Dear Friends and Neighbors:
The second week of “Special Session” is almost complete. Some good bills have passed and sent to the Governor. Others are still being debated, reworked and the budget discussions continue.
Robo calls and e-mails are still challenging the voice and e-mail systems. The most popular issues in random order are: foreclosure assistance, reform Worker’s Comp, keep RHC’s open; close RHC’s; protect homeless, basic health and schools.
As always, you are welcome to contact me with ideas, suggestions, or questions so accurate, up-to-date information can be provided for you.
Sen. Margarita Prentice
Special session means more days -- however, it’s important to note that any extra staff hired to work during regular session is gone. This reduces costs significantly.
Right now, it’s impossible to respond accurately to many of the bills that are still active. Special session procedures require some bills to pass through their house of origin again and others still must have a hearing, etc.
Nothing is final without the governor’s signature, so it will still be a couple of weeks beyond Sine Die before the status of each bill is known.
Click here for a list of bills signed by the governor.
Click here for details on a specific bill.
Tax Amnesty is a win!!
A windfall, that is! The Department of Revenue announced this week the tax amnesty program approved earlier this session has generated $321 million - $182 million more than anticipated.
Specifically, a temporary hold on penalties and interest from Feb. 1 through April 30 was approved to allow more than 10,000 delinquent businesses to work with the Dept. of Revenue to pay back taxes. No such hold for businesses that are criminal defendants, face tax fraud charges or are in bankruptcy.
The intent was to help businesses struggling due to circumstances beyond their control. Now they can continue to be taxpayers and employers. And the best part is this has worked far better than anyone predicted!
A regulatory break for schools
A bit of good news for school districts. The implementation deadline for costly new environmental health and safety rules has been pushed back to July 1, 2013. The former deadline would have been July 1, 2011.
The delay was triggered by the legislative prohibition against implementing new rules unless there are sufficient funds to do so.
Honoring recent anti-terrorism mission
On Wednesday, the Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 8661 to honor the successful mission bringing down one of the world’s most infamous terrorists. The resolution recognizes the people behind the planning, decision-making and execution of the mission, from President Barack Obama to our intelligence experts to the specialists who pulled off the bold plan without being detected by Pakistani military. Click here to read the full resolution.
South Park Bridge kick-off
Yesterday, Thursday, May 5th , Gov. Chris Gregoire joined with King County Executive Dow Constantine and other community leaders to kick off construction for the South Park Bridge replacement. This $96 million project should take 32 months to complete and provide approximately 100 jobs.
In the mean time, there’s no excuse not to frequent the eclectic array of wineries, restaurants, specialty shops and other businesses because you can find alternate routes here.
Howard Hanson Dam update
In spite of the wettest spring in recent history, the flood levels have remained manageable in our Green River Valley. You can follow the daily river level here and sign up for alerts for your area.
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