. Dan Kristiansen - House Republican Leader

House Bill 2305 - Permits the owner of a self-service storage facility to tow any vehicle, boat, trailer, recreational vehicle or camper in lieu of sale. Passed out of the House Committee on Business and Financial Services. Failed to make it out of the House Rules Committee before the Feb. 17 cutoff.

House Bill 2307 - Requiring reasonable accommodations in employment for pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related health conditions. Laws are already on the books protecting pregnant women from being fired, having a pay cut or having health benefits denied because of the pregnancy. A vast majority of employers already provide requested accommodations. Additional laws add confusion. The measure passed the House Feb. 4 with a vote of 52-45. I voted no. It has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, but a public hearing has not been scheduled at this time.

House Bill 2356 - Concerning employer agreements to reimburse certain employee costs for the use of personal vehicles for business purposes. The bill would exempt employee vehicle mileage and repair reimbursement plans from regulation as insurance. The measure passed the House unanimously on Feb. 16. It is scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

House Bill 2433 - Relating to certified public accountant (CPA) firm mobility. This measure would authorize out-of-state CPA firms to perform attest and compilation services without an in-state CPA firm license. The measure passed the House unanimously on Feb. 11 and has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

House Bill 2505 - Prohibiting financial institutions from charging telephone and Internet balance inquiry fees and certain maintenance fees on payroll deposit accounts. The measure passed the House Business and Financial Services Committee, but failed to make it out of the House Rules Committee before the Feb. 17 cutoff.

Other legislation - Dead or Alive
For a look at other important legislation, download our House Republican "Dead or Alive 2016" list.

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update – Feb. 15, 2016 – Fixing the SR 522 bottleneck

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

I've received a ton of email, phone calls and letters for a very long time from commuters on State Route 522 (SR 522) from Maltby north to the Snohomish River bridge asking why this two-lane section of the highway still has not been expanded to four lanes. During the time when the Legislature is not in session, I travel this highway nearly every day. So I share in the same frustration and congestion that most of you do. I am devoting this e-newsletter to this issue to answer questions and hopefully light a fire under those responsible so that we can move this long-awaited project forward.

First, I think it is important to provide some history to give a perspective of why this important corridor remains unfinished.

For many years, the north-south highway from Monroe through Woodinville was called "The Death Highway." In a press release back in 1994 touting preliminary engineering funding for SR 522, then-Rep. Jeanine Long noted, "The highway is heavily traveled and difficult to cross. Many people have died on this highway because of head-on collisions occurring from poor visibility and its narrow conditions."

Here's a map to help you understand the area.

Uncompleted SR 522 project

The western edge of the 39th Legislative District (pink section on the map), which I represent, borders along the Snohomish River at  SR 522. On the other side of the Snohomish River Bridge heading toward Seattle is the 1st Legislative District (shaded in light green).

The southwest end of SR 522 gets completed

From 1998 to 2001, the Washington State Department of Transportation widened SR 522 from two lanes to four lanes (green highway line on map above) from Highway 9 to Paradise Lake Road.

Completion of the northeast end of SR 522 in the 39th District 

The majority of the fatality accidents on SR 522 happened between Monroe and the Snohomish River Bridge in my district. So when I took office in 2003, I immediately began working to secure funding to widen the two-lane section of SR 522 in the 39th District into four lanes. The money for that section was approved by the Legislature, but I had to fight hard to keep it intact, because in 2009, Gov. Chris Gregoire tried to tap into it to cover cost overruns on the Seattle-area mega projects. Fortunately, we were able to stop her from taking the money.

Construction started in 2011 on widening the highway from the Snohomish River to Monroe, including a new Snohomish River Bridge. It was opened to traffic by 2014. So please note, that all of State Route 522 within the 39th District is now fully completed as a four-lane highway.

The area of question is the bottleneck two-lane corridor between the new Snohomish River bridge southwest to Maltby -- which is entirely in the 1st District.

Highway 522

The bottleneck in the 1st District

In 2003, as the Legislature was planning improvements to SR 522 through the Nickel Funding Package, it made an agreement with Snohomish County: the state would complete the portions of the highway from Paradise Lake Road to Highway 9 and from the Snohomish River Bridge to Monroe. The state would even complete the overpass at Echo Lake Road if Snohomish County government would provide the funding for the section of Paradise Lake Road to the Snohomish River Bridge. The Legislature then gave Snohomish County several options to raise funds, including the ability to raise the gas tax, and creation of a Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) to seek funds from local voters.

Snohomish County fails to live up to its agreement on SR 522 funding

In 2006, the Echo Lake Road interchange was opened to traffic -- paid from state funds. Snohomish County drafted a list of projects under its newly-formed RTID. In November SR 522/Echo Lake Road interchange2007, voters turned down a proposed $17.8 billion Snohomish County Roads and Transit package, which included $127 million to widen Highway 522 to the Snohomish River Bridge and to add a Paradise Lake Road interchange. That was eight years ago. In the meantime, Snohomish County has done nothing to hold up its end of the agreement.

The most recent state transportation budget set aside $10 million to design the Paradise Lake Road interchange, which is now managed with a traffic signal. But it doesn't address the unfinished widening project. And the money won't be released until 2025. There's no construction money earmarked.

Summary

  • The portion of SR 522 in the 39th District I represent is fully completed.
  • The portion of SR 522 under the Nickel Package and other state funding, including the Echo Lake Road interchange and the four-lane highway from Highway 9 to just Paradise Lake Road was completed by the state.
  • Remaining incomplete in the 1st District (which is represented by the vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee), is Snohomish County's funding portion, which includes the corridor of SR 522 from the Snohomish River Bridge to and including the Paradise Lake Road interchange.

Get more information on video and radio

VIDEO: Watch my video for more information on State Route 522.
RADIO: Please tune in to 90.7 FM - KSER in Everett tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 16) at 4 p.m. as I talk with News Director Ed Bremer about this issue.

Rep. Dan Kristiansen explains history of unfinished portion of Highway 522

What you can do

Click on the links below to contact those government officials who should be involved. Tell them you want the uncompleted State Route 522 bottleneck funded and finished!

1st District legislators
Snohomish County executive
Snohomish County Council

We've all waited too long for completion of the 522 corridor. And we're still waiting in traffic. It's time to get this project underway so that you can get to work on time every day and be home to spend more time with your family.

I welcome your questions and comments.

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen Email Update – Feb. 8, 2016 – Halfway to the finish line

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Last Friday, Feb. 5, was the final day for House committees to consider bills introduced in the House, except for transportation and fiscal committees which have until tomorrow, Feb. 9. After those dates, our routine is reversed and we devote ourRep. Dan Kristiansen time to final action by the full House on those bills that have won committee approval.

Next stop for bills that earn a committee OK is the Rules Committee, of which I am a member. This committee approves each measure to be scheduled for final floor action. All 98 members then have an opportunity to amend, approve or reject the proposed legislation. And that's just the first leg of the journey.

We have 31 days remaining to complete the people's business. Tomorrow is the halfway point of the scheduled 60-day session.

Here's a quick update. Please contact my office if you have questions or comments.

In your service,

Dan

I-405 toll lanes affecting 39th District commuters
We knew coming into the legislative session last month there would be lots of work needed on education funding, addressing the issue of charter schools, and drafting a supplemental budget. Those continue to be ongoing issues. But another that has emerged is the effects of the new I-405 express toll lanes on commuter traffic between Kirkland and Lynnwood.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) launched the toll lanes -- two each way between Bellevue and Bothell and one from Bothell to Lynnwood -- on September 27. Toll rates start as low as 75 cents, but have increase to as high as $10 due to congestion. Since September, lawmakers have heard directly from hundreds of constituents, and online from thousands more, with issues ranging from congestion, to traffic safety and technical glitches with paying the tolls.

The new toll-lanes not only affect those on I-405, but they have made the State RouteI-405/SR 522 interchange 522 interchange near Bothell a complete disaster. That's the highway used by a large portion of constituents who live in the 39th District and commute between King and Snohomish counties. Traffic is backed up severely on the interchange, and buses using the shoulder and trying to cross lanes of travel block it even more.

WSDOT has defended the decision to add the toll lanes, asking people to "give it more time." But congestion has only grown worse. Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to provide some relief by directing WSDOT to use only one express toll lane each way throughout the corridor and to open all lanes to unrestricted use not subject to tolls between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. and on state holidays. Unfortunately, the chair of the House Transportation Committee has blocked the proposed House bill from moving forward. Instead, she and House Democrats have sent a letter to WSDOT asking that night, weekend and holiday tolls be repealed.

It remains to be seen what happens from here, especially now that WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson was ousted last week, partially because of this entire I-405 tolling debacle.

SR 522 commuters calling for relief 
In addition to the I-405 mess, one of the biggest traffic headaches for commuters who live in the 39th Legislative District is the State Route 522 bottleneck through the 1st Legislative District. Next week, I will dedicate this e-newsletter and my video update to discussing that issue.

This week in Olympia
Here are some select House committee hearings going on this week at the John L. This week in OlympiaO'Brien Building, across from the state Capitol. Because we have just passed the committee cutoffs, the schedule is light. However, there are some important hearings taking place. Please note that the listing below is strictly for informational purposes and does not mean I am advocating for or against any of the bills below.

For a full agenda of the House committees, go here. To learn how to testify in committee, go here. Click here if you are planning to come to the Washington State Legislature in Olympia. If you'd like to look up a bill, go to the Legislature's Bill Information Page. Finally, you can track bills by creating an account and going to the tracking page here.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10
Health Care and Wellness Committee - House Hearing Room A - 8:30 a.m.
Health effects of pesticide drift - Work session

THURSDAY, FEB. 11
Education Committee - House Hearing Room A - 8:30 a.m.
Firearm safety in school - Hearing on House Bill 2325

FRIDAY. FEB. 12
Judiciary Committee - House Hearing Room A - 9 a.m.
Slaughter of horses for human consumption - Hearing on House Bill 2327

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen Email Update – Democrats block the will of the people

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

With only 38 days remaining of the scheduled 60-day regular session, time is slipping by fast as committees attempt to hear and pass policy bills before this coming Friday, Feb. 5. That's the deadline for all policy bills from their house of origin to be reported from their committees in both the House and Senate.

Democrats block public hearings on bills of statewide significance
Unfortunately, Democrats who chair House committees have refused to schedule public hearings on some major bills that Washington's citizens at large have told us are very important.

They include:

House Joint Resolution 4215 - Two-thirds tax constitutional amendment: In November, voters approved Initiative 1366. The measure requires the Legislature to send a constitutional amendment to the November 2016 ballot that would ask voters if they wish for the Legislature to have a supermajority (two-thirds of both chambers) vote to raise taxes, or allow taxes to be raised by a simple majority of voters. Two weeks ago, a King County Superior Court Judge declared I-1366 Rep. Dan Kristiansen on TVWunconstitutional, throwing out the measure.

Citizens have approved the two-thirds tax vote requirement SIX times. Each time, the requirement has been invalidated.

House Republicans have introduced House Joint Resolution 4215. The measure would send voters an amendment to the state constitution that would require a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. Unfortunately, the Democratic chair in the House Finance Committee has refused to schedule a public hearing for the measure. We also tried a procedural motion to bring the resolution straight to the floor for a vote, but it failed on party lines, with Democrats again blocking advancement of the measure.

House Bill 2367 - Charter schools: The Democratic chair of the House Education Committee has put a hold on bipartisan legislation that would reinstitute charter schools in Washington. This is legislation that has strong support from both Republicans and Democrats and would likely pass out of the House Education Committee if allowed to move forward.

House Bill 2312 - I-405 toll lanes: Another measure they’ve bottled up in the House Transportation Committee is I-405 toll lane reforms. Since WSDOT placed toll lanes on I-405 and removed a couple of general purpose lanes for use, traffic congestion has become a nightmare. This not only affects constituents in Democrat districts such as Kirkland, Redmond and Bellevue, but it is also affecting commuters in the lower half of the 39th District into Monroe.

House Bill 2589 - Transgender restroom rules:  The Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee says she will not allow any bill to move forward that would change the state Human Rights Commission mandate. The rules, made by the commission just after Christmas with little public notice or input, make it illegal for business owners to limit sex-specific facilities such as bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms to persons with the anatomical parts of one sex. House Republicans have introduced legislation that would repeal the Human Rights Commission rule, but the committee chair has put a hold on it.

Just a footnote, the Human Rights Commission met last Thursday to consider a citizens' petition to repeal their new transgender restroom rules. The commission voted unanimously against the repeal.

Act NowTake action now!
By refusing to hold public hearings on these key issues, Democrats are blocking not only a vote on these bills, but shutting out the public completely from providing their input.

We have a saying in Olympia: "Silence is agreement." If you want these bills to move forward, you need to speak up and make your voice heard to these chairs. I would highly recommend you contacting the Democratic chairs and Democratic members on each of these committees and asking that a public hearing be scheduled BEFORE the Feb. 5 cutoff.

Here are links to the committees' contact information:

Rep. Kristiansen sounds off on radio/video about Democrats' refusal to hear bills
On Jan. 20, I took to the airwaves on the Todd Herman Show on Seattle's KTTH 'The Truth' to discuss the frustration of many that Democratic committee chairs are blocking public hearings on these important bills mentioned above. I invite you to click on the banner below to listen to the program. You can also watch my legislative video here.

Rep. Dan Kristiansen - SoundCloud

This week in Olympia
Here are some select House committee hearings going on this week at the John L.This week in Olympia O'Brien Building, across from the state Capitol. Please note that the listing below is strictly for informational purposes and does not mean I am advocating for or against any of the bills below.

For a full agenda of the House committees, go here. To learn how to testify in committee, go here. Click here if you are planning to come to the Washington State Legislature in Olympia. If you'd like to look up a bill, go to the Legislature's Bill Information Page. Finally, you can track bills by creating an account and going to the tracking page here.

TUESDAY, FEB. 2
Early Learning and Human Services Committee - House Hearing Room E - 8 a.m.
SNAP Benefit Distribution - Hearing on House Bill 2877

Public Safety Committee - House Hearing Room D - 8 a.m.
Law enforcement assisting DOC supervise offenders - Hearing on House Bill 2704
Increasing seriousness level of rape 1/rape of a child 1 - Hearing on House Bill 2705
No time limit for prosecuting felony sex offenses - Hearing on House Bill 2873
Prohibiting marijuana, alcohol, cell phone in prison - Hearing on House Bill 2900

Higher Education Committee - House Hearing Room C - 8 a.m.
Creating a postsecondary education savings account program - Hearing on House Bill 2662

Judiciary Committee - House Hearing Room A - 10 a.m.
Ending legal obligations if DNA shows a man is not the father - Hearing on House Bill 2612

State Government Committee - House Hearing Room E - 10 a.m.
Requests to Congress regarding Citizens United - Hearings on Initiative 735, House Bill 2848 and House Joint Memorial 4000

Technology and Economic Development Committee - House Hearing Room C - 10 a.m.
Office of Data Privacy and Protection - Hearing on House Bill 2875

Education Committee - House Hearing Room A - 1:30 p.m.
Preventing unfunded mandates to schools - Hearing on House Bill 2862House Finance Committee hearing

Finance Committee - House Hearing Room A - 3:30 p.m.
Modifying taxpayer penalties - Hearing on House Bill 2540
Reducing the frequency of local sales tax changes - Hearing on House Bill 2565

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 3
Agriculture and Natural Resources - House Hearing Room B - 8 a.m.
Conflict management: Rural communities and wolves - Work session
Prescribed burning and air quality - Hearing on House Bill 2928
GPS use by wildland firefighters - Hearing on House Bill 2924
Livestock access during fire suppression - Hearing on House Bill 2925

Judiciary Committee - House Hearing Room A - 8 a.m.
Forfeiture in animal cruelty cases - Hearing on House Bill 2644

THURSDAY, FEB 4
Committees mostly doing executive sessions

FRIDAY, FEB 5 - Policy cutoff day
Capital Budget Committee - House Hearing Room B - 8 a.m.
Modifications to the Public Works Assistance Account - Hearing on House Bill 2146

General Government and Information Technology - House Hearing Room C - 8 a.m.
Concerning DNA biological samples - Hearing on House Bill 2341

Please contact my office if you have any questions about these or other issues regarding state government. My contact information is below.

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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