Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After a 60-day regular session and a 20-day special session, the Legislature finally completed its work last Tuesday and adjourned. This was a very interesting first session for me, and I truly believe my 15 years of professional experience and community engagement in Federal Way positioned me well to hit the ground running.
As a Legislature, we passed supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. Our goal in passing these budgets was to make small adjustments to the two-year spending plans passed last year without raising taxes or raiding the state's rainy day fund.
We succeeded in that effort. Supplemental operating budget highlights are as follows:
- $191 million increase in spending, or half-a-percent;
- $7 million to recruit and retain K-12 staff and support for beginning teachers;
- $8 million to help backfill costs to keep tuition reduced at state colleges and universities;
- As much as $18 million appropriated for state need-grant college funding;
- $40 million directed for mental-health programs and the state's two mental hospitals;
- $29 million for overtime of home health-care providers;
- $190 million in budget reserves to pay for wildfire suppression last year.
We also passed a supplemental capital budget with strong bipartisan support. Rep. Kochmar and I secured funding for two projects for our communities:
- $500,000 for the Algona Community Center
- $52,000 for the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center kitchen
It is such an honor to serve the 30th District. I am committed to working tirelessly on your behalf, both in Olympia and in district. My goal is to bring your voice and perspective to the forefront in the Legislature, and that's what I will continue to do.
SNAP bill signed into law
My House Bill 2877 was signed into law last week by the governor. This bill extends the date range for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to be distributed from 10 days to 20 days. SNAP is such an important program for so many families in Washington state, as it provides nutritional support benefits to low-income individuals and families. One in seven Washingtonians relies on the program, and I believe the change my bill provides will benefit many SNAP recipients.
The current benefit distribution model simply isn't working as well as it should, so expanding the date range for SNAP benefits to be distributed is a logical step to take. Doing so will increase access to a wider range of food products and allow families to shop without having to navigate long lines.
Great turnout at our town halls last month
Last month, I had the opportunity to host three town halls in Milton, Algona and Federal Way with Sen. Mark Miloscia and Rep. Linda Kochmar. We provided an overview of the 2016 regular session and took questions from participants. The town halls were well-attended and the questions and conversations were engaging. I'm looking forward to hosting more town halls this interim.
New district office open in Federal Way
Following the adjournment of the 2016 legislative session, Sen. Miloscia, Rep. Kochmar and I opened a joint legislative office in Federal Way.
The office is located at 33305 1st Way S, Suite B-104, and is operated by legislative staff Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment to meet with me, please contact the office using the following information:
Rep. Teri Hickel
Whether in person, through email, or over the phone, I encourage you to continue contacting me with your thoughts and ideas for how we can work together to solve the challenges facing our district and state.
It is an honor to serve as your state representative.
122D Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7830 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000