E-NEWSLETTER: 2018 legislative session approaching

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving! Here’s wishing all of you a happy holiday season and a wonderful 2018.

Speaking of 2018, I’m getting ready for the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 8. It is scheduled to last 60 days, so it will be hectic and fast-paced.

The upcoming session will be interesting because for the first time since 2012, our Majority Coalition Caucus will not control the Senate. During the General Election a few weeks ago, a Democrat won the open race for the Senate seat from the 45th Legislative District in King County, allowing the Democrats to take a one-vote majority in the Senate next session. This means the Democrats will control both the House and Senate next year, as well as the Governor’s Office. Even though I’m now “in the minority,” I will continue to work hard and use my experience and positive relationships with my fellow Republicans and Democrats alike to remain an effective voice for our district.

As a member of the MCC, I was proud of our accomplishments on behalf of our state, including passage of a four-year balanced-budget law, keeping taxes in check, and cutting tuition at our state’s public colleges and universities to help students and families afford the cost of higher education.

As always, I work for you in Olympia. If there is a way I can help our government work better for you, please let me know. Most of my bills come from you and the ideas and concerns that you bring to me.

Send me an email at Jan.Angel@leg.wa.gov with your thoughts, ideas and questions. I’d love to hear from you!

– Jan

I will be ranking Republican on the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee in 2018.

My committee assignments remain the same

I’m pleased that I will continue to serve on the same Senate committees in 2018. I’ve been named ranking Republican on the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee after serving as chair this past session. My long experience working in banking and insurance has helped me lead on these issues in the Legislature.

I also will be assistant ranking Republican on both the Senate Local Government Committee (which allows me to use my previous experience as a Kitsap County commissioner) and the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

These three committees play an important role in protecting our local community and building a stronger future for our state. I look forward to continue serving on them to make our government work better for our community and the state.

Good news on state revenue forecast should mean no tax increases

We recently received very positive news on the state budget. Due to revenue collections continuing to come in stronger than projected, the state’s November revenue forecast raised expected revenue collections over the next four fiscal years by $514 million ($318 million in the 2017-19 biennium and $196 million in 2019-21). This is on top of the $534 million increase that was predicted in the September forecast. In other words, since the state operating budget was adopted in June, the revenue forecast has increased more than $1 billion over the next four years.

In addition, state operating budget reserves are at an all-time high! The budget is expected to have $2.8 billion in reserves at the end of the current biennium. (Of that amount, $1.6 billion is unrestricted and $1.2 billion is in the constitutionally protected rainy day fund.) It’s important to note that a sizable portion of the unrestricted reserve balance is projected to be needed to finance the K-12 basic education commitment in the following biennium.

What does the revenue forecast news and the budget reserves all mean? It shows that we got there without a major tax increase and that no one needs to raise taxes next year. I hope my Democratic colleagues will agree with me.

Narrows Bridge Work Group to issue final report

Any of you who have traveled over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge throughout the past decade are painfully aware of the five toll increases that have been imposed since the second span was completed in 2007.  The toll hikes occurred because of escalating debt service and lower than anticipated traffic volumes across the two bridges.

As a result, the Legislature tasked the state Transportation Commission with convening a work group to create possible bridge-funding solutions for the 2018 Legislature to consider.  Along with 26th District state Reps. Michelle Caldier and Jesse Young, I’ve served on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Refinance Work Group. Over the past four months, our work group held three meetings.

Our final meeting will be this Friday (Dec. 1) from 9 a.m. to noon at the Gig Harbor Civic Center (3510 Grandview St. in Gig Harbor). At this meeting, the work group will submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the House and Senate transportation committees. If you can’t attend the meeting but wish to receive a copy of the report and recommendations, please contact my legislative assistant, Holly Cocci, at 360-786-7650 or holly.cocci@leg.wa.gov.

My efforts to help workers, veterans

As your 26th District senator, two of the many groups that I focus on are workers and veterans. I was pleased and honored to be recognized recently for my efforts to help both groups.

The Worker Rights Alliance just released its 2017 Olympia in Review scorecard. I was pleased to see that I was named a Champion of Worker Rights for my legislative efforts. This past session, I sponsored and voted for a fair negotiations bill (Senate Bill 5533) that would have prevented any entity engaged in collective bargaining with the governor from making a campaign contribution to gubernatorial candidates. I also sponsored a bill (SB 5545) that would have required collective-bargaining negotiations of government-sector unions to be open meetings.

Earlier in November, the Governor’s Veterans Advisory Committee and Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs named me a recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Services to Veterans – Legislator of the Year Award.

I’m very honored to receive this award because military veterans and their families are a priority for me and our district, which includes Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton and the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard, and is home to many service members from Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Earlier this year I prime-sponsored Senate Bill 5849, which creates a peer-to-peer support network to connect veterans to services and realigns state government hiring practices to get more veterans into jobs. It was signed into law in May.

Washington is home to 598,000 veterans, 60,000 active duty military, 19,000 guard and reserves, and 2 million family members.

This summer I was honored to receive two other awards: The Washington State Association of County Clerks selected me as its Legislative Luminary of the Year, and Washington credit unions presented me with the 2017 Community Impact Award.