Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have completed the 2016 legislative session. I am proud to say we held our ground to prioritize spending and pass true supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. In this email update, I will provide you with a brief 2016 legislative wrap-up.
Solutions for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge:
I have spent countless hours on finding the best solutions to stop the toll increases on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and a short-term solution was reached this session. As part of the supplemental transportation budget, and with the assistance of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizens Advisory Committee and the Transportation Commission, I was able to secure $2.5 million in secured funding from the motor vehicle state appropriation account will be provided solely for a debt service payment and withholding on the bridge forestalling the need to raise toll rates for fiscal year 2017. This is a bipartisan, bi-district appropriation that keeps tolls from rising as we continue to work toward a long-term solution.
I continue to work on a study, Toll by Coffee Act, that inspires the innovative opportunity of private enterprise to lease land surrounding the toll booths to concessionaires to create toll plazas that provide food and drink, goods, or rest areas to drivers as long as they also collect tolls for the road in an efficient manner. The leasing fees of concessionaires would be dedicated toward paying down the bridge lease as a preemptive offset to future toll raises on commuters. Throughout the interim, efforts will continue on this creative, long-term solution for debt reduction on the bridge, and I will make it a priority heading into the 2017 legislative session.
Funding important projects throughout the 26th District
- The USS Turner Joy. Through the perseverance, dedication, and roll up your sleeves efforts of your 26th District lawmakers, we were able to secure $300,000 in funding through the supplemental capital budget to assist in necessary hull repairs to the retired Navy destroyer vessel in Bremerton. This ship is a major part of our state's maritime history, serves as an integral breakwater for our downtown marina, and is one of our state's prime tourist attractions. By appropriating funds to assist in the hull repair project, we are not only proactively getting out in front of a problem, but also contributing to the economic stability of the port. (photo caption: 26th District lawmakers, Reps. Jesse Young and Michelle Caldier, aboard the USS Turner Joy)
- South Kitsap High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (NJROTC). I love our local junior ROTC programs! They're a model of excellence for our children and teach the critically important skills of discipline and leadership that, in my opinion, are a must for success. Our region has such a rich naval heritage, and fortunately we have some amazing individuals expanding upon it within our district. Captain Schapler and Senior Chief Vickers run a tight ship. They are true role models, and it is an honor to know them. I cannot wait to get my own kids in their program. The capital budget was tight this year, but I was able to secure $30,000 for numerous program upgrades.
- Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails Project. Number one on your Kitsap County Commissioners' capital budget request list was the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails project. While also providing benefit to broader Port of Bremerton plans, I was able to secure the full amount requested of $52,000.
Important legislation of the 2016 session
In other news, here is the legislation I sponsored and co-sponsored that was signed into law this session.
- The protection of human health and the environment is a fundamental government purpose. House Bill 2357, which I co-sponsored, empowers the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) to protect our environment and support small business owners. This legislation allows owners of gas stations, with underground storage tanks (USTs) that need repair, to secure financing and procure insurance and specialized enforcement from PLIA. This helps ensure small gas stations and other family-owned businesses dealing with aging USTs do not go out of business. (photo caption: Rep. Jesse Young and staff from the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency with Gov. Jay Inslee as House Bill 2357 is signed into law.)
- House Bill 2457 will carve out a narrow exemption on a negotiated easement with an electric utility. When a property goes into foreclosure status, the current process affects the electric utility infrastructure on that property. This legislation protects the infrastructure we depend on, especially in rural areas, while also helping to keep rates low. I would like to commend the hard work of Peninsula Light Company for their efforts in bringing this important legislation to my attention. (photo caption: Rep. Jesse Young and staff from Peninsula Light Company with Gov. Jay Inslee as House Bill 2457 is signed into law.)
- Saved our public charter schools
- Addressed the teacher shortage and enhanced teacher recruitment
- Provided vision screening for students
- Addressed Washington State Patrol recruitment, retention and pay raises
- Established the Washington Cybercrime Act
- Created the Parent to Parent Program – a statewide program that connects parents of individuals with developmental disabilities with support and resources
- Created forest resiliency burning pilot project
- Expanded prescription drug donation program
- Held state government accountable
If there are any other bills you have been following this session, and are wondering their status, click here.
During the interim, please visit my district office at:
2801 Hollycraft St.
I look forward to seeing you!
Because this is an election year, this will be the last email update I am able to send out until December. However, I can respond if you contact my office directly. Please feel free to call and email me at any time – Jesse.Young@leg.wa.gov and (360) 786-7964.