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05/25/2017   Washington House Republicans

BORDER STATES Do away with the Electoral College? Lawmakers inch Oregon closer (The Oregonian) ‘A critical moment’: Kate Brown, lawmakers discuss budget negotiations at Salem forum (The Oregonian) Audit: Oregon’s Medicaid computer systems work well, but human errors remain (The Oregonian) BUSINESS, LABOR & ECONOMY Kennewick wine project praised by Gov. Jay Inslee (Tri-City Herald)... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: May 25, 2017 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

05/24/2017   Department of Homeland Security
05/24/2017   Department of Homeland Security
Release Date: 
May 25, 2017

138 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Chairman Boozman, Ranking Member Tester, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee:

It is a great honor and privilege to appear before you today to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) crucial missions of protecting the homeland and securing our borders.

The men and women of DHS are exceptional and dedicated professionals who work tirelessly in support of our mission to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values with honor and integrity. I am pleased to appear before you to present the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget request for the Department of Homeland Security.

The President’s Budget puts America first, and builds on DHS’s accomplishments over the past 14 years. It makes critical investments in people, technology, and infrastructure for border security and the enforcement of our immigration laws. It advances cybersecurity programs, strengthens our biometric identification programs, promotes the expansion of E-Verify, and supports our new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office. The Budget also sustains the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), our nation’s fifth service, to continue its important mission of ensuring maritime safety, security, and stewardship.

DHS is committed to the rule of law. Our men and women take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and uphold the laws of this great country against all enemies— foreign and domestic—and we get it done. We face diverse challenges and adversaries that do not respect the rule of law, or our borders. Our government must remain vigilant in detecting and preventing terrorist threats, including threats we face from “lone offenders,” who may be living in our communities and who are inspired by radical, violent ideology to do harm to Americans. I remain committed to tirelessly protect our country from threats, secure our borders, and enforce our laws—all while facilitating lawful trade and travel, and balancing the security of our nation with the protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

The President’s FY 2018 Budget requests $44.1 billion in net discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The President’s Budget also requests $7.4 billion to finance the cost of emergencies and major disasters in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Disaster Relief Fund.

In order to ensure we are stretching every one of these dollars, we are striving to further improve information sharing, collaboration, and transparency, all of which are essential to leveraging the full value of every dollar DHS receives. We are expanding our cooperation with State, local, tribal, territorial, and regional partner nations, particularly Canada and Mexico. These partnerships are critical to identifying, monitoring, and countering threats to U.S. national security and regional stability.

I am also working to improve transparency and information sharing across the DHS enterprise to build efficiencies into our intelligence processes. An example of this is my ongoing support of DHS’s Joint Task Forces, which link the authorities and capabilities of multiple DHS components in a unified approach that addresses emerging and priority threats to our nation. The magnitude, scope, and complexity of the challenges we face— including illegal immigration, transnational crime, human smuggling and trafficking, and terrorism—demand an integrated counter-network approach.

Border security is a high priority, and involves protecting 7,000 miles of land border, approximately 95,000 miles of shoreline, and 328 ports of entry along with staffing numerous locations abroad. We appreciate the support Congress has provided to improve security at our borders and ports of entry. With that support, we have made great progress, but more work must be done.

The President’s Budget requests $1.6 billion for 32 miles of new border wall construction, 28 miles of levee wall along the Rio Grande, where apprehensions are the highest along the Southwest Border, and 14 miles of new border wall system that will replace existing secondary fence in the San Diego Sector, where a border wall system will deny access to drug trafficking organizations. The Budget also requests $976 million for high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology improvements for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Under the President’s Executive Order No. 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, CBP is conducting risk assessments to the needs of frontline officers and agents that will be used to tailor an acquisition strategy going forward.

While technology, equipment, and physical barriers certainly help secure our borders, we also must have more boots on the ground. I remain committed to hiring and training new Border Patrol agents and commensurate support personnel as supported by the President’s Budget and Executive Order No. 13767. Let me be clear, we will maintain our standards, yet we will streamline hiring processes. This includes initiatives like waiving polygraph testing requirements for qualified Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers, as well as members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and members of the Reserves or the National Guard, as contemplated by legislation now pending before the Congress. On a broader scale, my Deputy Secretary, Elaine Duke, and I are working hard across DHS to attract, retain, and enhance career opportunities for our workforce.

Effective border security must be augmented by vigorous interior enforcement and the administration of our immigration laws in a manner that serves the national interest. As with any sovereign nation, we have a fundamental right and obligation to enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States—particularly against criminal aliens. We must have additional U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers to expand our enforcement efforts. The FY 2018 Budget requests over $7.5 billion in discretionary funding for ICE to support both the expansion of transnational criminal investigatory capacity within Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as well as ERO’s expanded targeted enforcement activities, including increases for more than 51,000 detention beds to accommodate expected increases in interior arrests of criminal and fugitive aliens, associated transportation and removal costs, and an estimated 79,000 participants in ICE’s Alternatives to Detention Program contract. Included in the request is $185.9 million to hire more than 1,600 additional ICE ERO officers, HSI agents, and support personnel.

Detaining illegal aliens, and deporting them to their countries of origin, does not address the needs of members of our public who have been the targets of their crimes. For this reason, the Budget also requests an additional $1 million to enhance the current operations of DHS’s new VOICE Office, which supports victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens. As I have noted before, all crime is terrible, but these victims are unique because they are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place. The people who victimized them should not have been in this country in the first place.

To protect the American people, we must continue to improve our identification verification and vetting processes.

E-Verify is currently a voluntary program administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that deserves more of our attention. Through E-Verify, our nation’s employers verify the employment eligibility of their employees after they are hired, which in turn helps protect American workers from unfair competition. The President’s Budget requests $131.5 million for E-Verify operations, which includes an additional $15.2 million for expansion of the program to support the mandatory use of E-Verify nationwide within three years—should Congress provide the authority to do so. We appreciate the continued support of Congress for this program.

Biometrics is another critical DHS identification and verification initiative, and I am committed to the pursuit of robust capabilities in this area. The Budget requests $354 million to support biometric initiatives. We continue to make progress on the Biometric Entry-Exit System, with the goal of making air travel more secure, convenient, and easier.

The threat to aviation security remains high, and criminals and terrorists continue to target airlines and airports. We must continue to improve how we screen the belongings of travelers and cargo. We are in the business of protecting lives, and improved screening technologies coupled with additional Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Officers working security functions at the checkpoints, will help us deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent threats to aviation security. DHS continues to prioritize explosives screening, threat assessments, and detection capabilities, and the President’s Budget includes $77.0 million for research and development in this area. The Budget also includes $277.2 million for checked baggage screening and explosives detection equipment.

Currently, TSA Officers screen more than two million passengers and their belongings each day, and this number is growing. Additional TSA Officers must be deployed to airport checkpoints to meet the increasing volume of travelers. The President’s Budget offers a sound, two-part approach to meeting this challenge. First, the Budget proposes a much-needed increase in TSA passenger fees—only one dollar, changing the fee from $5.60 to $6.60, for each one-way trip. While Congress previously denied this increase, Congress must act now in order for TSA to continue to meet its mission to protect our nation from ever evolving security threats.

Second, the Budget proposes that TSA cease staffing airport exit lanes, which will enable placement of an additional 629 TSA Officers at the checkpoints. This solution reflects risk-based analysis; TSA Officers are specially trained to ensure no metallic or non-metallic threat items make it onboard planes. Their security screening skills and expertise are not being put to good use while staffing airport exit lanes, and this is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The President also requests $8.4 billion in operating expenses and recapitalization costs for USCG to promote maritime safety and security. Increases to Coast Guard’s operating budget will ensure the agency keeps parity with the pay and benefits increases provided to the other armed services. Additionally, the Budget funds the crewing and maintenance requirements for all new ships and aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2018. Within the $1.2 billion request for Coast Guard’s acquisition programs, $500 million is provided to contract for the Coast Guard’s first Offshore Patrol Cutter and long lead time material for the second OPC.

In addition to our physical security and protection activities, we must continue efforts to address the growing cyber threat, illustrated by the real, pervasive, and ongoing series of attacks on public and private infrastructure and networks. The FY 2018 Budget includes approximately $971.3 million for the National Protection and Programs Directorate’s cybersecurity activities, including $397 million for continued deployment and enhancements for EINSTEIN, which enables DHS to detect and prevent malicious traffic from harming Federal civilian government networks. It also provides $279 million for our Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program to provide hardware, software, and services to strengthen the security of Federal civilian “.gov” networks.

DHS also must be vigilant in preparing for and responding to disasters, including floods, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other disasters. The FY 2018 President’s Budget reflects FEMA’s efficient use of taxpayer dollars to improve the nation’s resilience from disasters. FEMA will prioritize programs that contribute most significantly to its emergency management mission, streamline business processes, harness innovative technologies, and better utilize public and private sector partnerships. The President’s Budget requests $7.4 billion to support disaster resilience, response, and recovery, primarily through the Disaster Relief Fund.

The Budget provides $1.9 billion for FEMA’s grant programs that support State, local, territorial, and tribal governments to improve their security and resilience posture against risks associated with man-made and natural disasters. It represents a continued investment in State and local preparedness while spending taxpayer dollars on programs that make the most difference. The Budget also proposes a 25 percent non-Federal cost-share for those preparedness grants that do not currently have a cost-share requirement. By using a cost-sharing approach, Federal dollars are spent on activities that our non-Federal partners themselves would invest in, providing clear results in priority areas.

In addition to protecting our nation’s financial infrastructure, under the leadership of our new Director Tex Alles, the men and women of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) protect our nation’s highest elected leaders, visiting foreign dignitaries, facilities, and major events. Using advanced countermeasures, USSS conducts operations to deter, minimize, and decisively respond to identified threats and vulnerabilities. The President’s Budget includes $1.9 billion to support USSS’s missions, including investment in of advanced technologies and task force partnerships to enforce counterfeiting laws, and safeguard the payment and financial systems of the United States from financial and computer-based crimes. The funding also supports 7,150 positions – the highest staffing levels since 2011, and includes Presidential protection in New York and much-needed enhancement of technology used to protect the White House.

In closing, the challenges facing DHS and our nation are considerable. We have outstanding men and women working at DHS who are committed to protecting our homeland and the American people. The President’s FY 2018 Budget request recognizes our current fiscal realities, as well as the serious and evolving threats and dangers our nation faces each day. You have my commitment to work tirelessly to ensure that the men and women of DHS are empowered to do their jobs.

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today and for your continued support of DHS. I remain committed to working with Congress, and look forward to forging a strong and productive relationship to prevent and combat threats to our nation.

I am pleased to answer any questions.

Topics: 
05/24/2017   Washington House Republicans

In his state of the state address on Jan. 11, Gov. Jay Inslee did not mention rural economic development once nor did he acknowledge the high unemployment numbers in many rural and coastal communities. The closest he came to acknowledging the challenges facing these communities was, “…we need to continue important conversations on issues like... Read more »

The post Gov. Jay Inslee’s vetoes hurt rural and coastal communities appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

05/24/2017   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER Hundreds bring fears of Airway Heights water contamination to meeting with Fairchild officials (The Spokesman-Review) EDITORIAL: Ag industry winces at tough talk (The Spokesman-Review) BORDER STATES Health Authority estimates 32,000 Medicaid recipients could be ineligible (The Oregonian) Oregon Democrats aim to unveil corporate tax proposal this week (The Oregonian) Self-service gas bill... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: May 24, 2017 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

05/24/2017   Department of Homeland Security
Release Date: 
May 24, 2017

For Immediate Release
TSA Public Affairs
Contact: 571-227-2829

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration is preparing for the start of the summer travel period, typically marked by the Memorial Day holiday weekend and continuing through Labor Day. Record numbers of passengers are expected at airports this summer, with peak travel periods occurring in June and July, including the July 4th weekend. During the busiest days of the summer, TSA will screen more than 2.5 million passengers per day.

Through the TSA Airport Operations Center and in coordination with airport and airline partners, TSA aims to maintain effective and efficient security operations at checkpoints nationwide during the busy travel season. The center tracks daily screening operations, rapidly addresses any issues that arise, and deploys personnel, canine teams and technology where needed. This summer, 50 more passenger canine teams will be in use compared to last summer, and 2,000 more TSA officers will be working this year compared to last year.

“As we approach the summer break, securing the travel of millions of passengers daily remains our top priority,” said TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia. “It is well known that terrorists continue to focus on aviation, which is why TSA continues to focus on providing robust security screening. TSA takes many security measures, seen and unseen, while working closely with industry partners such as airlines and airports to enhance the traveling experience and ensure every passenger arrives to their destination safely.”

“TSA is tasked with a complex, critical security mission that can only be accomplished through close collaboration with stakeholders and partners. We will not compromise our security mission of protecting air travelers as we face an evolving threat by a determined enemy,” she said.

Additionally, TSA continues to team up with vendors and airlines, for instance, to develop and deploy innovative technologies at airports. Automated screening lanes offer several features designed to improve the screening of travelers this summer by allowing travelers to move more swiftly and efficiently through checkpoints. Fifty automated screening lanes are currently in operation at Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and more are expected to become operational in the coming months. These lanes are state-of-the-art in advancing security effectiveness, increasing efficiency, and improving the passenger experience.

With the increased volume during summer travel, delays at the airport may occur. Travelers can enhance their travel experience through the airport by arriving early. Passengers should expect that there may be delays for traffic, parking, rental car returns and airline check-in. Preparedness can have a significant impact on efficiency at security checkpoints nationwide, so travelers should arrive up to two hours in advance of their flight departure time for domestic travel and three hours for international flights when flying out of the nation’s busiest airports.

Some helpful tools and travel tips for the airport security checkpoint include:

  • Apply for TSA Pre® or other trusted travel programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. These programs help improve security and provide a more convenient travel experience by affording travelers access to TSA Pre®expedited screening lanes. Travelers using the TSA Pre® lane do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets at more than 180 U.S. airports. To find the program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool.
  • Tweet or Message AskTSA. Issues receiving TSA Pre® on your boarding pass? Unsure if an item is allowed through security? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also reach the Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
  • Prepare for security. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag and consider checking bags when feasible. Remember to have a valid ID and boarding pass readily available. If you are traveling abroad, be aware of the recent changes to international travel carry-on items. Also read the FAQ or fact sheet about upcoming REAL ID requirements.
  • Follow the liquids rule. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit inside a single quart-size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening. This includes sun block and tanning lotions.
  • Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint. 

As a reminder, public awareness is key for supporting TSA’s security efforts. Travelers are encouraged to report suspicious activities, and remember, If You See Something, Say Something™. For individuals traveling abroad, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go page to learn about required documentation. 

For further information about TSA procedures and other trusted traveler programs, read the frequently asked questions, watch TSA’s travel tips videos and visit DHS's new Trusted Traveler Comparison Tool.

###
05/23/2017   Department of Homeland Security
Release Date: 
May 24, 2017

2358-A Rayburn House Office Building

Chairman Carter, Ranking Member Roybal-Allard, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee:

It is a great honor and privilege to appear before you today to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) crucial missions of protecting the homeland and securing our borders.

The men and women of DHS are exceptional and dedicated professionals who work tirelessly in support of our mission to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values with honor and integrity. I am pleased to appear before you to present the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget request for the Department of Homeland Security.

The President’s Budget puts America first, and builds on DHS’s accomplishments over the past 14 years. It makes critical investments in people, technology, and infrastructure for border security and the enforcement of our immigration laws. It advances cybersecurity programs, strengthens our biometric identification programs, promotes the expansion of E-Verify, and supports our new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office. The Budget also sustains the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), our nation’s fifth service, to continue its important mission of ensuring maritime safety, security, and stewardship.

DHS is committed to the rule of law. Our men and women take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and uphold the laws of this great country against all enemies— foreign and domestic—and we get it done. We face diverse challenges and adversaries that do not respect the rule of law, or our borders. Our government must remain vigilant in detecting and preventing terrorist threats, including threats we face from “lone offenders,” who may be living in our communities and who are inspired by radical, violent ideology to do harm to Americans. I remain committed to tirelessly protect our country from threats, secure our borders, and enforce our laws—all while facilitating lawful trade and travel, and balancing the security of our nation with the protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

The President’s FY 2018 Budget requests $44.1 billion in net discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The President’s Budget also requests $7.4 billion to finance the cost of emergencies and major disasters in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Disaster Relief Fund.

In order to ensure we are stretching every one of these dollars, we are striving to further improve information sharing, collaboration, and transparency, all of which are essential to leveraging the full value of every dollar DHS receives. We are expanding our cooperation with State, local, tribal, territorial, and regional partner nations, particularly Canada and Mexico. These partnerships are critical to identifying, monitoring, and countering threats to U.S. national security and regional stability.

I am also working to improve transparency and information sharing across the DHS enterprise to build efficiencies into our intelligence processes. An example of this is my ongoing support of DHS’s Joint Task Forces, which link the authorities and capabilities of multiple DHS components in a unified approach that addresses emerging and priority threats to our nation. The magnitude, scope, and complexity of the challenges we face— including illegal immigration, transnational crime, human smuggling and trafficking, and terrorism—demand an integrated counter-network approach.

Border security is a high priority, and involves protecting 7,000 miles of land border, approximately 95,000 miles of shoreline, and 328 ports of entry along with staffing numerous locations abroad. We appreciate the support Congress has provided to improve security at our borders and ports of entry. With that support, we have made great progress, but more work must be done.

The President’s Budget requests $1.6 billion for 32 miles of new border wall construction, 28 miles of levee wall along the Rio Grande, where apprehensions are the highest along the Southwest Border, and 14 miles of new border wall system that will replace existing secondary fence in the San Diego Sector, where a border wall system will deny access to drug trafficking organizations. The Budget also requests $976 million for high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology improvements for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Under the President’s Executive Order No. 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, CBP is conducting risk assessments to the needs of frontline officers and agents that will be used to tailor an acquisition strategy going forward.

While technology, equipment, and physical barriers certainly help secure our borders, we also must have more boots on the ground. I remain committed to hiring and training new Border Patrol agents and commensurate support personnel as supported by the President’s Budget and Executive Order No. 13767. Let me be clear, we will maintain our standards, yet we will streamline hiring processes. This includes initiatives like waiving polygraph testing requirements for qualified Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers, as well as members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and members of the Reserves or the National Guard, as contemplated by legislation now pending before the Congress. On a broader scale, my Deputy Secretary, Elaine Duke, and I are working hard across DHS to attract, retain, and enhance career opportunities for our workforce.

Effective border security must be augmented by vigorous interior enforcement and the administration of our immigration laws in a manner that serves the national interest. As with any sovereign nation, we have a fundamental right and obligation to enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States—particularly against criminal aliens. We must have additional U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers to expand our enforcement efforts. The FY 2018 Budget requests over $7.5 billion in discretionary funding for ICE to support both the expansion of transnational criminal investigatory capacity within Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as well as ERO’s expanded targeted enforcement activities, including increases for more than 51,000 detention beds to accommodate expected increases in interior arrests of criminal and fugitive aliens, associated transportation and removal costs, and an estimated 79,000 participants in ICE’s Alternatives to Detention Program contract. Included in the request is $185.9 million to hire more than 1,600 additional ICE ERO officers, HSI agents, and support personnel.

Detaining illegal aliens, and deporting them to their countries of origin, does not address the needs of members of our public who have been the targets of their crimes. For this reason, the Budget also requests an additional $1 million to enhance the current operations of DHS’s new VOICE Office, which supports victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens. As I have noted before, all crime is terrible, but these victims are unique because they are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place. The people who victimized them should not have been in this country in the first place.

To protect the American people, we must continue to improve our identification verification and vetting processes.

E-Verify is currently a voluntary program administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that deserves more of our attention. Through E-Verify, our nation’s employers verify the employment eligibility of their employees after they are hired, which in turn helps protect American workers from unfair competition. The President’s Budget requests $131.5 million for E-Verify operations, which includes an additional $15.2 million for expansion of the program to support the mandatory use of E-Verify nationwide within three years—should Congress provide the authority to do so. We appreciate the continued support of Congress for this program.

Biometrics is another critical DHS identification and verification initiative, and I am committed to the pursuit of robust capabilities in this area. The Budget requests $354 million to support biometric initiatives. We continue to make progress on the Biometric Entry-Exit System, with the goal of making air travel more secure, convenient, and easier.

The threat to aviation security remains high, and criminals and terrorists continue to target airlines and airports. We must continue to improve how we screen the belongings of travelers and cargo. We are in the business of protecting lives, and improved screening technologies coupled with additional Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Officers working security functions at the checkpoints, will help us deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent threats to aviation security. DHS continues to prioritize explosives screening, threat assessments, and detection capabilities, and the President’s Budget includes $77.0 million for research and development in this area. The Budget also includes $277.2 million for checked baggage screening and explosives detection equipment.

Currently, TSA Officers screen more than two million passengers and their belongings each day, and this number is growing. Additional TSA Officers must be deployed to airport checkpoints to meet the increasing volume of travelers. The President’s Budget offers a sound, two-part approach to meeting this challenge. First, the Budget proposes a much-needed increase in TSA passenger fees—only one dollar, changing the fee from $5.60 to $6.60, for each one-way trip. While Congress previously denied this increase, Congress must act now in order for TSA to continue to meet its mission to protect our nation from ever evolving security threats.

Second, the Budget proposes that TSA cease staffing airport exit lanes, which will enable placement of an additional 629 TSA Officers at the checkpoints. This solution reflects risk-based analysis; TSA Officers are specially trained to ensure no metallic or non-metallic threat items make it onboard planes. Their security screening skills and expertise are not being put to good use while staffing airport exit lanes, and this is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The President also requests $8.4 billion in operating expenses and recapitalization costs for USCG to promote maritime safety and security. Increases to Coast Guard’s operating budget will ensure the agency keeps parity with the pay and benefits increases provided to the other armed services. Additionally, the Budget funds the crewing and maintenance requirements for all new ships and aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2018. Within the $1.2 billion request for Coast Guard’s acquisition programs, $500 million is provided to contract for the Coast Guard’s first Offshore Patrol Cutter and long lead time material for the second OPC.

In addition to our physical security and protection activities, we must continue efforts to address the growing cyber threat, illustrated by the real, pervasive, and ongoing series of attacks on public and private infrastructure and networks. The FY 2018 Budget includes approximately $971.3 million for the National Protection and Programs Directorate’s cybersecurity activities, including $397 million for continued deployment and enhancements for EINSTEIN, which enables DHS to detect and prevent malicious traffic from harming Federal civilian government networks. It also provides $279 million for our Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program to provide hardware, software, and services to strengthen the security of Federal civilian “.gov” networks.

DHS also must be vigilant in preparing for and responding to disasters, including floods, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other disasters. The FY 2018 President’s Budget reflects FEMA’s efficient use of taxpayer dollars to improve the nation’s resilience from disasters. FEMA will prioritize programs that contribute most significantly to its emergency management mission, streamline business processes, harness innovative technologies, and better utilize public and private sector partnerships. The President’s Budget requests $7.4 billion to support disaster resilience, response, and recovery, primarily through the Disaster Relief Fund.

The Budget provides $1.9 billion for FEMA’s grant programs that support State, local, territorial, and tribal governments to improve their security and resilience posture against risks associated with man-made and natural disasters. It represents a continued investment in State and local preparedness while spending taxpayer dollars on programs that make the most difference. The Budget also proposes a 25 percent non-Federal cost-share for those preparedness grants that do not currently have a cost-share requirement. By using a cost-sharing approach, Federal dollars are spent on activities that our non-Federal partners themselves would invest in, providing clear results in priority areas.

In addition to protecting our nation’s financial infrastructure, under the leadership of our new Director Tex Alles, the men and women of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) protect our nation’s highest elected leaders, visiting foreign dignitaries, facilities, and major events. Using advanced countermeasures, USSS conducts operations to deter, minimize, and decisively respond to identified threats and vulnerabilities. The President’s Budget includes $1.9 billion to support USSS’s missions, including investment in of advanced technologies and task force partnerships to enforce counterfeiting laws, and safeguard the payment and financial systems of the United States from financial and computer-based crimes. The funding also supports 7,150 positions – the highest staffing levels since 2011, and includes Presidential protection in New York and much-needed enhancement of technology used to protect the White House.

In closing, the challenges facing DHS and our nation are considerable. We have outstanding men and women working at DHS who are committed to protecting our homeland and the American people. The President’s FY 2018 Budget request recognizes our current fiscal realities, as well as the serious and evolving threats and dangers our nation faces each day. You have my commitment to work tirelessly to ensure that the men and women of DHS are empowered to do their jobs.

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today and for your continued support of DHS. I remain committed to working with Congress, and look forward to forging a strong and productive relationship to prevent and combat threats to our nation.

I am pleased to answer any questions.

Topics: 
05/23/2017   Washington House Republicans

BORDER STATES OPINION: Oregon lawmakers shouldn’t allow nuclear power until there’s a safe solution for its waste (Barbara Robers, former Oregon Governor and Secretary of State; and John Savage, former director of the Oregon Department of Energy/The Oregonian) BUSINESS, LABOR & ECONOMY Cuts continue as Boeing issues more layoff notices (The Everett Herald) Port OKs... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: May 23, 2017 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

05/23/2017   Department of Homeland Security
Release Date: 
May 23, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—The president’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal was delivered to Congress today, requesting $44.1 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a $2.8 billion, or 6.7 percent, increase over the FY 2017 annualized Continuing Resolution.

The budget funds the administration’s priorities and includes $4.5 billion for DHS to implement Executive Orders that strengthen border security, enhance enforcement of immigration laws, and ensure public safety in communities across the United States.

“The president’s budget prioritizes funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs, and it supports the dedicated men and women of this Department as they execute DHS’s wide-ranging and critical missions,” said Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.

The budget supports increased staffing for surging apprehension, enforcement, and deportation activities in the full enforcement of our immigration laws. It provides $2.7 billion for multi-layered border security, including targeted construction of a wall along the highest-risk areas of the southern border as well as increased staffing and the technology and equipment needed by our workforce on the frontlines. In support of increased enforcement initiatives, the budget provides approximately $1.7 billion for additional law enforcement and support staff, detention beds, transportation and removal costs, and the Alternatives to Detention program. The budget also provides $354 million to support biometric initiatives to help accurately identify those individuals entering and leaving the United States and supports expansion of the E-Verify program. To secure our maritime borders and approaches, the budget sustains current funding levels for the U.S. Coast Guard, including $500 million in funding for the Coast Guard’s first Offshore Patrol Cutter.

As exemplified by the world-wide ransomware attack earlier this month, cybersecurity remains a critical mission for DHS and the budget provides $971 million in funding for both ongoing and new cybersecurity initiatives. The budget also makes key investments in explosives detection research and developments to enhance aviation security.

For more information, see the DHS FY 2018 Budget in Brief.

 

###

05/22/2017   Department of Homeland Security
05/22/2017   Department of Homeland Security
05/22/2017   Department of Homeland Security
Release Date: 
May 22, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

The Department of Homeland Security is closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom.  We are working with our foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities.

U.S. citizens in the area should heed direction from local authorities and maintain security awareness.  We encourage any affected U.S. citizens who need assistance to contact the U.S. Embassy in London and follow Department of State guidance.

At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.

We stand ready to assist our friends and allies in the U.K. in all ways necessary as they investigate and recover from this incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this incident.

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05/22/2017   Department of Homeland Security
Release Date: 
May 22, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly today announced his decision to extend—for an additional six months—the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti.  This extension is effective July 23, 2017 through January 22, 2018.

“After careful review of the current conditions in Haiti and conversations with the Haitian government, I have decided to extend the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status for a limited period of six-months,” said Secretary Kelly. “Haiti has made progress across several fronts since the devastating earthquake in 2010, and I’m proud of the role the United States has played during this time in helping our Haitian friends. The Haitian economy continues to recover and grow, and 96 percent of people displaced by the earthquake and living in internally displaced person camps have left those camps. Even more encouraging is that over 98 percent of these camps have closed. Also indicative of Haiti’s success in recovering from the earthquake seven years ago is the Haitian government’s stated plans to rebuild the Haitian President’s residence at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, and the withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.”

Secretary Kelly was particularly encouraged by representations made to him directly by the Haitian government regarding their desire to welcome the safe repatriation of Haitian TPS recipients in the near future. “This six-month extension should allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States, and should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients. We plan to continue to work closely with the Haitian government, including assisting the government in proactively providing travel documents for its citizens.”

Prior to the expiration of this limited six-month period, Secretary Kelly will re-evaluate the designation for Haiti and decide anew whether extension, re-designation, or termination is warranted. The Department of Homeland Security urges Haitian TPS recipients who do not have another immigration status to use the time before Jan. 22, 2018 to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States—including proactively seeking travel documentation—or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible. “I believe there are indications that Haiti – if its recovery from the 2010 earthquake continues at pace - may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018. TPS as enacted in law is inherently temporary in nature, and beneficiaries should plan accordingly that this status may finally end after the extension announced today.”

Further details about this extension of TPS for Haiti, including the application requirements and procedures, will appear in a Federal Register notice later this week.

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05/22/2017   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER Stalks rising: Trade deals almost spoiled Washington’s asparagus industry. But, slowly, farmers made a comeback (The Spokesman-Review) Snowy, wet winter and spring boost dandelions, kills roses; toll on wine grapes yet to be known (The Spokesman-Review) Weather delays cherries, but crop expected to be up from last year (Yakima Herald) Still searching... Read more »

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05/22/2017   Department of Homeland Security
Release Date: 
May 22, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released today the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and were expected to depart in FY16.

The in-scope population for this report includes temporary workers and families (temporary workers and trainees, intracompany transferees, treaty traders and investors, representatives of foreign information media), students, exchange visitors, temporary visitors for pleasure, temporary visitors for business, and other nonimmigrant classes of admission. This population accounts for 96.02 percent of all nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs in FY16.

Importantly, the report does not cover all foreign visitors to the United States—such as those who enter the United States through a vehicular or land POE. Nor does the report provide the total estimated in-country overstay population currently in the United States. Rather, it provides data on overstays in a snapshot of time—those foreign visitors who were expected to depart in FY16, and those who did not do so.

The report specifies that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY16—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Of the more than 739,000 overstays, DHS determined 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.25 percent. An individual who is a suspected in-country overstay has no recorded departure, while an out-of-country overstay has a recorded departure that occurred after their lawful admission period expired.

To protect the American people from those who seek to do us harm, and to ensure the integrity of the immigration system, ICE has recently increased overstay enforcement operations. Each year, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations special agents systematically review approximately one million records of individuals who violate the terms of their visas or the visa waiver program, prioritizing leads that pose national security or public safety threats.

Out of the total population, of the more than 21.6 million Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visitors expected to depart the United States in FY16, 147,282 overstayed the terms of their admission, with 128,806 suspected in-country overstays (a .60 percent suspected in-country overstay rate for VWP travelers). Of the more than 13.8 million non-VWP visitors—excluding Canada and Mexico—expected to depart the United States in FY16, 287,107 overstayed the terms of their admission, with 263,470 suspected in-country overstays. This resulted in a 1.90 percent suspected in-country overstay rate.

For Mexico, the FY16 suspected in-country overstay rate is 1.52 percent of 3,079,524 expected departures. Consistent with the methodology for other countries, this represents only travel through air and sea POEs and does not include data on land border crossings. For Canada, the FY16 suspected in-country overstay rate is 1.33 percent of 9,008,496 expected departures.

This year’s report also includes visitors who entered on a student or exchange visitor visa (F, M, or J visa). Of the 1,457,556 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States in FY16, 79,818 stayed beyond their authorized window for departure, resulting in a 5.48 percent overstay rate. Of the 79,818, 40,949 are suspected in-country overstays (2.81 percent).

DHS conducts the overstay identification process by examining arrival, departure and immigration status information, which is consolidated to generate a complete picture of an individual’s travel to the United States. Due to continuing departures and adjustments in status, by January 10, 2017, the number of suspected in-country overstays for FY16 decreased to 544,676, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.07 percent.

DHS anticipates that these numbers will shift over time as additional information is reported. Specifically, the overall suspected in-country overstay rate will continue to decline as the number of individuals who have departed or transitioned to another immigration status after their initial period of authorized admission ended grows.

DHS continues to improve its data collection, both biographic and biometric, on travelers departing the United States. CBP has identified a feasible biometric exit solution based upon the successful pilot deployed in June 2016, at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. As part of the pilot, CBP partnered with an airline to biometrically confirm the identity of departing travelers using facial recognition. To continue biometric exit implementation, CBP will expand the deployment of this technology to seven additional airports in the coming months. DHS is committed to the development and deployment of a comprehensive biometric exit system—as directed by President Trump in Executive Order 13780, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry in the United States, and as required by law.

Read the full FY16 Entry/Exit Overstay Report here.

 

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05/19/2017   Washington House Republicans

CAPITOL BUZZ RADIO  AUDIO: Headlines for the week of May 15-19 (SoundCloud) OUR NEWS RELEASES FROM THE LAST TWO WEEKS Rep. Brandon Vick introduces legislation to prevent local governments from implementing an income tax Rep. Liz Pike’s statement regarding Gov. Inslee’s veto of short-line rail jobs development bill More health insurance carriers to leave exchange,... Read more »

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05/18/2017   Washington House Republicans

BORDER STATES OPINION: Time to put air quality above politics (Mary Peveto, member of the Cleaner Air Oregon Rulemaking Advisory Committee/The Oregonian) BUDGET & TAXES OPINION: State budget requires bipartisan compromise (Rep. Beth Doglio/The Olympian) EDITORIAL: What don’t you understand? (The Daily News) BUSINESS, LABOR & ECONOMY Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Gov. Jay Inslee to... Read more »

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05/17/2017   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER EDITORIAL: Farm drought losses point to need of water plan (Yakima Herald) BORDER STATES Oregon jobless rate hits another all-time low: 3.7 percent (The Oregonian) State of Oregon says it may have dispensed millions to ineligible Medicaid recipients (The Oregonian) Senate Republicans blast state for delayed testing of youth prisons (The Oregonian)... Read more »

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05/16/2017   Washington House Democrats

TACOMA – A bipartisan effort by state lawmakers to target distracted driving received the governor’s endorsement today. The Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act updates the 2010 state law regarding the use of personal electronic devices by people when they are behind the wheel.

Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, worked together throughout this year’s legislative session to build support for the measure in the Senate and House of Representatives. It received strong bipartisan votes shortly before lawmakers concluded their regular legislative session April 23.

“I wish we didn’t need a stronger law, but it’s clear that people need a new reason to concentrate on the road ahead instead of something else in the car,” said Rivers. “I’ll bet most people who drive our highways have witnessed the kind of risky behavior this bill is meant to discourage.”

“Because of this bill, our law-enforcement officers will be able to do an even better job of keeping our roads safe,” Farrell said. “They see drivers holding phones and other devices all the time, but the wording of our law has made it extremely difficult for them to actually do anything about it. That will now change, and it will help save lives.”

Holding a cell phone to one’s ear or texting while driving is already prohibited under state law. But other uses of electronic devices – such as sending messages or posting photos through apps like Facebook, Instagram, or SnapChat – were not specifically prohibited because those technologies were not as prevalent in 2010.

Rivers and Farrell had proposed distracted-driving legislation in 2015 and 2016, respectively. After joining forces, they chose against proposing a measure that could quickly become outdated due to ever-changing technology, in favor of a straightforward approach. The Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act prohibits any holding of a personal electronic device, watching video on such a device, or using a hand or finger to use the device’s features – other than to activate or deactivate a function.

Pushing a button with one finger to initiate hands-free calling is permitted, as is the use of citizens’ band or ham radios in vehicles.

Legislators voted to have the updates take effect in 2019. However, Gov. Jay Inslee chose to veto that part of the bill today. Now the new law will instead take effect July 23, as will most other laws created during the legislative session that ended April 23.

“We wanted to give both drivers and law enforcement ample time to prepare for these stronger restrictions. Now that the governor has dramatically shortened the timeline, people need to be ready much sooner,” Rivers said.

The House passed Farrell’s version of the bill (House Bill 1371) in early March, just after the Senate adopted Rivers’ version (Senate Bill 5289). It was Rivers’ bill that reached Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk after changes proposed by Farrell were approved by both chambers.

The bill was signed along with two other impaired-driving measures, HB 1614, and SB 5037. All three measures support the state’s continued Target Zero efforts, which aim to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Washington’s roadways to zero by 2030.

05/16/2017   Washington House Democrats
Governor Inslee signs HB 5835

Gov. Inslee signs Substitute Senate Bill No. 5835, May 16, 2017. Relating to promoting healthy outcomes for pregnant women and infants. Primary Sponsor: Karen Keiser

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today signed legislation providing new protections for pregnant women in the workplace.

Senate Bill 5835, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, will ensure that tens of thousands of pregnant workers in Washington are guaranteed scheduling flexibility for prenatal doctors’ visits, readily accessible drinking water, food and seating, and a score of manual labor accommodations.

“After years of work from advocates, I am proud to stand with the working women of Washington for whom these protections are long overdue,” Keiser said. “Though these reasonable accommodations may seem simple, the provisions of this law will make a significant difference to ensure healthy pregnancies for women and their children at a time when the United States suffers from one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the industrialized world.”

The newly signed law also establishes the Healthy Pregnancy Advisory Committee (HPAC) to provide a statewide strategy to improve birth outcomes, reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, and reduce infant mortality to the Legislature and the governor by October 15, 2018. Housed within the Department of Health, HPAC will bring together medical experts, health care providers and representatives of low-income women, women of color, and immigrant communities to jointly develop recommendations.

“Like other states, Washington has shocking rates of maternal and infant health disparities, with Native American and Black Washingtonians being more than twice as likely to experience premature birth and suffer pregnancy loss,” said Lisa M. Stone, Executive Director of Legal Voice. “The advisory committee is a critical step in ensuring all pregnant people in Washington have equitable access to the pregnancy-related care they need. Further, the committee will include advocates and community members, allowing those most affected by these unacceptable health disparities to have a voice in creating innovative policies to end them.”

Additional accommodations outlined in the law, which apply to businesses with 15 or more employees, include access to more frequent, longer or flexible restroom breaks; job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules; providing a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position and; providing assistance with manual labor and enforcing evidence-based limits on lifting.

“Pregnancies and jobs can both be quite demanding. Yet it’s increasingly likely that a woman will be both pregnant and working at some point in her life,” said Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, who sponsored the House version of the bill. “Whether she’s a legislator or a landscaper, a baker or an office worker, every woman deserves the ability to take care of herself and her pregnancy, while also participating in her workplace and earning an income.”

SB 5835 passed the House of Representatives and the Senate on unanimous votes.

05/16/2017   Washington House Democrats

OLYMPIA – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill today prohibiting businesses from collecting and selling your personal biometric information without your consent.

Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mt. Vernon) sponsored the bill to protect consumers from new, invasive technology that can identify a person through such things as fingerprints, eye scans, the shape of your face, the way you walk or how you touch a touch-screen device.

Besides restricting the random collection of biometric data without consumer consent, the law also prevents the sale of a person’s biometric data, leasing, or disclosing a biometric identifier for a commercial purpose unless a consumer consents.

“This is not science fiction any more, companies are actually using these most private of identifiers to collect different data about your habits in order to market to you and many other things,” Morris said. “This is the first bill in the nation that gives consumers personal ownership and control of their biometric data for perpetuity.”

If used properly, Morris said biometrics can protect against identity theft and fraud. However, the Legislature often plays catch up when it comes to regulating new technology. “This law will help industries understand biometric use restrictions before the technologies are widely deployed,” Morris said.

The bill (ESHB 1493) passed the House and the Senate with large bipartisan support before heading to the governor’s desk for signature. Morris thanked the good work by Rep. Mark Harmsworth (R-Mill Creek) who created a bipartisan dialogue with industry to get a policy result that works for consumers and technology developers.

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05/16/2017   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER Washington delegation in Mexico this week for agriculture and industry trade mission (Yakima Herald) Gov. Inslee tours Samish Bay shellfish farm (Skagit Valley Herald) BORDER STATES Critics question costs of Brown executive orders (AP/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin) BUSINESS, LABOR & ECONOMY Skagit County taxable retail sales see major gains for end of 2016... Read more »

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05/15/2017   Washington House Republicans

BORDER STATES In Trump era, record numbers of Oregonians running for office (The Oregonian)  FEMA denies state request for storm assistance (AP/The Oregonian) OPINION: Oregon’s public education needs investments, not cuts (Hanna Vaandering, president of the Oregon Education Association; Betty Reynolds, president of the Oregon School Boards Association; and Matt Thatcher, president of the Confederation... Read more »

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05/08/2017   Washington House Democrats

This morning, at Evergreen High School, in Highland, Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1445 into law. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self will expand dual language programming in Washington state.

Growing dual language programs can help close the academic opportunity gap, foster positive identity development, and build welcoming communities that value the diversity of languages and cultures across Washington.

“The more parents and teachers I talk with about the best ways to give all children in Washington the tools they need to succeed in school, the more convinced I am that this is a step in the right direction,” said the Mukilteo Democrat.

Rep. Ortiz-Self believes this law can make a difference in the lives of English language learners and their families by making dual language programs more available to them.

A dual language program provides content-based instruction to students in two languages: English and a target language spoken in the local community. The goal is for students to become proficient and literate in both languages, while also meeting high academic standards in all subject areas.

The new law will create two-year grants to expand dual language programs for elementary and secondary students.

Research shows that dual language programs are the best way to increase student achievement for English learners, while also improving education outcomes for their monolingual peers.

“This law will also benefit English-only students by giving them the opportunity to learn another language at an early age,” Ortiz-Self, who is fluent in Spanish, said. “A second language translates into a marketable skill that becomes an asset in the professional arena, especially in this global economy.”

The law will go into effect on July 23, 2017.

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05/05/2017   Washington House Democrats

HB 1337 bill signingOLYMPIA – A bill that will help ease the high demand for physicians in Washington state, including through the use of telemedicine, was signed by Governor Jay Inslee this morning in Olympia.

House Bill 1337, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, enables Washington to join a group of states in an agreement allowing the expedited licensing of physicians to practice in each other’s states.  Eighteen states already participate in the agreement, called the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

“This is about people getting access to health care for themselves and their families,” Riccell said.  “While I’m excited 60 medical students will begin at the new WSU medical school this fall, it will be a few years before that school joins the University of Washington in producing new physicians for our state. Eastern Washington is especially underserved when it comes to health care access, and this bill helps address that.”

Technological advances have made telemedicine an option in rural and underserved areas, but without more licensed physicians practicing, the demand for health care access in these areas remains high. Streamlining the licensure process will bring more doctors online faster, while still subjecting applicants to the important necessary background checks.

The bill was supported by the Washington State Medical Association, which testified in favor of it during public hearings earlier this year.

“By expediting physician licensure in member states, this legislation reduces the administrative burden of licensing paperwork for physicians and streamlines the application process for licensure in multiple states. More importantly, it has the potential to increase access to care for patients in rural and underserved areas by helping doctors meet increased demand for outpatient services,” said WSMA President Shane Macaulay, M.D. “The WSMA has long advocated for this legislation, and we applaud Rep. Riccelli for being a champion on this bill.”

Additionally, under the bill physicians based in Washington will receive expedited licensing to practice medicine in other states within the Compact. This potentially benefits people who must move out of state while receiving follow-up care from a Washington doctor, if they relocate to another Compact state.

05/01/2017   Washington House Democrats

The House capital budget would put a record $1 billion into school construction. Here, workers use Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) to build classrooms at Adams Elementary. Photo courtesy of Susan Jones.

Here’s some recent press coverage about the local school now under construction using cross-laminated timber. This new technology has great potential for creating jobs in timber country while reducing the risk of expensive wildfires, since it makes thinning forests far more profitable.

Peninsula Daily News: Construction begins on Greywolf modular buildings

Forest Business Network: Washington raises cross-laminated timber panels at fourth K-12 school site, part of innovative pilot project