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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update – July 15, 2015 – Historic operating budget enacted

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

After 176 days, a regular session and three special sessions, it is great to be out of Olympia and back home with family, friends and the citizens of the 39th District.

The Legislature finished its business on Friday afternoon, passing final bills, including a measure to suspend the class-size initiative (I-1351), which would have cost the state an additional $2 billion to $4 billion it doesn't have, and a measure to delay high school biology testing requirements for two years that allows about 2,000 students who failed the test to graduate this year.

For details on the final day, I invite you to listen to my radio report here.

Extended sessions keep $1.5 billion in taxpayers' pockets

I share the frustration of many that it took so long for the Legislature to finish its work. I was one of three negotiators for House Republicans on the state operating budget, and I was in Olympia nearly every day since the beginning of session on Jan. 12.

We knew going into this session that the state would be collecting an additional $3 billion in revenue because of an economic upswing in the greater Puget Sound region. Republicans had a plan from day one of the session to use that additional money to balance the budget, make major investments in education, take care of mental illness services, and provide for public safety and our most vulnerable citizens. We were confident that this additional revenue would allow us to pay for these priorities without raising taxes.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Democrats in the House and Senate insisted on raising taxes by asRep. Dan Kristiansen much as $1.5 billion. First, the governor proposed a carbon tax. But Inslee couldn't even get support among his own party for that proposal. Then majority House Democrats proposed an operating budget that would have relied on a combination of business tax increases and implementation of a capital gains income tax. House Democrats passed their operating budget plan, but they never brought those tax proposals to pay for that plan to the House floor for a vote.

My Republican colleagues in the House and Senate held firm with our message of no major tax increases. After a revenue forecast in May predicted the state would bring in even more money, Democrats reluctantly dropped their proposal for business tax increases. Then in late June, they finally abandoned their capital gains income tax proposal.

In the end, there were some small tax loopholes closed as a part of the final budget compromise. Nevertheless, our negotiation strategy resulted in a state operating budget proposal that had the highest bipartisan support in more than 25 years, and is not built upon those major tax increases Democrats and the governor originally sought.

So you could say the extended time in session saved taxpayers $1.5 billion, which is significant. The 2015-17 budget itself, however, is historic in that it provides an additional $1.3 billion for K-12 education, funds cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for teachers, pays for raises for state employees, and for the first time in the history of our state, CUTS higher education tuition.

I invite you to read more about the operating budget in my press release here.

Many successes

While there are some who will criticize the time it took for lawmakers to finish their business this year, I'm very proud of the accomplishments we have made in the past six months. We passed more than 300 bipartisan bills that will benefit Washingtonians and communities across our state, including the operating, capital and transportation budgets. Next week in this report, I will highlight details of the capital budget we passed, along with local projects funded for the 39th District.

Although the Legislature has adjourned, please remember I work for you throughout the year. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about the materials in this email 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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update: June 12, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

As the leader for House Republicans, I am privileged to have a seat at the table alongside Rep. Bruce Chandler, ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, who has been our primary representative in the negotiations for a 2015-17 state operating budget. While there is much frustration that we are nearly a month-and-a-half beyond the end of the regular legislative session which concluded April 24 without a budget agreement, we and Senate Republicans are hopeful progress can be made each day in our talks with majority House Democrats.

While I can't get into specifics about our budget talks, I wanted to take a few minutes to provide an update and to let you know I believe there will be a number of things we can celebrate when a bipartisan budget agreement comes together.

TAXES
Republicans in both the House and Senate have been working to protect the public Taxesfrom tax increases. The May revenue forecast shows the state will take in an additional $3.2 billion in tax revenues -- a 9.2 percent increase over the last budget cycle!

Washington state does not need new tax increases. No one will get everything they want in this new budget. However, there's plenty of money to satisfy the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision, make major investments in our schools, including teacher cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), fund collective bargaining agreements, improve our mental health system and reduce college tuition -- all without higher taxes.

SALARIES OF TEACHERS, STATE EMPLOYEES
Although many teachers have received step increases (periodic increases in a  moneyemployee's rate of basic pay from one step of the grade of his or her position to the next higher step of that grade), it's true there have been no state COLAs since 2008. We trust teachers with our children and expect them to do huge things. They and our other hard-working state employees will be getting a COLA in the new budget.

You can look up the yearly salary of any state public employee, including teachers and legislators here. You can also search salaries of state employees for 2012 and 2013 on The News Tribune's website here.

MY SALARY AND BENEFITS
I also want to be very candid about my salary as a state legislator. Most legislators are Rep. Dan Kristiansen at presserpaid $42,106 per year and that amount has been the same since 2008, plus benefits. My pay was the same until I was appointed in 2013 as the minority leader for House Republicans and received a 9.5 percent increase with the new position. My current salary is $46,106 per year.

Legislators are also considered to be state employees, so I receive health insurance coverage. The state's contribution to my health insurance is $662 per month or $7,944 per year. The state also matches an employee's 7.65 percent salary deduction for Social Security and Medicare taxes. The state pays about $40 per month to the Department of Labor and Industries for industrial insurance coverage, which is matched by an employee payroll deduction.

Legislators may also choose to participate in the state's pension system in which the state contributes 9.21 percent of salary. I have declined participation in these retirement benefits, and will receive no pension or retirement income from this job.

CITIZENS' COMMISSION, NOT LEGISLATORS, SET OUR SALARIES
Contrary to what some people might think, legislators do not set their own salaries. This is done by an independent citizens' commission. In 1986, the state Legislature approved a bill to create the Washington Citizens' Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials subject to voter approval of a proposed constitutional amendment. House Joint Resolution 49 amending the state constitution passed on Nov. 4, 1986. Since then this independent citizen commission has set the salaries of elected officials in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of state government.

Last month, the commission voted for an 11 percent raise for state legislators. I had no input in that process and this is not a proposal that would come before the Legislature for a vote.

The process is entirely different from the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., which determines its own pay. See information about that here. I am a state representative, not a member of the U.S. Congress. My salary is set by the Washington Citizens' Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials. Learn more about the commission here.

I WILL NOT BE ATTENDING THE U.S. OPEN
I am very glad that Chambers Bay is the site chosen for the U.S. Open golf Chambers Baychampionship that begins Monday in Pierce County. It will be a great boost for our state's economy.

State ethics rules generally prohibit legislators from accepting gifts worth more than $50. However, the state Legislative Ethics Board said in April state lawmakers could accept one complimentary U.S. Open ticket (valued at $110) from Pierce County if they attend a presentation hosted by the county. Pierce County has offered around 45 tickets to state lawmakers. I have declined the ticket and I will not be attending any portion of the event.

I hope this e-newsletter has been informative about the budget negotiations and benefits expected for teachers, students and state employees, while protecting taxpayers and keeping the state budget balanced. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. My contact information is below. Thank 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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update: This Memorial Day, don’t forget the vets!

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Memorial Day weekend is generally considered the unofficial beginning of summer. If the weather is nice, you'll find many people camping or having backyard barbecues. A lot of families will get together to enjoy each other's company, head to the beach, or stay home and watch the Indianapolis 500 race.

As we enjoy these freedoms, I would also like to offer an important reminder: Remember those who served our country and sacrificed their lives to make these things possible!

American soldiers have always answered the call, no matter what the price, fighting in the most unimaginable conditions to protect and preserve what we cherish most about our nation -- freedom.

From our founding revolution to today’s global war on terrorism, nearly one million men and women in the Armed Forces have sacrificed their lives while defending America in time of war. They gave their lives, because they understood their country's future rested upon achieving victory. We owe them and their families an enormous debt of support, respect and gratitude for their service to our nation. Their dedication and sacrifices have preserved our ability to live, work and raise our families in a free nation.

Our surviving veterans who did return home remain humble and stoic about their service. They insist that the gratitude truly belongs not to them, but to their fallen comrades who paid the ultimate price. One of the best ways to thank them is to honor their fellow soldiers who died in the line of duty, to care for their wounded brothers and sisters, and to safeguard their families.

Long after the battlefield guns have silenced and the bombs stop exploding, children of our fallen warriors will be missing a parent. Spouses will be without their life partners. Parents will continue to grieve for their heroic sons and daughters who died way too soon. Nearly 700,000 veterans live in Washington state. Chances are, you know a veteran or their family members. Please make the effort to thank them for their service, offer whatever assistance they need, show your appreciation, and give them assurance that their loved one's sacrifice will not be forgotten.

As we begin this Memorial Day weekend, please remember that all the activities you, your families and your neighbors do were made possible because of our veterans.

As President Reagan once said, "Our liberties, our values, all for which America stands, is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom’s front. And we thank God for them."

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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update: Special session and bills good for business | May 6, 2015

SPECIAL TO OUR CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Last Wednesday, April 29, legislators were called back to Olympia into special session to complete the unfinished work of negotiating and passing a two-year state operating budget for the 2015-17 fiscal cycle. Lawmakers passed several bills on Wednesday and Rep. Dan Kristiansenthen were released into what is known as a "rolling session." This means that we essentially "roll" from one floor session to the next each day, but lawmakers are not on the floor. They've gone home while budget negotiators meet in Olympia to try to find agreement on the three budgets: operating, capital and transportation.

If and when agreements are reached on either the budgets or legislation that enable passage of the budgets, lawmakers will be called back to Olympia to take votes on the House floor. The Senate is also in the same type of rolling session.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm very disappointed the Legislature did not finish its business within the allotted 105-day session. The primary reason we are in a special session is because Democrats and the governor insist on raising taxes by as much as $1.5 billion, even though the state is bringing in an additional $3 billion -- nearly a nine percent increase in revenue -- and a record increase for the state -- because of an improved economy in the Puget Sound region.

A large portion of the Democrats' tax increase proposal is targeted against employers. They want to increase the business and occupation taxes on service businesses and travel agents by 1.8 percent. This would especially hurt our local small businesses and increase unemployment across the state.

As I explained to Austin Jenkins on TVW's Inside Olympia program last week, many of the other counties outside of Puget Sound still have high unemployment. People cannot afford tax increases. The Legislature doesn't need to make this problem worse!

Let's also make this point very clear. With a nine percent increase in revenue, we don't need tax increases to balance the state budget. It's a matter of setting priorities -- needs versus wants. Both budgets direct nearly a billion-and-a-half additional dollars toward K-12 education, which should satisfy the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision requirements.

Special sessions last 30 days. It's my hope budget negotiators will finish their business sooner than later and provide a compromise agreement that can gain a majority of votes in the House and Senate before the end of the special session.

I invite you to watch my TWV interview here for a more detailed explanation of why we are in a special session and what needs to be done at this point.

Aside from the budgets, we did accomplish many things during the 2015 regular session. Many bills are now going to the governor after being passed during the regular session. Below, I would like to highlight four good business bills of interest that won legislative approval and will soon become law.

Contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!.

In your service,

Dan

Good for business bills
More than 2,400 bills were introduced in the Legislature during the 2015 regular session. Of those, 309 passed both the House and Senate and were sent to the governor. The following are four of those bills that will be good for business and good for Washington:

  • House Bill 1043 - Self-storage facilities: This bill lets owners of storageStorage units units send email notifications to renters of storage units when they’re behind on their storage payments by 14 or more days. In this age of text messages and email, relying on regular mail could be an obsolete strategy for many who are on the move or relocating. This bill would be helpful to both the owner and occupant as a good alternative to the postal service. Email notice may be used if the occupant expressly agrees to it; the rental agreement specifies in bold type that notices are given by email; the owner provides an email address from which notices are sent and directs the occupant to modify his/her email settings to allow email from that address; and the owner notifies occupants of any change in the email address prior to that change. Signed by the governor April 17.
  • House Bill 1749 - Contractor registration: This bill will make it easier for homeowners to make improvements to their property for the purpose of selling it. The measure ends the requirement for homeowners working on their house to register with Labor and Industries as a contractor in order to “flip” it. No longer will homeowners have to worry about steep fines for failing to register as a contractor. Signed by the governor April 22. Read more about this bill here.
  • House Bill 2040 - Increasing veteran employment: This bill is aimed atHire a vet starting a campaign for businesses to increase the number of veterans employed around the state. Known as the "One business, one vet" bill, the measure will partner the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), Employment Security Department, and the Department of Commerce with local chambers of commerce, associate development organizations and businesses to initiate a demonstration campaign to increase veteran employment. Signed by the governor April 22. Read more about this bill here.
  • Senate Bill 5510 - Simplifying calculation of worker compensation benefits: This bill requires the Department of Labor to convene an industrial insurance benefit accuracy working group by Aug. 1 to work on improving the accuracy, simplicity, fairness and consistency of calculating worker compensation benefits. The intent is to reduce confusion among employers and increase accuracy. This bill has been delivered to the governor.

Contact my office for more information on these, other business-related bills, or any legislation.

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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update: Rolling through a special session| May 5, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Last Wednesday, April 29, legislators were called back to Olympia into special session to complete the unfinished work of negotiating and passing a two-year state operating budget for the 2015-17 fiscal cycle. Lawmakers passed several bills on Wednesday and Rep. Dan Kristiansenthen were released into what is known as a "rolling session." This means that we essentially "roll" from one floor session to the next each day, but lawmakers are not on the floor. They've gone home while budget negotiators meet in Olympia to try to find agreement on the three budgets: operating, capital and transportation.

If and when agreements are reached on either the budgets or legislation that enable passage of the budgets, lawmakers will be called back to Olympia to take votes on the House floor. The Senate is also in the same type of rolling session.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm very disappointed the Legislature did not finish its business within the allotted 105-day session. The primary reason we are in a special session is because Democrats and the governor insist on raising taxes by as much as $1.5 billion, even though the state is bringing in an additional $3 billion -- nearly a nine percent increase in revenue -- and a record increase for the state -- because of an improved economy in the Puget Sound region. But as I explained to Austin Jenkins on TVW's Inside Olympia program last week, many of the other counties outside of Puget Sound still have high unemployment. People cannot afford tax increases.

Let's also make this point very clear. With a nine percent increase in revenue, we don't need tax increases to balance the state budget. It's a matter of setting priorities -- needs versus wants. Both budgets direct nearly a billion-and-a-half additional dollars toward K-12 education, which should satisfy the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision requirements.

Special sessions last 30 days. It's my hope budget negotiators will finish their business sooner than later and provide a compromise agreement that can gain a majority of votes in the House and Senate before the end of the special session.

I invite you to watch my TWV interview here for a more detailed explanation of why we are in a special session and what needs to be done at this point.

Aside from the budgets, we did accomplish many things during the 2015 regular session. Many bills are now going to the governor after being passed during the regular session. Below, I would like to highlight four bills of interest that won legislative approval, have been signed by the governor, and will soon become law.

Contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!.

In your service,

Dan

Top four bills of interest becoming law
More than 2,400 bills were introduced in the Legislature during the 2015 regular session. Of those, 309 passed both the House and Senate and were sent to the governor for his signature. While every bill is important to someone, here is my top four picks of measures of interest to our local area:

  • House Bill 1052 - Requiring institutions of higher education to make an early registration process available to spouses and domestic partners of active military members.
    This is a bill suggested by Christian Arciniega of Granite Falls, whose husband, Andres, is in the National Guard. Under this measure, beginning in the 2015-16 academic year, institutions of higher education that offer any early course registration to students must have a process in place to offer early course registration to students who are the spouses of eligible veterans or National Guard members who are receiving veteran's education benefits. Often, husbands and wives are at the mercy of their spouses' deployment schedule. This bill ensures they receive priority registration at our colleges and universities and furthers their ability to graduate on time. Signed by the governor on April 17. Read more about this bill here.
  • House Bill 1282 - Addressing the crime of driving while license suspended where the suspension is based on noncompliance with a child support order. The Department of Social and Health Services can have a parent's driver's license suspended if that parent is six months or more behind in child support. This measure creates a misdemeanor crime in the third degree of "driving while license suspended or revoked" based on failure to be in compliance with a child support order. The suspension is lifted once the obligation has been fulfilled. Signed by the governor on May 1.
  • House Bill 1285 - Requiring all newborns in Washington to be screened for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) using pulse oximetry. CCHD affects nearly 1 in 100 infants. Early detection and intervention is critical for a good health outcome for these infants. Signed by the governor on April 21.
  • House Bill 2181 - Modifying the maximum speed limit on highways. Current state law generally sets the maximum speed limit for city and town streets at 25 miles per hour, county roads at 50 miles per hour, and state highways at 60 miles per hour. The state transportation secretary may decrease or increase the maximum speed on any segment of a highway, based on engineering and traffic studies that place a high value on safety.  However, the maximum speed limit for any highway under current law is 70 miles per hour. Under House Bill 2181, the maximum speed limit could be raised up to 75 miles per hour. Signed by the governor on April 22 with a partial veto. Read more about this bill here.

Arlington student helps in the HouseRep. Dan Kristiansen with legislative page Luke Jankovic
It was my honor to sponsor Luke Jankovic as a page in the House of Representatives. Luke is a freshman at Arlington High School and he's active in high school band and spring basketball.

Paging presents students with a unique educational opportunity to participate in the legislative process Their duties vary from ceremonial tasks, such as presenting the flags, to operational chores like distributing amendments during legislative sessions.

It was obvious Luke really enjoyed his time here. He seemed to be captivated by the legislative process and it was fun watching his interest.

Go here for more information about Luke and how to become involved in the House page program.

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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update: Governor forces special session | April 24, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

This Sunday, April 26, is the final day of the 105-day regular session. I had hoped to tell you this is the final week, that budgets are ready for adoption and that the Legislature will soon be finished. Instead, we are facing a different reality.

The Legislature has decided to adjourn sine die at the end of the day today. Gov. InsleeGov. Jay Inslee demands tax increases has called a special session, beginning next Wednesday, April 29. The reason we are going into a special session is because Gov. Inslee insists on raising taxes even though the state is getting a record $3 billion (9 percent raise) in additional revenue without tax increases.

It is a complete reversal from candidate Jay Inslee, who told several news outlets, including Crosscut on Nov. 14, 2012 that: "the Legislature can raise money to meet a Washington Supreme Court mandate to increase school funding by creating enough new jobs to generate more state revenue — and without raising taxes. 'I think economic growth is the best way forward,' Inslee said."

Many times, I've said job creation is the best way to bring more revenue to the state -- NOT tax increases. We've got an additional $3 billion coming to the state because of economic growth. Tax increases will stifle that growth.

Here's the other hang-up that has forced the Legislature into a special session: House Rep. Dan Kristiansen with House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Mark SchoeslerDemocrats have passed an operating budget that would rely on $1.5 billion dollars in new and increased taxes, including a capital gains income tax and a B&O tax. They sent that budget over to the Senate. However, they have not pulled out their tax package for a vote, even though their budget relies on those taxes. Senate Republicans, who also passed their version of an operating budget that does not rely on tax increases, say they cannot negotiate on the House Democratic budget until the Democrats pass their tax package. Otherwise, they say it is a hollow budget and they would be negotiating against themselves. House Democrats say the Senate won’t approve the tax increases, so why pull it up to take the hard votes?

Please read on for more information about my views on the teacher walkouts.

Contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!.

In your service,

Dan

What the teachers are saying. . .
These are messages sent to my office this week from teachers and school employees. Please take my survey and provide your own comments!

"As a public school employee, I urge you to raise new revenue so we can fully fund education and protect the social and health services our students need. Our current tax system is unfair and inadequate. The House's proposed tax on capital gains is a good step forward, but I also support other sources of new revenue, including a tax on big polluters and closing unfair corporate tax loopholes."
Robyn

"If the Legislature can find a way to approve a record-setting $8.7 billion tax break for Boeing, you can find a way to fund the smaller class sizes our kids need and deserve."
Patricia

"Until YOU do my job, don't sit there on your high horse and surmise that me, a lowly teacher, is overpaid and under worked!  Listen to the people that elected you and do what is right: LOWER CLASS SIZE K-12 and pay a competitive salary to the educators of this state!"
Anita

2014-15 AVERAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT PERSONNEL SALARIES (includes insurance and mandatory benefits):

Arlington - $98,700
Monroe - $93,657
Granite Falls - $91,572
Sedro-Woolley - $82,359
Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

Teacher strikes: How much is enough?

I am deeply disappointed that teachers in numerous school districts have chosen to walk out of their classrooms this week and to hold a one-day strike to protest the Senate Republican operating budget proposal. I expressed that disappointment in a prepared statement this past weekend.

It raises the question, "How much is enough?"

Overview of Senate budget for K-12 education:

  • $2.7 billion biennial increase (from $15.3 billion to $18 billion);
  • $1.3 billion policy adds ($740 million for maintenance, supplies and operating costs; $350 million for K-3 class-size reduction; and $190 million for all-day kindergarten);
  • $230 million for K-12 salary increases;
  • $210 million for increased pension costs;
  • The bipartisan capital budget would build 2,100 more classrooms to reduce K-3 class size. Class size in upper grades is maintained at current levels, NOT made more crowded;
  • 17.8 percent increase in state appropriations (versus less than 6 percent increase for other non-education portions of the state budget);
  • This is the largest K-12 biennial percentage growth in more than 25 years; and
  • K-12 funding under this proposal would take up 47 percent of the state budget - the highest since Gov. Spellman was in office more than 30 years ago.

In its editorial Monday, The Seattle Times said "Instead of striking, teachers across Washington state should be celebrating."

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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update: What I am doing for you in Olympia| April 15, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Only 11 days remain of the 105-day regular legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 26. Both the House and Senate have rolled out their respective proposals for the operating, capital and transportation budgets. All have passed their respective chambers. Negotiations on each of these important budget items are ongoing.

Last week in my e-newsletter, I gave you a glimpse of the differences between the proposed House and Senate operating budgets. Since then, our staff has worked up an even better and more accurate comparison, which you can see here. . .

House-SenateBudgetDetailedChart

Since today is April 15, "tax day," it is appropriate to talk about taxes and what I'm trying to do to keep more money in your pockets. As I mentioned in this e-newsletter last week, Washington is getting a record increase of tax revenue -- an additional $3 billion under our current system. And that's without tax increases. We don't need to raise taxes as the Democrats have proposed. We simply should prioritize between our "needs" and our "wants." That means making some difficult, but reasonable decisions among the two parties' budget writers in the House and Senate who have proposed competing operating budget proposals. As the leader of the House Republican Caucus, I am working to bring all sides together to negotiate an operating budget proposal that is sustainable and fiscally responsible for the state of Washington.

Last month, in both The Arlington Times and The Marysville Globe, an article was published entitled, "This is what your lawmakers are doing in Marysville and Arlington." It listed the number of bills sponsored by local lawmakers and a brief description of some of those measures. It also said "Rep. Dan Kristianson has sponsored 0 (zero) bills."

Although the newspaper misspelled my name, it is correct that I have not sponsored any bills this session. However, before you make a judgment about that, I would invite you to read my response to the newspaper, which you can find below.

The newspaper's editor declined my response, saying: "If I give Kristiansen a chance to explain, then I have to give all of the others a chance to explain. And we don't have room for that."

There is room in this e-newsletter for that explanation, which I believe is important. I always try in my correspondence to help educate the public about the legislative process. Volume of bills sponsored is not an accurate measure of effectiveness in Olympia, as you will see in the article below.

Please contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about any issues in this e-newsletter or other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!

In your service,

Dan

Rep. Dan Kristiansen - One of the Legislature's four top leaders

Effective leadership in Olympia is not measured by volume of bill sponsorships
By Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Recently, an article appeared in the Arlington Times which asked the question: “Are your lawmakers doing what you want them to in Olympia?” The article listed several local lawmakers, the number of bills they have sponsored, and a brief description of several of those measures. It also read “Rep. Dan Kristianson (sic) has sponsored 0 (zero) bills.” That’s a stark difference from the other lawmakers listed.

The average reader may take this as, “Wow, no bills! So what is Rep. Kristiansen doing in Olympia?”

Here’s my response to help readers and constituents understand that I am working very hard on their behalf.

In total, since first taking office in 2003, I have sponsored 34 bills, four resolutions (these are to honor notable people and groups in Washington) and one joint memorial (which is a letter to the president and Congress). I’m proud to say seven of those bills became law and all of the resolutions were adopted.

Anyone who truly knows the inner-workings of the Legislature, understands statistics like these are meaningless. If volume of bills was an accurate measurement, it might be argued that one senator was most effective because he introduced 136 bills during a biennium several years ago. The most infamous of his legislation was a proposal to allow dogs in bars. Incidentally, he’s no longer in the Legislature.

My role as a legislator is far greater than how many bills I sponsor during a session.Rep. Dan Kristiansen leads the House Republicans Communicator, problem solver, negotiator, diplomat, mediator: these are skills of effectiveness that good legislators bring to the table that cannot be measured in bill sponsorships. It is because of these skills that my caucus chose me to become House Republican leader two years ago. That’s just one step away from the highest honored position in the House – that of Speaker.

Frank Chopp is the longest serving Speaker in the Washington State House of Representatives. In 16 years, Speaker Chopp has introduced 45 resolutions honoring various people, but he has not sponsored or passed any of his own bills. Zero! This is common for a leader in the House.

As a state representative, I am not only representing my own district, answering phone calls, e-mails and letters from constituents, meeting with them, working to solve government-related problems for them, and doing all as I did in the past, but as House Republican leader, my role is now broader. Two years ago, I helped bring Senate Republicans and House Democrats together during contentious budget negotiations. They used my office as a neutral ground for discussions – “Switzerland” as one lawmaker called it – and I worked to facilitate communications. This helped to produce a bipartisan budget – the first in more than a decade – and we averted a government shutdown.

Frequently, when a constituent brings me a good idea for legislation, I will give that to other legislators for sponsorship so they can get the credit. As leader, I am also the “big picture” guy looking at issues with a broad wide-angle lens, becoming the conscience in the room, and bringing people from all sides together, including the governor, as we discuss what is most important and best for the citizens of Washington.

Effective leadership and representation of one’s district is not accurately measured by the amount of bills a legislator introduces. It is measured by how involved and engaged a legislator is in his or her district and in bringing the voice of the people to Olympia as we represent them at the state Capitol. That’s what I’m doing as your representative and as leader of the Washington House Republican Caucus.

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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes

Kristiansen E-mail Update: A tale of two budgets | April 10, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Both the House Democrats and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (Republicans) have passed competing operating budgets out of their respective chambers.

Below is a brief side-by-side comparison of both budget proposals. I think there are things to like and dislike in both proposals. I like the fact that both proposals add millions of dollars to K-12 education, which should satisfy the state Supreme Court "McCleary Decision" requirements. Both the House and Senate recognize what a tremendous burden the high cost of tuition is on students in our colleges and universities, so they attempt to address those concerns in these proposals.House D Senate R budgets

I am very concerned, however, that House Democrats have passed their budget proposal, which is based on raising taxes by more than $1.5 billion. Their "revenue" (tax increase) package would include, among other items: a new capital gains income tax; an increase of business and occupation taxes on service businesses, which could impact our small Main Street Mom and Pop businesses; and extending the sales tax to bottled water, which voters rejected a few years ago. Interestingly enough, the Democrats have not brought up their tax increase bill for a vote in the House Finance Committee. Yet, they've passed a budget that relies on that bill.

The Senate proposal does not rely on tax increases. They recognize what I've been saying all along -- that the state is already getting a record pay raise -- more than $3 billion in additional tax collections because of a better economy. That's a 9 percent raise -- a lot more than most people have seen in their paychecks. We don't need a tax increase! But House Democrats want spending to be increased by 15 percent! And that brings me back to what I frequently say: Washington doesn't have a revenue problem -- it has a SPENDING problem!

Last week, I asked recipients of this email update to answer this question:

Do you support House Democrats' tax increase proposal? Here are the results:

  • No, the state should live within its means: 84.51%
  • Yes, the state needs more revenue to provide more services: 12.68%
  • Not sure, need more information: 2.82%

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn its regular session on April 26. Between now and that date, lawmakers from both chambers will need to get together to hammer out a compromise two-year budget, which will likely look much different from the two budgets presented here. We owe it to you, the taxpayers, to have this task finished and to be done on time by the end of the 105-day regular session.

Please contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!

In your service,

Dan

 A tale of two budgets
A brief comparison of the House and Senate budget proposals
PROPOSAL House Democrat
Operating Budget
Senate Majority Coalition Caucus Operating Budget
Taxes Relies on $1.5 billion in new taxes and tax increases including: a new capital gains income tax, an increase in the B&O tax for service businesses, and extension of the sales tax to bottled water and to Internet purchases No new taxes. Allows 15 exemptions to expire. Budget would make state live within existing revenues (which includes a $3 billion increase in revenues without tax hikes.)
Spending Would spend $38.9 billion -- up from current $33.8 billion budget -  a 15 percent increase Would spend $37.8 billion
K-12 education $740 million for maintenance, supplies and operations $741 million for maintenance, supplies and operations
 All-day kindergarten  $180 million  $184 million
Higher education tuition  Would freeze tuition rates Would decrease existing tuition prices by 25 percent
State employee compensation Three percent increase in 2016 and 1.8 percent increase in 2017 $2,000 raise for all state employees. Up to 25,000 of the state's lowest-paid workers would receive higher wages than the negotiated collective bargaining agreement
Eliminates the state spending limit? Yes No
Savings held for emergencies Only $4 million would remain in the state's ending fund balance for 2017-19 $500 million left in the bank, plus $900 million for state's rainy day fund
I-1351 class-size funding Includes only full-day kindergarten and class-size reductions already called for under McCleary decision. Voters will not get to decide Would pay for class-size reductions for kindergarten through third grade. Would send the proposed change back to voters to decide in November
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
 Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google Plus  Instagram  Flickr  YouTube  iTunes