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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, the House passed important tax relief for employers as well as continued benefits for unemployed workers. Two bills were passed unanimously, which are similar, but both are bi-products of a bipartisan effort here in Olympia. One comes from the House, the other from the Senate. Both were signed by the governor Friday. The best news is that these changes to taxes will affect employers retroactively, so they will see immediate relief. I know many employers who need this legislation to bring stability to their businesses and allow them to have confidence about hiring new employees.
My bill to create a parenting partnership between families of developmentally disabled children and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) was heard in the Early Learning and Human Services Committee. I think this could provide an option for parents who are feeling overwhelmed and need some temporary or permanent relief caring for their children.
Also in the Early Learning and Human Services Committee this week, we heard about House Bill 1741, which I co-sponsored to reform the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. If a TANF recipient breaks the rules more than three times, they would be removed from the program. I think this is an important mechanism to ensure those on the program are responsible while receiving state aid. Not only that, it would likely result in huge savings of your tax dollars.
The House is also considering a proposal to address the growth of gangs in our state. We have had some problems in our area, but our neighbors in Yakima are really struggling with criminal gang violence. The legislation being proposed would:
- create a grant program for prevention and intervention strategies;
- allow local government to file civil protection orders against documented gang members (this works much like a domestic violence protection order); and,
- adopt procedures for locals to deal with graffiti and property damage caused by gangs.
While I am cautious about any laws that might infringe on civil liberties, I believe my House colleagues, as well as the attorney general, have set a high standard for going after true gang members that are terrorizing neighborhoods.
I appreciate hearing from you. It's an honor and great responsibility to serve as your state representative.
420 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000