Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I appreciate your immense support of my work to find a meaningful path forward on affordable cross river solutions between Clark County and Portland. Judging by the hundreds of emails, calls and letters I've received over the past few years and the volumes of emails just over the past week, an overwhelming majority of citizens want me to stay the course and defend common-sense solutions that are not only affordable, but our citizens can support.
What you are saying about my refusal to step aside on the bridge issue
“Thank you Liz Pike! We need more people in government like you! Why would The Columbian be proselytizing in favor of light rail? And against a reasonable bridge? Maybe they need to 'step aside' and allow the 'tax-payers' to be served instead of the 'tax-takers' – themselves included.”– M Hamilton
“Please don't give up this battle. I have grown to despise politicians that have no concern for the will of the people. I believe those promoting light rail are almost criminal in their willingness to sell us down the river. I am convinced there is money in it for them or else they would want their constituents happy with their decisions.” – G.Byers
“Rep. Pike, thank you for continuing to fight for my family.” – C. Barth
“Hang in there Liz! You have support out here!” – G. McMann
Pike budget amendments accepted on House floor
While numerous Republican amendments were being rejected by the Democratic majority on the House floor last night during debate on the supplemental operating and transportation budgets, two of my amendments made it through.
I was pleased to offer Amendment 823 to the transportation supplemental operating budget to include $300,000 for design and environmental permitting on one of Clark County's Chelatchie Prairie Railroad bridges. Over the last 18 months alone, Clark County has turned away nearly 7,000 new manufacturing jobs due to a shortage of large parcels that are served by rail. This important short line railroad represents an opportunity for Clark County to attract thousands of new manufacturing jobs.
The amendment passed unanimously and is now part of the House version. The funds represent a commitment by House Transportation Committee leadership to fund the entire $1.9 million for reconstruction of the failing bridge tressel at milepost 12.45, which was built in the late 1800s. I am very grateful to House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn and ranking Republican Rep. Ed Orcutt for working with me on this bipartisan measure.
The second amendment that passed, Amendment 093, would require the Department of Ecology to report to the Legislature by Sept. 1, 2016 on whether existing infrastructure has been used for the collection of electronics for recycling. The report will include how many existing collection sites have been utilized, as well as how many curbside collection companies were contracted with for the collection of e-waste.
This is a path forward to encourage more recycling of electronic waste (computers, monitors and television sets) and it would give the 2017 Legislature the data it needs to involve private-sector curbside refuse handlers in the collection of electronic waste.
Respect voters' wishes by making it harder to raise taxes
Six times since 1993, voters have approved a policy of supermajority votes for tax increases. It's time to stand with the people and uphold their will!
That's why I applaud Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, who introduced Senate Joint Resolution 8215. The measure would require voter approval for any action or combination of actions by the Legislature that would raise taxes. If House Republicans had majority control of the House, we would have reinstated the two-thirds majority requirement on day one of the 2016 legislative session.
Progress on Pike bills
Two of my bills are moving through the Senate after gaining approval in the House.
- House Bill 2511 would dismantle a Department of Early Learning agency rule which forces day care centers to provide additional staff (and classrooms) to separate five-year-olds and/or kindergartners into two different classes. This bill passed yesterday (Thursday) from the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. Watch my testimony here.
- House Bill 2417 would require driver examiners to verify a new driver's log book for those age 21 and under to ensure they have driven at least 50 hours before receiving their license. This measure is in the Senate Transportation Committee. Watch my testimony here.
Giving voters the final say on transit agreements between Washington and Oregon
As your state representative, it's my duty to honor the will of the citizens in my district. That's why I'm working so hard to defend common sense transportation solutions. Voters have repeatedly rejected costly light rail coming into Clark County. See the map below!
Yes, there are a few citizens who are advocating for light rail, but not enough to convince me to change my stance. This is why I've just introduced House Bill 2997.
The bill would amend RCW 36.57A.080 and simply require voters to approve any transit agreements between two states.
While it's too late to move this legislation during the 2016 session, the bill sends a strong message that Washingtonians should give voter approval for any agreement between a public transportation benefit area and certain entities in adjoining states.
"Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!"