Sheldon announces results of 2016 legislative survey

Here’s what residents of the 35th Legislative District are saying about top political issues

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch.

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch.

Here are the results of Sen. Tim Sheldon’s 2016 legislative survey. Sen. Sheldon circulated his annual survey in a newsletter mailed to residents of the 35th Legislative District, and also made it available online. Some 301 people participated. Thanks to all who took a few moments to respond, and to the many who offered additional thoughts in writing.

1. Washington politicians are fond of saying the state has recovered from recession and the economy is booming. But the growth is most evident in the city of Seattle and nearby areas. In the 35th District, how do you perceive the state of the economy?

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2. How do you feel about your personal economic situation?

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3. Washington is one of just two states that issue driver’s licenses to those who are in the country illegally. Because of this, the federal government has said Washington drivers’ licenses may no longer be an acceptable form of identification for airline boarding and other interstate travel purposes. How do you think Washington should respond?

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4. In December, the governor’s office revealed that over the last 13 years the state Department of Corrections released 3,200 violent inmates before their sentences were finished. Police say at least two people were killed by inmates who should have been behind bars. DOC knew its computer calculations were wrong 3 years ago but it continued to release prisoners early. How should this matter be investigated?

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5. Do you think the people of Washington state should have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature before taxes are increased?

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6. In 2012, Washington voters approved an initiative permitting public charter schools to be established as an alternative to failing public schools. But in September the state Supreme Court ruled charter schools are unconstitutional, for technical reasons having to do with state-government accounting procedures. What should the Legislature do?

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7. Lawmakers are being asked this year to pass an initiative that would place new taxes on gasoline and on industries that emit carbon. I-732 also would reduce the sales tax and business and occupations tax. What should the Legislature do?

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8. Gov. Jay Inslee has directed the Department of Ecology to impose limits on industrial carbon emissions – a “carbon cap.” This policy would allow factories to stop operations, go on “standby,” and make money by selling “credits” to other businesses. It also would increase the price of gasoline, because refiners would have to compensate for emissions from cars and trucks. Should the Legislature have a chance to vote on this policy?

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9. In its 2012 McCleary decision, the state Supreme Court ruled the Legislature is not adequately funding basic education. Over the last four years the Legislature has dramatically increased spending by dedicating two-thirds of all budget growth to schools. Now the court wants the Legislature to find a more stable funding source than local voter-approved school levies. How should the Legislature respond?

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10. Washington workers can be required to pay union dues or an equivalent fee as a condition of employment. Should this arrangement be maintained or eliminated?

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11. The state Human Rights Commission has adopted a rule allowing transgendered persons to use the facilities of their choice – restrooms, showers, locker rooms, homeless shelters and other sex-segregated accommodations. Some women and men object that this violates their right to privacy. What do you think about this policy?

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