Rep. Elizabeth Scott from Olympia
It is with a heavy heart that I send you this update. As the search for bodies continues in the Oso landslide area in the heart of the 39th Legislative District, so many people are heartbroken over the loss of their friends and family members. I am grieving with them and finding it difficult to think about the 2014 legislative session to provide you with a recap. Let’s start with a few suggestions of ways to help the people in the Oso, Darrington, and Arlington area.
One of the top needs for the families east of the 530 landslide is gas cards or Visa debit cards, because the main route to Arlington will be blocked for months, forcing drivers to make the trek up to Hwy 20 at Rockport, then west 37 miles to I-5 at Burlington before heading south to work in Arlington, Everett, or Seattle. The two gas stations in Darrington are Shell stations. The town of Darrington estimates an extra $80,000 is needed for fuel alone. A good resource to stay updated on recovery and relief efforts is this Snohomish County website. This link provides you information on how to help. Snohomish County also has a Facebook page for the coordination of various relief efforts.
Thank you so much for your generosity in sending clothing and blankets; there is more than enough now. If you would like to send physical supplies, the Darrington Fire Department could use nail proof boots and wool socks for their work in the debris field.
Many people have been asking about volunteering. Some of the Darrington residents are being taken out on the debris field with the Darrington first responders, FEMA, etc. but it is limited as the task is quite grueling and dangerous. The Darrington Fire Department is compiling a list of ‘long-term volunteers,’ so call them if you would like to provide your contact information.
Many area residents are showing symptoms of stress. If you or a loved one is having trouble sleeping, concentrating, etc, let them know that they are not alone and it is very common with a disaster of this scope. The Oso, Darrington, and Arlington churches are staying open for longer hours than usual and a good place to find a counselor or just a listening ear. Green Cross specializes in trauma counseling and can be reached at 1-800-985-5990 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a Crisis Hotline for Snohomish County, which is 1-800-584-3578.
I know many of you have already seen plenty of photos about the slide and the incredible devastation it brought to the area. However, I found this link from Australian Broadcasting Corporation to be very informative. Experts are still baffled at the size, speed and power of the Oso slide.
2014 Legislative Session
One of the best things about the 2014 Legislative Session is that the budget passed is truly a ‘supplemental budget,’ with no major tax hikes or huge policy changes. There was also no gas tax hike and no increased gun control (you’ll have your say on gun control this November with Initiatives 591 and 594). The supplemental budget increased spending by 0.23 percent. However, it was an increase, even though the money coming in is more than was predicted a year ago when the 2013-15 biennial budget passed. Some states in this situation are sending rebate checks back to their constituents instead of finding new ways to spend it all and ask for more. I promised I would work for smaller government, not larger, so I voted no. Another reason I voted no is that the budget continues to fund abortions on your tax dollar, regardless of your conscience.
I was pleased that my bill (House Bill 2191) to help daycares was signed into law by the governor after passing both the House and the Senate unanimously. This bill helps a segment of small business owners who are sometimes harassed by Department of Early Learning licensers to make structural changes to their facility above and beyond local code, for example moving a door or a window. Now, before requiring an alteration, a licenser must get written confirmation from a local code enforcement official that the change is necessary for the safety of the children or staff, and it can only be pertaining to licensed childcare space. The number one complaint I’ve heard all around the district is the ever-increasing and changing regulations for home daycares, so I was happy to have this small ‘win’ for this critical aspect of our economy. One out of three home daycares has closed its doors in the last several years, far higher than the rate of larger daycare centers closing, and parents like to have as many choices as possible.
My other bills didn’t make it through the entire legislative process but I will be reintroducing them for 2015. HB 2133 for student data privacy in particular gained a lot of support across the aisle (and around the country, with national press coverage) and I will be working with several Democratic cosponsors to push it forward.
As a member of the Freedom Agenda Team with Representatives Matt Shea, David Taylor, and Jason Overstreet, many bills that I cosponsored also met with success. Together we had the most successful slate of Republican bills in two decades, with over 50 Democrat sponsors on our bills. Out of our 65 bills filed in the 2013-2014 biennium, 42 of them were given hearings or work sessions; 32 passed either the House or the Senate; and 12 were signed into law without veto. We had 25 national news stories on everything from drone regulation to student privacy to legalized hemp farming. It is a real pleasure to work with these colleagues on bills that restore liberty and limited Constitutional government.
Telephone Town Hall
Rep. Dan Kristiansen and I will be hosting our final telephone town hall meeting of 2014 on Thursday, May 15, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To listen in on this community conversation, all you have to do is dial 1-800-759-5313. From there, you can ask us questions or share your ideas if you’d like.
During the Interim
Due to election-year restrictions, this is the last e-mail update I can send you until Dec. 1. However, while the legislative session is over, my work as your representative in Olympia is not. My office is here to assist you in dealing with state agencies if you need it, or to help answer questions you may have about state laws or other issues. I’m also available to speak to your civic group (Kiwanis, Rotary, Chambers of Commerce, etc.), classrooms or church group. My continuing goal is to help bring state government closer to you. This is your government. I want to help you stay involved, active and influential. Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.
In your service,