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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I was hoping to give you an update on the good and bad of the 2011 legislative session, but we are now in a special session. The Legislature adjourned the regular session on April 22, 2011 without passing a state operating budget or a capital construction budget for the 2011-13 biennium. The governor called a special session four days later. Most legislators in the House of Representatives have returned to their legislative districts unless they are negotiating the budget or are members of the House Ways and Means Committee.

I think it is a big slap in the face to the taxpayers of Washington a special session had to be called. I did release a statement which you can read here. We knew last fall what our budget situation would be and to not get done in our allotted timeframe and cost the taxpayers an additional $16,000 a day when we are in session is inexcusable.

Last Monday, we did reconvene for a short day, and we passed eight bills. There are many more related to the budget that we have not yet considered. We are in Olympia again today. Hopefully, we will be debating some of the more significant bills related to the budget. The Legislature has accomplished very little in four months and it is because the majority party is failing to lead. They control the House, Senate and the governor’s office.

The biggest frustration other than the budget is obviously workers’ compensation. I am sure we have the votes in the House to pass the bill, but Democratic leadership continues to keep their foot on the bill. We have tried four procedural motions to bring the bill straight to the floor for a vote. You can read the statement I issued to the press after our third attempt here. The Columbian recently ran an article interviewing the legislators of Clark County about the session. I also touch on the workers’ compensation situation in the article, “Local lawmakers used their influence this year.”

Although we are in a special session, many important decisions still need to be made and your input is important to me. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia.

Sincerely,


Paul Harris

State Representative Paul Harris, 17th Legislative District
RepresentativePaulHarris.com
426A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
paul.harris@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7976 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000