Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for participating in the transportation survey I posted online last week. We had hundreds of respondents.
I asked about whether local governments should be given the authority to raise taxes and fees for local transportation projects. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said “no.” I asked whether the state gasoline tax should be raised by 11.7 cents a gallon to pay for transportation projects in Washington. More than 71 percent said “no.” Finally, I asked respondents if they support Gov. Inslee's proposed low-carbon fuel standard and cap-and-trade carbon tax. This had the highest opposition at more than 84 percent. If you would like to download and view the results of my survey, go here.
As I mentioned in last week's e-newsletter update, the Legislature is now in the midst of its first major deadlines — or what we call “cutoff.” Last Friday was policy cutoff. Policy bills that had not passed from their respective committees by then are considered “dead” for the year for the most part. Tomorrow is the fiscal cutoff. The same rules apply for fiscal bills (those involving spending money) that have not passed from their committees. Bills necessary to implement the state budget are exempt from the cutoffs. Of course, any bill could be “resurrected” with enough support.
Dead and alive bills
Below is an update of my bills which are still alive. For a list of all the major “dead and alive” bills in the Legislature, click here.
Local teens page in Legislature
I am honored to host two students from the 18th District who are serving this week as pages in the Legislature. Greta DuBois is a 14-year-old-student at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. She is the daughter of Peter DuBois and Ingrid Dankmeyer of Battle Ground. Dylan Bartos is a 15-year-old student at iTech Preparatory in Vancouver. He is the son of Patrick and Meridith Bartos. Pages serve an important duty, keeping the Legislature operational, by delivering important documents, bills and amendments to legislators. They also attend the Legislature's Page School where they learn about state government and making laws.
It is an honor to serve you. Please contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about state government.
Rep. Pike's 2015 legislation
This session, I introduced 20 bills. Most of this legislation was drafted after meeting with and listening to job creators and constituents in the 18th District. Six of my bills have advanced from their respective House committees. Among those, House Bill 1157 was voted from the House floor on Feb. 19 and now awaits action in the Senate. Another two bills, House Bill 1155 regarding senior property tax exemptions, and House Bill 1160 addressing highway littering, have potential fiscal impacts and are still alive since they may be necessary to implement the budget.
Sadly, 11 of my bills that centered on bold reform ideas to help Washington's economy did not receive committee hearings. Hopefully, we can move these bills forward in future sessions.
Pike bills that received House committee hearings and executive action (now awaiting action on the floor):
- House Bill 1157 – Quick title fees. This bill passed unanimously, 97-0, from the House of Representatives on Feb. 19 and is now in the Senate Transportation Committee.
- House Bill 1159 – Teen Driving Safety Act – This measure was amended to create a pilot project in Clark Co. requiring 16- and 17-year-old drivers to affix a new driver emblem to their rear window, alerting other drivers they are sharing the roadway with inexperienced drivers. Young drivers comprise 11 percent of driving population, yet in Clark County they are involved in 35 percent of all auto fatalities and 45 percent of all serious injury accidents. The intent of this bill is to reduce these horrendous statistics. The measure passed out of the House Transportation Committee with bipartisan support and awaits action on House floor.
- House Bill 1453 – Would require the Columbia River Gorge Commission to eliminate the backlog of complete and unprocessed land-use applications by July, 2017, report progress to the Legislature and streamline the permit process. This bill was voted from the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Feb. 19 and awaits action in the General Government Operations Committee.
- House Bill 1951 – Clarifies the use of unmarked vehicles by local law enforcement agencies. This measure passed out of House Public Safety Committee last week and awaits House floor action.
- House Bill 1954 – Would create a Columbia River Gorge Task force made up of Washington and Oregon legislators to address important transportation and infrastructure needs significant to both states in the region. This is a companion bill to Oregon Rep. John Huffman's legislation. This bill was voted from the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Feb. 19 and awaits action on the House floor.
- House Bill 1160 – Reducing highway littering by increasing penalties and fines. This bill passed out of the House Environment Committee and awaits action in the General Government Operations Committee. It is subject to fiscal cutoff on Feb. 27.
Pike fiscal bills that received House committee hearings and are technically alive since they may be necessary to implement the budget:
- House Bill 1155 – Would update the senior property tax exemption statute to tie income thresholds to the U.S. Consumer Price Index.
- House Bill 1160 – Would reduce highway littering by increasing penalties and fines. This bill passed out of the House Environment Committee and awaits action in the General Government Operations Committee. It is subject to fiscal cutoff on Feb. 27.
Pike bills that received hearings, but did not get out of committee:
- House Bill 1158 – Growth Management Act (GMA) reform bill – This is a local control measure that would have allowed local legislative bodies to enact by ordinance to refer land-use appeals to Superior Court instead of through the GMA Hearings Board.
Pike reform bills that did not receive House committee hearings (dead this session):
- House Bill 1156 – Washington Jobs Act – This measure would have privatized industrial insurance by allowing private insurance companies to enter the industrial insurance marketplace in our state.
- House Bill 1452 – Streamlining title work of our state's real estate asset management.
- House Bill 1454 – Reforming time loss benefits to injured workers who violate workplace drug and alcohol policies and become injured on the job as a result of intoxicating liquor or drugs.
- House Bill 1455 – Allowing local governments by majority vote of legislative authority to opt out of prevailing wage requirements on municipal projects to save taxpayer dollars.
- House Bill 1660 – Prioritizing fishing opportunities with users who contribute the most money in license fees to the Department of Fish and Wildlife and creating a vibrant, world class recreational fishing and tourism industry in Washington.
- House Bill 1661 – Directing all Public Works Assistant Account loan payments to be deposited back into popular low-interest loans for local government infrastructure financing.
- House Bill 1662 – Privatizing all engineering and design work on WSDOT projects to avoid costly mistakes in future.
- House Bill 1663 – Allowing each legislative district within the Regional Transportation Planning Organization to appoint one legislator as a voting member.
- House Bill 1952 – Restricting school district boundary changes unless agreed upon by majority vote of all affected school boards.
- House Bill 1953 – Requiring home health care union workers to re-certify their union and member participation every two years by secret ballot.
- House Joint Resolution 4205 – Placing a constitutional amendment to Washington voters to protect in statute the state's Public Works Assistance Account program.
"Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!"