State Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D –Des Moines) will continue to serve as chairman of the House Environment committee for the 2013 legislative session.
Every two years, committee structure and chairmanships in the state House undergo a reorganization process.
As in years past, the House Environment committee will continue to consider issues relating to air quality, aquatic lands, oil spill prevention, recycling and solid waste, hazardous waste, toxics, and climate change, as well as overseeing the Puget Sound Partnership’s activities.
Additionally – and new for the coming year – the committee will also be responsible for all energy-related issues, including renewable energy standards and energy availability, production and conservation.
“Energy and environmental issues have a lot of overlap, so this shift makes sense,” Upthegrove said. “Washington state is already a national leader in promoting energy technologies that both spur economic growth and help protect the quality of life we all cherish.”
Contaminated groundwater and soil under and near a SeaTac property will undergo cleanup with a combination of below-ground air injection, vapor removal, and natural bacterial action, under a proposed legal agreement submitted for public comment by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the site’s current and former owners.
The proposed agreement, called a consent decree, incorporates a cleanup action plan that underwent public review and comment in 2011.
The parcel – owned by Sea-Tac Investments LLC, ANSCO Properties, LLC, and Scarsella Bros. Inc., -- is located at 16025-16223 International Blvd. The site has no connection with the nearby Sea-Tac Airport.
The property has had various occupants and businesses, including a construction yard and tenants who installed underground fuel tanks.
Sampling studies show that contaminants related to gasoline affect ground water under the property’s north end and a surrounding area. A cleanup of contaminated soil occurred in 2001, and pavement on the site prevents people from coming into contact with soil and vapors from the contaminated underground water and soil.
This Thursday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m., State Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle) will host a telephone town hall meeting to talk with constituents in the 11th Legislative District.
The 11th District covers pasts of Tukwila, Burien and North Highline.
“This is the fourth week of session, the first cut off was this past Tuesday, and things are moving very fast in Olympia, so there’s lots to talk about,” said Hasegawa.
This Thursday just before 6:30 p.m., thousands of 11th Legislative District residents will receive telephone calls inviting them to stay on the line to participate in the tele-Town Hall.
To participate in the call, attendees will be asked to press “*3” (star 3) on their phones.
Those who don’t get the call but want to participate, are encouraged to call the toll-free telephone number directly, 1-877-229-8493, and then enter PIN code No. 18646 when prompted.
This tele-forum is an opportunity for citizens to bring up questions, comments and concerns about topics related to the Washington State Legislature, or whatever else is on their mind.
The dean of Highline’s state legislative delegation, Sen. Margarita Prentice has been redistricted out of the 11th District and will retire at the end of the year.
Prentice, 80, has announced that after 20 years as a state senator, she will retire when her fifth term ends Dec. 31. She will serve in the current session that begins Monday, Jan. 9.
According to the new legislative redistricting plan, the Skyway home she has lived in since 1958 is now in the 37th Legislative District. She likely would have had to face current 37th District Sen. Adam Kline in the fall 2014 election to keep her legislative seat.
Prentice was appointed to the state House in 1988 and was elected to the Senate in 1992.
The 11th District encompasses the northeast portion of the Highline area. Zack Hudgins and Bob Hasegawa are the state representatives
The state Department of Ecology is holding a public meeting on its interim action plan to deal with the Tukwila plume on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the Des Moines Activity Center, 2045 S. 216th St.
The open house is 6:30-8:30 p.m. with a presentation at 7 p.m.
Here’s more information from the DOE:
Ecology is using a $94 million settlement from Asarco to manage risk from Tacoma Smelter Plume contamination. The plume is too large to clean up every property, so we are doing partial cleanup, known as an “interim action”. The draft Interim Action Plan describes how Ecology will address contamination and gives the public a chance to provide input.
What is in the Interim Action Plan?
The Interim Action Plan has four main actions:
1. Create a residential yard sampling and cleanup program.
2. Continue the existing Soil Safety Program for schools, childcares, parks, camps, and multi-family housing.
3. Continue education and outreach through the Dirt Alert program.
4. Continue technical assistance for cleaning up properties during development.
Formal written comments can be sent to:
Southwest Regional Office, Toxics Cleanup Program
Department of Ecology
Update for Oct. 28
No state sales tax credit almost certainly means no annexation of White Center and the remaining unincorporated North Highline.
“The council has been fairly clear that it won’t go forward with annexation without the sales tax credit,” City Manager Mike Martin said Friday morning.
Eliminating the state sales tax credit to cities that annex unincorporated areas was among the proposals offered by Gov. Chris Gregoire on Thursday as a way to deal with the latest state budget shortfall.
Martin said city officials are still looking at what the proposal may mean. That would include the credit already being received by Burien for annexing the Boulevard Park area.
“We’ll have to wait until the dust settles,” Martin added.
Meanwhile, council candidate Greg Duff issued a statement saying he would not support annexation without the credit.
“You can rest assured that King County, Snohomish County, and officials from all 7 cities affected will be having meetings with the governor,” Duff wrote.
The budget director for Highline Public Schools has issued a "call to arms" to community members asking them to contact state legislators protesting proposed steep cuts in school funding.
"Legislators don't want to hear from administrators or teachers," business services executive director Susan Smith Leland declared at the April 13 school board meeting. "They want to hear from families and community members. They want to hear from the grassroots.
"We need your help."
She promised, "We will let the community know how they can communicate with the Legislature."
Leland was reacting to separate education budget proposals from Gov. Chris Gregoire, House members and Senate members.
She was particularly upset by the state Senate budget unveiled April 12 that included a 3 percent cut in teacher pay and a plan to take funding from school districts when students skip school.
Leland noted the 3 percent reduction proposal "blew us out of the water." The proposal is unprecedented in her 26 years working in school districts, according to Leland.
Highline Community College, in partnership with Green River Community College and Central Washington University, is hosting a panel discussion from 6:30-8 p.m. March 10 for community members to learn more about the proposed budgets cuts to higher education in Washington state.
Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest and Federal Way Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Pierson will participate in the panel discussion and Dr. T.M. Sell will moderate. Audience members will also be able to comment and ask questions.
The panel discussion will be held in the Great Room at Todd Beamer High School, 35999 16th Ave. S. in Federal Way.
This College Promise Community Conversation is one of many happening throughout the region. For more information, visit www.collegepromisewa.com.
Though Ballard's trio of Democratic representatives to the state legislature were all reelected easily, celebrations were kept in check as concerns over what the rest of the results from the Nov. 2 election mean for the 36th District replaced the thrill of victory.
State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, though happy to be reelected in such a great district, said her win was bittersweet because she knows the initiative results coupled with a $4.7 billion deficit will force severe cuts in services while leaving the legislature without the tools to deal with them.
State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles said she is not feeling too good about the election results overall and is worried about the brutal cuts that are coming to state services.
"I'm very concerned about the effect on the low-income, the elderly and people with disabilities," she said.
Dickerson said she is disappointed Initiative 1053, which requires a two-third majority in the legislature to raise taxes, passed. It takes away the state's ability to deal with the current financial crisis, she said.
"Here in Washington, we're as bad off as any place could be. We are simply the most regressive tax system in the nation."
Bill Gates Sr., father of the Microsoft founder and spokesperson for Initiative 1098, which would create a state income tax, didn't sugar coat his message when he and Phinney resident John Burbank spoke at a Sept. 14 fundraiser at 36th District Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welle's Queen Anne home.
Gates pitched the initiative as a much-needed step toward improving public education in the state. Washington currently ranks 46th in the country in spending on education per $1,000 of income and 37th in per pupil spending, he said.
There have been $12 billion in cuts to the state budget during the past three years, including chronic underfunding of education, said Burbank, executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute.
"It's an impossible situation we're putting our teachers in," he said. "And, it's going to get worse."