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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The cherry blossoms are blooming, we're nearing the end of session, and we just wrapped up “budget week” here at the Capitol. That's when all three House budget proposals – capital, operating, and transportation – are released. Each proposal has a public hearing and is voted out of committee before it's debated on the House floor.
House Bill 1147, the $8.34 billion proposal out of the House Capital Budget Committee, would make significant investments statewide in housing, behavioral health, K-12 schools, and infrastructure.
Projects in the Tri-Cities, totaling more than $31.2 million, would include:
- $5.05 million for Process Water Reuse Facility in Pasco (9th District);
- $5 million for Three Rivers Behavioral Health Center in Kennewick (16th District);
- $4 million for Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Kennewick;
- $3.2 million for infrastructure repair at Columbia Basin College;
- $3 million for Gesa Stadium in Pasco;
- $3 million for National Guard Tri-Cities Vehicle Storage Building;
- $2.944 million for National Guard Tri-Cities Readiness Center;
- $1.122 million for south urban growth area water and sewer extensions in Kennewick;
- $798,000 for a Habitat for Humanity 20-home building project (8th and 16th districts);
- $773,000 for B5 Community Learning Center in Kennewick (16th District);
- $748,000 for Military Department facilities minor works program;
- $452,000 for The Richland Players community theater;
- $350,000 for the renovation and addition to The Richland Players theater building;
- $300,000 for Safe Harbor Support Center in Kennewick;
- $258,000 for Kennewick Kiwanis Playground (16th District);
- $200,000 for Agricultural Innovation Center in Pasco;
- $155,000 for downtown Pasco North Plaza (15th District); and
- $54,000 for Tri-Tech Skills Center.
This proposal is a great first step. It would make meaningful investments both statewide and in the Tri-Cities by creating jobs, repairing infrastructure, updating schools, building more homes, and preserving historic buildings. These projects would enhance the quality of life in our community and help it flourish.
House Bill 1140, the 2023-25 House operating budget proposal, would increase spending to $70 billion, a $6 billion increase over current spending levels. It would only leave $2.1 billion in the rainy-day fund by the end of the four-year outlook period, which is less than the State Treasurer's minimum target of 10% of annual revenues. Unfortunately, it also provides no tax relief for working families.
Improving home leaseback agreement rules
House Bill 1070 – my measure to exempt three-month residential leaseback agreements – passed the Senate and is now on its way to the governor's desk to be signed into law!
This is my first bill to make it through the legislative process and I am so grateful for the unanimous support from both the House and Senate.
Background: A leaseback is an agreement between a buyer and seller of a property that allows the seller to continue living in and renting the property. Although leaseback agreements are a popular option in the real estate industry, they remain underutilized because they turn homebuyers into unwitting landlords regulated by the RLTA.
HB 1070 would remove the legal cloud of uncertainty many homebuyers feel when entering into these agreements.
As a residential real estate agent for over 20 years, I've seen, firsthand, how complicated and unnecessary these regulations can be for leaseback agreements. This bill would make it easier for buyers and sellers to take advantage of a popular tool that helps them both meet their needs and schedules.
Mitigating light pollution
House Bill 1173, my bill to reduce light pollution from wind turbines, has been placed on second reading by the Senate Rules Committee and could come up for a vote any day on the Senate floor.
It went through significant changes in the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee. I am working with my Senate colleagues now to ensure that we have the best results for our region.
Background: Wind turbines are equipped with blinking red lights as a safety measure for nearby aircraft traveling at night. While the lights serve an important safety function, they are also an eyesore for local residents and cause light pollution.
This bill would require the warning lights to turn on automatically only when they are needed by aircraft.
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If you have any questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I will do my best to answer messages from constituents first, so please be sure to include your home address and phone number in your correspondence.
It's an honor to serve you!
434 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(509) 505-6755 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000