Washington ranked 8th most dangerous state, according to FBI crime report

Attending Barker Road project completion

Note: The following e-newsletter was sent to Sen. Padden’s subscribers May 1, 2024. To subscribe to Sen. Padden’s newsletter, click here.

Dear friends and neighbors,

In recent years reports show crime is worsening in Washington. The latest indication that our state’s crime problem is growing more dire is found in a recent FBI crime report. The report shows our state is the eighth most dangerous state for crime in the U.S.! 

According to a story published last week in the (Tacoma) News Tribune, the FBI report looked at the frequency of certain types of crime: assault offenses, homicide, kidnapping/abduction, sex offenses, burglary/breaking and entering, destruction/vandalism, extortion/blackmail, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft and robbery. 

The FBI report showed Washington has the highest larceny and theft rate compared to other states. The study revealed our state has a larceny/theft rate of 2,133.6 per 100,000 residents. There were 179,545 larceny-theft incidents and 179,545 offenses reported in the state in 2022, said the report.  

The report showed Washington has a high kidnapping and abduction rate, with 16.3 incidents per 100,000 residents. In 2022, there were 1,327 kidnapping/abduction incidents and 1,454 offenses reported in Washington.  

Around the time the FBI crime report made the news, Governor Inslee was talking about how Washington’s recidivism rate for offenders had dropped from 34% in 2015 to 22% in 2020. The governor did not mention that our state has the lowest number of law enforcement officers per capita of any state in the nation or that we have a huge shortage of prosecutors in our state, which results in the dismissals of a large number of criminal charges every day. What about the victims of crime? 

If you have questions about how to participate in state government this year or thoughts to share on anything in this e-newsletter, please give me a call or send me an email. 

Thank you, as always, for the honor of representing you in Olympia!

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Barker Road projects completion enhances 4th District traffic safety

This graphic provides more details about the Barker Road corridor projects.

On April 25, I was pleased to join Spokane Valley city officials and others at the event celebrating the completion of the Barker Road corridor projects. 

The Barker Road corridor projects were a true collaboration, as they received funding from the city of Spokane Valley, Spokane County, state government and the federal government. The state provided $1.5 million to the grade-separation project, which kickstarted the federal matching dollars and ultimately the project elements that followed. These investments ensure Spokane Valley remains a vibrant place to live, work and thrive. 

Besides removing a grade crossing with the BNSF train tracks, this project includes a new roundabout that will reduce the risk of serious or fatal collisions. While collisions are still possible in a roundabout, at least they are low speed and thus should mean fewer and less severe injuries. 

The new overpass and roundabout will improve emergency access for vehicles, eliminate vehicle wait times that have averaged about 162 minutes (about two and a half hours) per day at each of the two BNSF crossings, reduce overall traffic congestion and improve traffic flow, and eliminate the need for trains to sound their horns, making nearby neighborhoods less noisy.    

Judge’s decision forces new boundaries for many legislative districts 

Many residents (and legislators) throughout eastern Washington had become accustomed to the new legislative-district boundaries that were created by the state’s independent, bipartisan Redistricting Commission in late 2021. (Those boundaries, based on results of the 2020 U.S. Census, went into effect for the 2022 election season.)  

However, as many of you know by now, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik recently sided with Democratic activists who argued the 2022 redistricting plan violated the federal Voting Rights Act. He ordered new boundaries for many eastern Washington districts, as well as some districts found in Clark and Skamania counties in southwest Washington.  

Lasnik’s decision has a negative impact on only Republicans legislators, especially 15th District Senator Nikki Torres, a Latina Republican who was elected to her Senate seat only two years ago. Under the judge’s redrawn legislative boundaries, Senator Torres no longer even lives in the 15th District. She would have to relocate to be a candidate for reelection to the position she holds. 

Since Judge Lasnik issued his ruling, many people throughout eastern Washington have expressed their unhappiness over the decision. Among them is Moses Lake Deputy Mayor Deanna Martinez, who wrote this guest editorial that was published by the Tri-City Herald two weeks ago. 

Remembering former Senator Baxter

It was sad to hear that former 4th District Senator Jeff Baxter passed away on April 24. As some will remember, Jeff was appointed in early 2011 to replace longtime Senator Bob McCaslin, with whom I served when I was a state representative from 1981 to 1995. Although I defeated Jeff in a special election for the Senate seat in November 2011, our office worked with Jeff on a number of issues over the last 12 plus years. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff’s family.  

Photo from ESOPs panel talk in D.C. 

Members of the ESOPs panel that met at the U.S. Capitol (L to R): Kerry Siggins, CEO of StoneAge of Durango, Colorado, chair Colorado ESOP Commission; Washington State Senator Mike Padden; Colorado State Representative Naquetta Ricks; Paul Kinghorn, University of Northern Iowa; and Zach Warmbrodt, Financial Service Editor for Politico. 

As was mentioned in an e-newsletter a few weeks ago, I was part of a congressional panel discussion on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) at the U.S. Capitol Building last month. This photo, provided by the event’s organizers, shows the panelists. Last year, the Legislature unanimously approved Senate Bill 5096, a bipartisan measure that I introduced that aids businesses looking to adopt an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) corporate structure. The governor signed SB 5096 on May 9th of last year. 

National Day of Prayer

As many of you may know, tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer in America. This day is as important to me as it is to so many of you. In recent days, some constituents have reached out to me and asked that I proclaim May 2 this year as a National Day of Prayer. As much as I would like to do that, a single legislator does not have the authority to make such a proclamation. It would take action by the Legislature to do it.

However, I am proud to point out there has been a long tradition of offering a prayer at the start of each day’s floor session in the Senate and House of Representatives during a legislative session. Many legislators, myself included, value this prayer very much before we begin a floor session to address issues important to the people of Washington.

WSU President Schulz to retire 

By now, you may have heard the news that Kirk Schulz will retire as Washington State University’s president when the 2024-25 school year ends approximately a year from now. During President Schulz’s tenure as WSU president, I met with him several times in either my Olympia or Spokane Valley office to discuss higher-education matters. Knowing that many 4th District residents have attended WSU in the past or are students there, I care about the university and its students. I wish the university well in hiring a worthy successor to lead an institution so important to our area and the entire state. 

Contact us!

If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. During the interim we are conducting business from our district office in Spokane Valley. We are here to serve you!

Phone: 509-921-2460

Email address: Mike.Padden@leg.wa.gov

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden’s Olympia office at (360) 786-7606.

To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton, the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.