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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Kristiansen Email Update – Jan. 25, 2016 – Survey results of your priorities

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

We've now begun our third week of the 2016 legislative session and some major issues have already come to the forefront.

Initiative 1366 - Court rules it unconstitutional; Republicans move forward with two-thirds measure

In November, voters approved I-1366 with a 51.52 percent margin. The measure sought to compel the Legislature to send a constitutional amendment to the November 2016 ballot that would require two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes. The initiative also contained a contingency that if a constitutional amendment was not sent to the ballot by April 15, 2015, the state sales tax rate would be cut by 1 percent.gavel

The measure was challenged in court. Last Thursday, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and declared I-1366 unconstitutional.

Today, 36 House Republicans introduced House Joint Resolution 4215, which proposes a constitutional amendment that, upon voter approval in November, would enact the supermajority requirement to raise taxes. During debate today on the House floor, Rep. Ed Orcutt, the measure's prime sponsor, sought to have the bill pulled directly from the Finance Committee to be placed on the floor calendar for eventual consideration. House Democrats, however, blocked the motion by a vote of 49- 48.

Following the action, I issued this statement:

“Today’s move was for the majority of voters who have told us six times that they want it to be more difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes. It was for the people who feel their clear intent is being ignored by our state court system. Regardless of how the state Supreme Court rules on I-1366, House Republicans believe the Legislature should move forward with legislation that would send a constitutional amendment to voters that would require a supermajority vote for tax increases. We have introduced the measure and will continue to advocate for it.”

Legislative Priorities - Survey Results
In November, I asked readers of my email update to complete a short survey in advance of the 2016 session to determine legislative priorities. Here are the results:

What are your legislative priorities?Survey says. . .

  • 22.66 percent - Taxes
  • 19.21 percent - Jobs and the economy
  • 17.24 percent - State spending/operating budget
  • 13.79 percent - K-12 education
  • 12.81 percent - State government reform
  • 8.87 percent - Transportation infrastructure
  • 4.43 percent - Health care
  • .99 percent - Higher education

Do you favor the concept of a levy swap?

  • 44.55 percent - I need more information before I can decide
  • 27.23 percent - No
  • 26.24 percent - Yes
  • 1.98 percent - No opinion

Should the Legislature act in the coming session to allow charter schools to Charter school kidsoperate in Washington state?

  • 53.47 percent - Yes. The Legislature should work to reinstate the ability for charter schools to operate in Washington state with public funding.
  • 22.77 percent - No. Let the state Supreme Court decision stand and discontinue charter schools in Washington.
  • 16.83 percent - Yes. The Legislature should work to reinstate the ability for charter schools to operate in Washington state, without public funding (privately funded).
  • 6.93 percent - I'm not sure and I would need to learn more about it.

This week in Olympia
Here are some select House committee hearings going on this week at the John L. CapitolO'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, JAN. 26
Commerce and Gaming Committee - House Hearing Room C - 1:30 p.m.
Local government share of excess liquor revenue - Hearing on House Bill 2438
Assisting small businesses licensed to sell liquor - Hearing on House Bill 2831

Finance Committee - House Hearing Room A - 3:30 p.m.
Cemetery property tax - Hearing on House Bill 2564
Taxation of homeowner associations - Hearing On House Bill 2594

WEDNESDAY, JAN 27
Judiciary Committee - House Hearing Room A - 8 a.m.
Pro bono legal services for military members, veterans and families - Hearing on House Bill 2496
Requiring information in the felony firearm offense conviction database - Hearing on House Bill 2410

Rep. Dan KristiansenTechnology and Economic Development Committee - House Hearing Room C - 8 a.m.
Ticket sales over the internet - Hearing on House Bill 2699

Business and Financial Services Committee - House Hearing Room B - 1:30 p.m.
Motorcycle liability insurance - Hearing on House Bill 2393

Early Learning and Human Services Committee - House Hearing Room E - 1:30 p.m.
Foster parent notification and participation in dependency hearing - Hearing on House Bill 2591

Higher Education Committee - House Hearing Room C - 1:30 p.m.
Academic bill of rights protecting free speech on campuses - Hearing on House Bill 2488
Expanding the College Bound Scholarship to certain non-citizen children - Hearing on House Bill 2801

Transportation Committee - House Hearing Room B - 3:30 p.m.
Use of cell phone while driving restrictions - Hearing on House Bill 2574

THURSDAY, JAN 28
Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee - House Hearing Room B - 1:30 p.m.
Dairy Products Commission - Research on nutrients - Hearing on House Bill 2634

Transportation Committee - House Hearing Room B - 3:30 p.m.
State Route 405 toll-lane implementation - Work session

FRIDAY, JAN. 29
Finance Committee - House Hearing Room A - 8 a.m.
Taxation of crowdfunding donations - Hearing on House Bill 2655

Public Safety Committee - House Hearing Room D - 10 a.m.
Impaired driving - Hearing on House Bill 2700
Making a fourth DUI offense a felony - Hearing on House Bill 2706

Higher Education Committee - House Hearing Room C - 10 a.m.
Making textbooks and course materials more affordable - Hearing on House Bills 2680, 2686, and 2780.
Providing students with costs of course materials during registration - Hearing on House Bill 2796

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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Kristiansen Email Update – Jan. 18, 2016 – 2016 session priorities

Dear Friends and Neighbors:Rep. Dan Kristiansen makes comments on the first day of the 2016 session

It was my honor as House Republican leader to deliver remarks during opening ceremonies of the first day of the 2016 session on Jan. 11. I talked about the importance of working together, Republicans and Democrats, to address the issues of the session and have our work completed within the allotted 60 days. You can view my floor speech here.

Top priorities of the session

There are many things to be accomplished before March 11, the final scheduled day of the 2016 session. We have boiled down our goals into four top priorities:

  • Provide students with a world-class education - This includes keeping the Legislature on track as it relates to education funding and the McCleary decision, and finding solutions to help restore charter schools in Washington.
  • Empowering families and strengthening communities - This means finding ways to increase job opportunities in Washington, especially since 37 of the state's 39 counties have unemployment levels that are still above the national average for jobs.
  • Protect taxpayers and hold government accountable - With Prioritiesunemployment and underemployment still at high levels, we need to protect taxpayers and make government live within its means. Tax increases must be the LAST resort, not the first option.
  • Safeguard our neighborhoods and schools - I have many concerns about the Department of Corrections letting prisoners out early. We need to hold state officials responsible, as well as work to increase public safety across our state.

If you would like to learn more about my session priorities, I invite you to watch my video update.

This week in Olympia
Here are some select House committee hearings going on this week at the John L. O'Brien Building, across from the state Capitol. For a full agenda of the House committees, go here. To learn how to testify in committee, go here. Click here if you areRep. Dan Kristiansen 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, JAN. 19
Local Government Committee - House Hearing Room D - 8 a.m.
Legislative Task Force on School Siting - Work session.

Health Care and Wellness Committee - House Hearing Room A - 8 a.m.
Drug cost transparency - Hearing on House Bill 2363.

Judiciary Committee - House Hearing Room A - 10 a.m.
Prevention efforts to reduce truancy - Hearing on House Bill 2449.
Providing flexibility to address truancy - Hearing on House Bill 1243.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 20
Judiciary Committee - House Hearing Room A - 8 a.m
Communications with relatives of incapacitated persons - Hearing on House Bill 2402.

Health Care and Wellness Committee - House Hearing Room A - 1:30 p.m.
Legal smoking/vaping age - Hearing on House Bill 2313.

Appropriations Committee - House Hearing Room A - 3:30 p.m.
School levy lid revisions delay - Hearing on House Bill 2361.
Basic education obligations - Hearing on House Bill 2366.

THURSDAY, JAN. 21
Labor and Workplace Standards Committee - House Hearing Room D - 8 a.m.
Workers' compensation reforms - Hearing on House Bills 2336, 2337, and 2338.

Judiciary Committee - House Hearing Room A - 1:30 p.m.
Responsible storage of firearms - Hearing on House Bill 1747.
Extreme risk protection orders - Hearing on House Bill 2461.
Destruction of forfeited firearms - Hearing on House Bill 2372.
Local regulation of firearms in certain places - Hearing on House Bill 2460.
Concerning short-barreled rifles - Hearing on House Bill 2481.

FRIDAY, JAN. 22
General Government and Information Technology Committee - House Hearing Room C - 8 a.m.
Overview and updates from 10 commissions, including the Human Rights Commission and the Washington Citizens' Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials.

Multi-media communications - Keeping in touch with those I serve
One of the most important jobs I have is to listen and communicate with the people I serve. We have several great ways to provide information to the folks back home, including:

SoundCloud radio page: I am frequently on radio stations in our local area as well as radiothroughout the state. You can go here to listen to my latest radio reports and interviews.

Also, I was recently interviewed on Mount Vernon's KAPS-KBRC Radio. You can listen to that interview here.

Video updates: Every two weeks during session, I videotape legislative updates that are sent to local cable stations in the 39th District for airplay. You can view all of my video updates here.

Thank you again for allowing me to serve and represent you. Should you have any questions, comments or suggestions about the topics in this email update or any legislation, please contact my office. 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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Kristiansen E-mail Update and Survey – Nov. 20, 2015 – A look ahead at the 2016 session

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Lawmakers are back in Olympia this week for "Interim Committee Assembly." This event normally happens each year about a month-and-a-half before the legislative session begins in January to brief legislators on emerging issues in their respective committees.

What are your priorities for the 2016 session?

The 2016 session will begin Jan. 11. It is scheduled for 60 days. As we prepare for the coming session, I would like to know about your priorities for the Legislature for 2016. So I invite you click on the link and answer a few questions on my online survey:

SURVEY: What are your legislative priorities for 2016?
(Click here to take the survey)

No two legislative sessions are ever alike. There are always different issues to face and challenges to address for our state. This year, I see at least three emerging issues as we prepare for the 2016 session. Here's an update on those issues below.

Should you have any questions, comments or suggestions on these or other legislative issues, I invite you to contact my office. You will find my contact information below at the end of this e-mail update.

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

In your service,

Dan

Emerging issues

At least three issues are emerging that could well dominate the 2016 session: Education funding (including levy reform), charter schools, and Initiative 1366.

Education and the state Supreme Court

Despite the Legislature appropriating historic investments in K-12 education during the 2015 session, the state Supreme Court said it still falls short of the McCleary requirements. The court is concerned that schools rely too heavily on local property tax levies for a gap in salaries and funding not provided by the state.

Many believe that it is time for levy reform. A solution being considered is known as Levy swap“levy swap,” in which local maintenance and operations levies would be lowered while increasing the state portion of the property taxes. This would create a “revenue-neutral” swap of state property tax for local levies.

Opposition to the levy swap comes primarily from areas with rich property values, such as Seattle and Bellevue, because those areas could end up paying more for property taxes while areas with lower property values would likely pay less under a levy swap.

Many Democrats would rather support a capital gains income tax. Voters have rejected a state income tax by 64 percent.

Charter schools

Republicans and Democrats are seeking solutions that would allow charter schools to operate in Washington, following the state Supreme Court’s ruling in September that Charter school kidscharter schools are unconstitutional. The court reasoned that charters are not truly public schools because they aren’t governed by elected boards, therefore they cannot receive public funding.

There’s concern that same court reasoning could also de-fund Running Start, tribal compact schools, schools for the deaf and blind, and any other public school program that isn’t directly supervised by an elected board.

Will Initiative 1366 be invalidated by the courts?

In November, voters approved Initiative 1366. The measure would cut the state retail gaveltax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent on April 15, 2016, unless the Legislature sends a constitutional amendment to the ballot proposing a two-thirds approval in the House and Senate for tax increases or with voter approval.

If the sales tax reduction becomes effective, it would result in an estimated state revenue decrease of $1.6 billion for the current biennium, $3 billion for the next, and $3.4 billion for the 20-21 biennium. That could have a significant impact on state services.

The initiative, however, has been challenged in the King County Superior Court. The Legislature's response will largely depend upon whether or not the court upholds or invalidates the measure.

Contact me with questions, comments or suggestions

Here's my contact information:

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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A birthday tribute from Rep. Dan Kristiansen – Faithful to our nation for 240 years: The United States Marines

Faithful to our nation for 240 years: The United States Marines
by Rep. Dan Kristiansen

During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia. There was one gathering place in particular that stands out.

Founded at the corner of Water Street and Tun Alley, the three-story Tun Tavern derived its name from the Old English word, "tun" for keg or a barrel of beer. The Tun Tavern became popular among seafarers and other mariners because it was located near Philadelphia's waterfront along the Delaware River.

In the fall of 1775, members of the Naval Committee of the Continental Congress, including John Adams, met several times at the Tun Tavern to discuss naval and maritime affairs and plan operations for the new Continental Navy. In the dimly lit tavern over a pitcher of beer, we can only imagine the discussions that led to the formation of a group to fight for independence at sea and on shore. On this very day, 240 years ago, the resolution drafted from those discussions was passed by the Continental Congress to form what eventually became the United States Marine Corps.

"Friday, Nov. 10, 1775:  Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies; unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines."

As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas was named captain of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern's owner and patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first lieutenant and recruiter. Together, they chose the Tun Tavern as the recruiting headquarters of the Marines. Only weeks later, the Marine Corps conducted its first amphibious raid, successfully storming a British weapons cache in the Bahamas.

From the halls of Montezuma during a bloody battle in 1847 where the Marines captured Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City during the Mexican-American war, through World War II and the Marine capture of the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Imperial Army, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the United States Marine Corps has earned the world’s respect as an elite and reliable fighting unit wherever put into combat. They have faithfully and successfully defended our nation throughout its history.

In 1921, Marine Commandant John Lejeune looked back at the history on the birthday of the Marines, writing: "On Nov. 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name 'Marine.' The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organization in the world's history. During 90 of 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray at war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security."

What began in that little tavern 240 years ago now includes more than 200,000 active duty and reserve Marines, willing to serve and sacrifice so that you and I can live, work and raise a family in a nation of freedom.

Tomorrow, is Veterans' Day, and we recognize, celebrate and honor all American service men and women in every branch of our military. We owe them and their families an enormous debt of support, respect and gratitude for their service to our nation.

Today, on its birthday, I would like to give special recognition to the men and women of the United States Marine Corps for 240 years of faithful service to our nation.

From the lyrics of the Marine Corps Hymn: "We fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea; First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine."

Semper fidelis! And happy birthday!

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 – Oct. 2, 2015 – Levy reform: An option for a dependable education funding source

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

In my last e-newsletter to you on Sept. 10, I gave an update regarding the historic funding levels the Legislature provided in the 2015-17 budget cycle for K-12 education. I also told you that despite these record-breaking education funding levels, the state Supreme Court said these efforts still fall short of its directive under the McCleary decision "to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders."

We all want the best education for our children. The Legislature has been diligently 20130603_LegWA_4598shworking the past four years to meet the expectations of the McCleary decision by significantly increasing funding and enacting reforms. But the Supreme Court's concerns are not confined only to the amount of funding for public schools. The high court has also said the state has failed to provide an adequate method of funding. That is part of the reason why it is fining the state $100,000 a day because the funding method falls short for our schools. As a result, schools have been relying too heavily on local property tax levies to make up the unfunded gap in basic education costs such as teacher salaries, transportation and operating expenses.

Local school levies - One of the state's most regressive taxes

Many of my colleagues in the Legislature, Republican and Democrat, believe the time has come to address the issue of school levy reform. The local school levy is one of the most regressive taxes in Washington, where areas of the state with the lowest property values pay the highest amount of property taxes, while areas with rich property values, such as Seattle and Bellevue, pay less than 30 percent of the median tax rate.

Opportunities for a quality education for our kids should not be dependent on their ZIP code. Every child should have an equal opportunity for a great education, whether they live in Bellevue or Sultan.

Levy swap - An option for a dependable tax source for education funding

One of the solutions under consideration is the so-called "levy swap," which would implement a revenue-neutral swap of state property tax for local levies. A levy swap is aLevy swap means of allocating significant new state funding toward K-12 basic education obligations by lowering local maintenance and operating levies while simultaneously increasing state revenues. The idea isn't necessarily to grow the pot of money available, but rather to shift the source of the dollars from local school districts to the state.

Here's the basic concept of how a pure property tax levy swap might work:

  1. Increase the state property tax rate to $3.50 per $1,000 assessed value in 2019. (The current 2015 state property tax rate is $2.19 per $1,000.)
  2. Distribute this revenue to the local school districts.
  3. Reduce each school district's local levy authority by the amount gained in state funding.

The total tax revenue would remain roughly equal, but most of the funding would be collected and distributed at the state level, which would eliminate the huge inequities between school districts.

The numbers above are just for purposes of example. In fact, there are a few levy swap proposals being discussed, so those numbers vary. The impact to the 39th District would depend entirely on which proposal moves forward. So at this point, it is premature to provide specific figures of how your property taxes might be affected under a levy swap proposal.

Generally speaking, however, many people could see a net decrease in their property taxes under the levy swap concept. Property rich areas, such as Seattle and Bellevue would pay more, while areas with lower property values would pay less than they do now.

The use of the "new" state tax dollars from a levy swap would likely meet the state Supreme Court's requirement of a "dependable and regular tax source" as these funds would not require local approval and reauthorization. Plus, the same tax rate would be equally applied across the state, guaranteeing every student will get the same quality education, regardless where they live in Washington.

I hope this e-mail update has helped to provide additional understanding about the next possible step of education funding to address the McCleary decision requirements. Please feel free to contact my office with 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 E-mail Update – Sept. 10, 2015 – Back to school

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

In a matter of a few days, our weather changed from months of sunshine and little precipitation to days of much needed rain and cooler temperatures. There's no doubt that fall is in the air as we say hello to September, and begin sending kids back to school. As we do so, I wanted to provide a quick update from Olympia about the discussions over education funding.

Thank you to our firefightersWildfire

Before I get to the main topic of this newsletter, I'd like to take a moment to publicly thank all of the firefighters and volunteers who courageously worked to save lives and property from the many horrific wildfires in North Central Washington. Many of these firefighters left our communities in Snohomish, Skagit and King counties to pitch in. Hopefully, cooler temperatures and recent rainfall will give them all a break so that these fires can be quickly contained.

Also, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the three firefighters who died in the line of duty and to those injured and hospitalized. We pray for a quick recovery for the injured.

Historic education funding increases in state operating budget

I'm very proud of the 2015-17 operating budget adopted at the end of June because it provides historic funding increases for K-12 education. With a vote of 38-10 in the Senate and 90-8 in the House, the measure passed with the greatest bipartisan support of any operating budget in decades.

Here's a quick look at new education funding in the budget:K-12 funding increases

  • Invests an additional $2.9 billion in K-12 education, a 19 percent increase;
  • Dedicates 48 percent of the state budget for K-12 education -- the largest amount in more than 30 years;
  • Provides cost-of-living increases for teachers, plus a one-time salary raise;
  • Makes major investments in early learning and expands all-day kindergarten;
  • Reduces class sizes in grades K-3, where research shows it does the most good; and
  • $200 million was provided in the capital budget for classroom construction.

These increases are among efforts the Legislature made to respond to the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision.

Supreme Court sanctions

Despite these historic K-12 funding levels, the state Supreme Court said they still fall State Supreme Courtshort of its directive under the McCleary decision "to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.”

On Aug. 13, justices ordered contempt sanctions against the state in the amount of $100,000 a day until the Legislature delivers an education funding plan that satisfies the court and shows how the state will fully fund education by 2018.

The high court asked the governor to convene a fourth special session. As the court's press release says, "Sanctions accrue daily, to be held in a segregated account for the benefit of basic education until the contempt order is lifted."

There are several things troubling against this latest ruling.

  • First, the Legislature has followed through on all McCleary funding commitments. Our state remains on track for full compliance of the 2012 McCleary order by the original 2018 deadline. Unfortunately, the court has added new deadlines and expanded the definition of basic education to include elements such as school construction. How are we able to comply when the court keeps moving the goal post?
  • By directing appropriations under McCleary and setting up "a segregated account" for education, the court is trying to do the job of the Legislature, which is outside of its constitutional powers. Only the Legislature has the constitutional vested power to appropriate public monies (Article VIII, section 4), and the power of taxation (Article VII, section 1).
  • As noted above, we have provided historic increases in K-12 education. In fact, I have been one of the leading advocates for a solution called "Fund Education First," which would require the Legislature to pass a separate K-12 education budget before any other state appropriation. My House Republican colleagues and I have consistently stood up for students and equity in our public school system.

Where we go from here

Although the court wants the Legislature to be called into an immediate special session,Washington State Legislative Building, Olympia, WA I have met with Gov. Inslee and the other legislative leaders in the House and Senate. We have decided it is best not to rush the process, but to do it correctly by allowing a bipartisan legislative team to use this interim before the January 2016 session to find solutions to satisfy the court's concerns.

There are three options to address this issue: levy reform, new tax increases or cuts. All of these options would take time to develop, implement and phase in. Whether a plan is adopted later this year or in the 2016 legislative session, it will have a negligible impact on school district budgets. In the meantime, the fines will accrue. While $100,000 a day sounds like a lot of money, keep in mind the total amount of the accrual represents a very small percentage of the overall state budget and huge increases the Legislature has already dedicated toward basic education over the coming years.

The most likely option: levy reform

Part of the court’s concern is that schools have been relying too heavily on local property tax levies to fund “basic education” costs such as teacher salaries, transportation and operating expenses.

The local school levy is one of the most regressive taxes in the state, where areas with high property values such as Seattle and Bellevue pay less than 30 percent of the median tax rate. At the same time, the most impoverished areas of the state pay significantly more.

House Republican Leader Rep. Dan KristiansenOne of the reforms under discussion is the so-called "levy swap," which would implement a revenue-neutral swap of state property tax for local levies, and stay within the constitutional 1 percent limit for regular property taxes. This would bring $1 billion of existing local excess levies into a more regular and dependable tax structure – the statewide property tax.

Democrats and the governor have advocated for a new capital gains income tax, which I believe is a terrible idea. A capital gains income tax opens the door to a state income tax (a very unpopular idea with voters over the years), has proven to be a volatile revenue stream, and may be unconstitutional. My House Republican colleagues and I have always said that new tax increases should be the last resort. And many of us will not support a new tax increase of any kind.

I believe the levy swap may be our best and most equitable option to satisfy the court requirements. It would make our most regressive tax fair. And it would NOT create a new tax.

Contact my office with your questions, comments

Thank you for allowing me to explain these issues. I welcome your comments on these or other legislative matters. Please contact my office. 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 – July 29, 2015 – State gas tax will increase Saturday

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Two weeks ago, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Connecting Washington transportation bill, which is a 16-year, $16 billion transportation plan to provide new highway and bridge projects, a new 144-car ferry and terminals, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects, rail Gas fillimprovements and fish passage barrier replacements.

The bulk of these projects will be paid for by an 11.9 cents a gallon gas-tax hike approved earlier this month by the Legislature. The first part of that gas-tax increase is seven cents a gallon, which will take effect this Saturday, Aug. 1. The remaining 4.9 cent increase will take effect July 2016.

In addition to raising gas taxes, the transportation revenue package, Senate Bill 5987, will also increase passenger vehicle weight fees by as much as $35 next year and an additional $10 in 2022. Weight fees on trucks over 10,000 pounds will increase by 15 percent.

Not an easy decision

Moving forward on this immense transportation plan and the increase in taxes was a difficult decision for many in the Legislature, especially Republicans. We know there are an increasing amount of maintenance and infrastructure needs across our state and in our communities and that a new transportation plan would help many communities and our economy.

On the other hand, we've also been very frustrated with a series of problems within theBertha governor's Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), including an on-ramp built in the wrong place, poorly-designed ferries, faulty pontoons for the SR 520 bridge project, projects promised that were never built, and of course, the enormous issues involving the Bertha Tunnel project in downtown Seattle. As I've said before, we need to fix those problems BEFORE we fund it. So that's why we've insisted on significant and meaningful reforms.

I voted 'no'

On July 1 at 12:30 a.m., Senate Bill 5987, came up for a vote in the House. The measure passed 54-44. I voted "no."

Here's why:

  • It's the largest gas-tax increase in state history and brings Washington up as the second highest gas tax in the nation, just behind Pennsylvania. Many struggling families and employers cannot pay more at the pump.
  • It's light on reforms. Business as usual with the governor's WSDOT will not ensure taxpayers get the most for their gas tax dollars. WSDOT does not have a good record for getting projects finished on time and within budget. Taxpayers deserve more accountability!
  • It does very little to help our district. I'm particularly disappointed that State Highway 2Route 2, the deadliest highway in Washington, is still not receiving the attention it deserves to ensure safety. Only $15 million is earmarked for SR 2 for unspecified safety projects.
  • Rural drivers in our district will be paying disproportionately more in gas taxes, just because they have to drive farther than those in urban areas like Seattle. Yet, Seattle and other urban areas will be getting more benefits from this transportation package than the 39th District.
  • There is roughly $1 billion for transit, bike and pedestrian projects, which will provide much less relief for traffic congestion than if that money would have been directed toward expanded highway capacity.
  • Bonds for these projects will take up to 40 years to pay off. That means drivers who are now 25 years old will be turning retirement age before these projects are paid off.
  • The bill contains an emergency clause, which prevents voters from taking this to the ballot for a referendum. I supported an effort to remove the emergency clause and add a referendum provision in the bill so you could vote on the final package in November. However, majority Democrats defeated that amendment.

The silver linings within the cloud

While I'm very concerned about this plan for the reasons stated above, I do want to mention some positive aspects:

  • The Legislature passed Republican-sponsored measures that will make it easier to replace structurally-deficient bridges, reform how ferries are built, streamline transportation corridor projects' permits, and encourage WSDOT to use design build on all projects over $2 million.
  • We also made congestion relief part of our state transportation goals.
  • In exchange for the transportation project package, Gov. Inslee agreed to California gasset aside his effort to pursue a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) until 2023. The governor's LCFS proposal was estimated to potentially raise the cost of gasoline by at least another dollar per gallon.

Ensuring your tax dollars are used wisely, on time and within budget

Although I opposed the bill and the bonding measure needed to pay for the projects, that legislation is now law. So I will be working to make sure projects promised within this package are delivered on time and within budget, and I will be supporting further reforms to hold WSDOT accountable with your tax dollars to ensure they are used wisely.

I hope this update has been helpful in providing information to you about the new gas- tax increase and why I opposed it. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about the materials in this e-mail update, or any other items relating to legislation and state government, please reach out to my office. You will 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 – July 22, 2015 – Capital budget projects return $ to 39th District

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

The state of Washington has three separate budgets: operating, capital and transportation.Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Last week in this e-newsletter, I highlighted the newly-approved 2015-17 state operating budget, which pays for the general operations of state government, including education, health care, public safety and social services. This week, I would like to give you an update on the capital budget.

The capital budget provides for the acquisition, construction and maintenance of land, buildings, parks and other projects with long-term infrastructure value. We often call it the "bricks and mortar budget," because it pays for a lot of physical structures across the state.

Legislature gives strong approval to 2015-17 capital budget: Projects will help 39th District

On June 30, the House approved House Bill 1115, the capital budget measure, by a vote of 92-2. The Senate followed with a vote of 44-1.

You send a lot of your money to Olympia. I was pleased in voting "yes" for the capital Wallace Fallsconstruction budget to help bring some of that money back to the 39th District for some very important projects. Here are some of the projects approved in this budget for our district:

  • $2.2 million for Marblemount Fish Hatchery upgrades;
  • $1 million for the Granite Falls Boys and Girls Club;
  • $372,000 for Sultan River access;
  • $199,000 for Waterspray Park;
  • $167,000 for Lyman City Park renovations;
  • $150,000 for Wallace Falls footbridge replacement;
  • $120,000 for Lake Tye Skate Park; and
  • Funding is also provided for the Stilly Valley Youth Project, the Darrington skate park and Whitehorse Trail improvements.

Although the Legislature has adjourned, please remember that I work for you throughout the year. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about the information in this e-mail update, or any other items relating to legislation and state government, please reach out to my office. You will 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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