The following newsletter was sent to subscribers to Sen. Padden’s newsletter, July 10, 2018. To subscribe to Sen. Padden’s newsletters, click here.
Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you enjoyed an enjoyable and safe Independence Day celebration. This is the season for barbeques, celebrations, family reunions, road trips, parties and vacations. Yet there is a dark side to these summer festivities. Too often, the good times lead to tragic drunk driving accidents.
This was the case on July 1, when a driver going the wrong way on I-5 in Marysville killed a 30-year-old woman from Oregon in a multi-vehicle crash. As is sadly often the case, the perpetrator was a repeat-DUI offender – six convictions since 1981, two of them in the last 10 years.
While there are often spikes in impaired driving around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Independence Day is the deadliest holiday of the year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tells us we have averaged 144 deaths on our nation’s highways each Fourth of July over the last four years. About 10 percent of those fatalities were teenagers.
What makes these deaths especially tragic is that they are preventable. We must do more to protect our citizens and keep impaired drivers off the road. In the Senate, I sponsored legislation making a fourth DUI within ten years a felony, punishable by prison time. Yet this is not enough. I will continue to work for new legislation to toughen our felony DUI law and give law enforcement the tools it needs to protect the public. This and more in this week’s newsletter.
Senator Mike Padden
Bringing jobs to Spokane Valley
Barker Road project opens area to industrial development
During recent legislative sessions we secured funding for several projects critical to our district. Now we are seeing the results, as our efforts attract employers who will create hundreds of good family-wage paying jobs.
State investment in a planned overpass over the BNSF tracks at Barker Road is stimulating industrial development nearby. Already California-based Katerra is building a 250,000-square-foot cross-laminating timber facility, including a warehouse and space for research and development.
According to the City of Spokane Valley, Katerra’s new facility will create about 225 permanent jobs in manufacturing, design and engineering, as well as an additional 150 construction jobs while the project is being built.
Centennial Properties also is building a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with a new rail spur, which will be used by Katerra.
These projects demonstrate how government can make meaningful investments that will boost our economy and create new opportunities for jobseekers.
I-940 case argued before state Supreme Court
Legislature violated constitution, high court is told
On June 28, the State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Eyman v. Wyman, a case that will determine whether the people’s power of initiative can be thwarted by the state Legislature.
As one of the plaintiffs in the case, I was present in Olympia to fight for the people’s rights, and ask the court to recognize that the Legislature’s actions last session on Initiative 940, as well-meaning as they may have been, ultimately violated the constitution.
I-940, a flawed measure restricting police use of deadly force, was submitted as an initiative to the Legislature. Lawmakers had the opportunity to pass it without sending the measure to this November’s general election ballot. That it did — but it also amended the initiative by passing a separate bill.
Although the Legislature’s changes made sense, the problem is the process. When an initiative is submitted to the Legislature, the constitution says lawmakers have only three options. Lawmakers can pass it as written, reject it and send it to the ballot, or pass an alternative measure to appear on the ballot alongside the original initiative. By amending the initiative, and declaring that no vote was needed, the Legislature cut the people out of the loop. It showed great disrespect to the 360,000 voters who signed petitions to place the matter before lawmakers. Though advocates of this particular initiative supported the changes, this maneuver could be used to stymie any future initiative to the Legislature, and render the process useless.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman asked the court to decide the matter quickly, as ballots must soon be printed. One possible remedy: The court could find that the changes made by the Legislature constitute a “legislative alternative,” and place it on the ballot alongside the original initiative.
You can read my full statement on the arguments here.
You can also read this Walla Walla Union-Bulletin editorial: Two versions of initiative should be on fall ballot.
In the News: Washington state lawmakers consider tightening DUI laws
The man accused of driving drunk when he crashed and killed a woman last weekend in Arlington had a long history of DUI convictions. But under Washington state drunk driving laws, none of that was enough to keep him from getting behind the wheel.
Last weekend’s wrong-way crash killed a 28-year-old woman who was visiting from Oregon.
“It definitely feels like a preventable tragedy,” her sister told KIRO 7. “This never should have happened.”
It is the same story state lawmakers have heard for years from families who’ve suffered similar tragedies. Dan Schulte has a one such story. His parents were killed and his wife and newborn were severely injured when they were run down by Mark Mullan in 2013 — a repeat DUI offender with five arrests in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.
Republican State Senator Mike Padden pushed for years after the Schulte case to pass a bill (SB 5037) making a fourth DUI conviction in 10 years a felony. It finally passed last year and is now state law.
But it’s not enough, according to Padden and Democratic co-sponsor David Frockt. who believe a second or third DUI should count as a felony and require prison time. Frockt had a bill this last session (SB 6250) that would also have done away with the 10-year look back, meaning anyone with three or more DUIs would face a felony regardless of how long ago they were. …
See also: Recent tragedy shows more must be done to curb drunken driving (Walla Walla Union Bulletin, July 8, 2018)
Record optimism, reports National Association of Manufacturers
More than 95 percent of manufacturers bullish on future
From the Association of Washington Business’ Fast Facts: A new survey shows that more than 95 percent of American manufacturers have a positive outlook for their companies, the Washington Examiner reports. That’s the best report in the 20-year history of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Outlook Survey.
“This record optimism is no accident. It is fueled by the game-changing tax reform passed six months ago,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said.
The report was released on the six-month anniversary of passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and amid reports that manufacturers are increasing wages, hiring and capital investments, the Examiner reported.
Olympia awash in money, but what about the next ‘rainy day’?
You will always be broke if you spend more than you bring in. Better to save for a rainy day.
Most of us are taught this lesson at an early age, but government never seems to learn.
The saying “save for a rainy day” can be traced back as far as 1580, when it was included in “The Bugbears” as, “Wold he haue me kepe nothing against a raynye day?” Quite simply, one never knows when the gray clouds will roll in, and thing may not look so bright. So prepare today!
This is the idea behind our state’s Rainy Day Fund – taking extraordinary excess revenue and setting it aside for use during emergencies or steep economic downturns.
Right now the sun is shining. The economy is growing fast, and the latest state revenue forecast projects $298 million in additional tax collections during the current 2017-19 biennium. The projection also adds $287 million during the next two-year budget period. This increase is a whopping 16 percent increase over the last biennium.
Unfortunately, the new majority party in the Legislature sees this as a time to spend, not a time to save. Last session it dodged a constitutional requirement for a $700 million deposit to the Rainy Day Fund, by jiggering accounting procedures. Some have called it a “felony budget gimmick.”
Now it looks like this irresponsible approach to budgeting may continue next session. The governor’s budget office told state agencies last month to prepare budget requests that “think big.” Rather than holding the line on spending so that the state can prepare for bad times ahead, the agencies are being told to reflect all the pent-up demand for state services. Big salary increases for state employees also are likely to figure in the budget that will be considered by lawmakers next year — the governor is preparing to negotiate new contracts with public-employee unions. Any big increase in spending next year will increase state obligations in the future, creating new pressure for tax increases. This is the same pattern that got the state in deep trouble when the last recession caught us off-guard.
The governor’s own Council of Economic Advisers has warned that we face an 88 percent chance of a downturn in the next five years. Most people in Western Washington own umbrellas, knowing that even on the sunniest day a downpour might begin any minute. But the Legislature’s current majority is behaving as if the sunshine will last forever.
If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!
Phone: (509) 921-2460
Street address: 408 N. Mullan Rd., Suite 106, Spokane Valley, WA 99206
Email address: Mike.Padden@leg.wa.gov