Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2012 legislative session began Jan. 9, and very little has been accomplished toward closing the remaining $1.5 billion shortfall. I will continue to support funding for our developmentally disabled citizens, critical access area hospitals and levy equalization for students.
We had about 12 inches of snow fall in Olympia last week, causing some delays. Thankfully, most of it has melted, and we are now enjoying some sun as well. The Legislature is now back on our full schedule for session.
So far this year, I have sponsored a couple common sense bills I hope will provide better services:
- House Bill 2346 would remove the requirement for Correctional Industries to make the uniforms for corrections officers. I received some comments from our officers at the Walla Walla Penitentiary that their uniforms were quickly fading, seams were not sewn correctly, and there were other problems with the craftsmanship. Some correctional officers inferred that since the inmates were making their informs, perhaps they were not taking the utmost care in making them. With the recent budget cuts, morale in Corrections is already low. Having poorly made uniforms only serves to further demoralize our officers. The private sector has shown they can make the uniforms of better quality, but also less expensively. The bill has a hearing this week.
- House Bill 2386 would allow seniors on Medicare supplemental insurance to be able to deduct that supplemental insurance cost from their disposable income calculation for the purpose of qualifying for property tax exemptions. My hope is that this would help more seniors qualify for a tax exemption. It seems logical that those seniors who are responsibly addressing their health care costs should not be penalized by having that expense disqualify them from the senior property tax exemption.
I'm also working on several bills dealing with child welfare and early learning. I will fill you in on these in my next e-mail.
It's an honor and privilege to serve you in Olympia.
420 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000