Tag Archives: 15th Legislative District

DeRuyter brothers serve as pages for Sen. Honeyford

Jaymin and Brendon DeRuyter, both home-schooled high school students from Zillah, recently spent a week working as pages for the Washington State Senate at the Capitol in Olympia. The brothers were two of 29 students who served as Senate pages for the eighth week of the 2016 legislative session.

They were sponsored by 15th Legislative District Sen. Jim Honeyford, Senate Republican deputy floor leader.

Both brothers participate in Civil Air Patrol where Honeyford is a lieutenant colonel with both the Civil Air Patrol’s Washington Wing Legislative Squadron and with the Yakima Composite Squadron. Jaymin is ranked as a Cadet Senior Master Sergeant and Brendon ranks as Cadet Chief Master Sergeant.

“I was happy to sponsor both Brendon and Jaymin for this short session. They were a pleasure to have around the office and did important work in their role as pages,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside.

The Senate Page Program is an opportunity for Washington students to spend a week working in the Legislature. Students are responsible for transporting documents between offices, as well as delivering messages and mail. Pages spend time in the Senate chamber and attend page school to learn about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. Students also draft their own bills and engage in a mock session.

“Page school really helps with your speaking skills, like being able to state your opinion to people with sometimes differing views,” said Brendon about what he’s learned during his week at the Capitol. Jaymin added, “This has just been a really fun experience and I would recommend to anyone who is thinking about applying to the program should do it.”

Jaymin enjoys running in track for his local high school and Brendon enjoys playing golf as well as playing with airsoft guns with friends.

Both Jaymin and Brendon play instruments for their local youth group band, playing the guitar and the violin. Jaymin has been playing the guitar for over seven years and Brendon has been playing the violin since he was six years old.

Jaymin plans to one day become a lawyer and Brendon plans on getting into the veterinary program at Washington State University.

Jaymin and Brendon, 16 and 15 respectively, are the sons of Dan and Amber DeRuytor of Zillah.

Students interested in the Senate Page Program are encouraged to visit: http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Administration/PageProgram/

IN THE NEWS: House delaying up capital budget OK

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When I pulled the pickup truck into Olympia in early January, I was hopeful this “short” 60-day legislative session would truly be just that — 60 days.

However, here I am at my Newhouse Building desk on day 60-something, with the Senate and House still miles apart on supplemental operating and capital budgets.

These supplemental budgets should be straightforward: We open up the two-year budget approved last year, make adjustments to account for events not seen in our budget-writing crystal ball (the cost of fighting summer wildfires being a traditional example), then close it up for another year.

News reports that the Legislature hasn’t reached an agreement on the “budget” are typically referring to the operating budget that pays for day-to-day state government activity, including public schools.

As chairman of the capital budget – the brick-and-mortar complement to the operating budget – the biggest part of my job is to compile a list of construction, remodeling and repair projects.

The projects that appear in a final capital-budget list may range from developing Naches Rail to Trail to directing funds toward demolition of Sunnyside’s old Carnation milk-processing plant.

Because items covered by the capital budget are tangible – things that can be touched, seen and pointed to – many lawmakers seek to get as many of their local projects on the capital-budget list as possible.

That’s why, early in my tenure as chairman, I began requiring my fellow senators to explain in writing what a requested project would cost and how it would benefit the community.

This year, I shared additional requirements with my colleagues to reinforce this is a supplemental budget year, not time to unroll the Christmas list.

To even be considered, a request had to address an emergency, address an unanticipated change in a previously-approved capital-budget program, correct a technical error or represent an opportunity that would be forever lost if not acted upon this year.

The result is the true supplemental capital budget passed by the Senate on Feb. 26. A broad bipartisan majority of my Senate colleagues agreed with my common-sense approach, which bumped the size of the budget by a modest $87 million while directing even more money toward building new K-3 classrooms, as well as supplementing mental-health housing and addressing public-health emergencies like a failing water system in Pierce County

The House has not voted on a capital-budget proposal; its version only cleared the budget committee, but I agreed to start negotiating anyway.

It immediately became apparent that “supplemental” means something different to House members – on both sides of the political aisle.

If you know what is meant by “bringing home the bacon” and “pork project” you’ll understand what I have been up against during our budget talks.

Both House and Senate budgets spend about the same amount, but the House budget priorities are not on building classrooms or addressing true emergencies. It would, however, do a dandy job of letting House members bring projects home to their districts.

There is little sign of the self-control reflected in the Senate proposal.

I hope we are able to negotiate a capital budget that is truly supplemental. If we fail and do not have a supplemental budget the existing underlying budget continues as we agreed upon last year.

I’m proud of how the Senate supplemental capital budget shows respect for taxpayers. It’s a shame my counterparts in the House want to put pet projects ahead of the best interests of the people of Washington.

The original article, published March 11, 2016, can be viewed here.

Senate approves ‘true’ supplemental capital budget

The Senate today gave a strong endorsement to its proposed supplemental capital budget, voting 39-10 for a collection of changes totaling $87 million. The budget would provide funding for new classrooms, mental-health support and environmental cleanup, without tapping the state’s rainy-day fund or relying on a new revenue source.

“It was gratifying to see my colleagues join me in supporting our public schools. Nearly 65 percent of this budget goes toward education. The $38 million to reduce class size in K-3 is by itself a great investment in the kids of our state. The additional $35 million for the school construction-assistance account further cements that commitment,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford, capital-budget chair.

Supplemental budgets are developed during 60-day legislative sessions – such as this year’s – to make minor corrections to previously approved budgets. 

“Within existing revenue, we responded to some of the biggest issues our state faces: education, mental health and environmental cleanup. Our proposed budget directs $20.8 million toward additional mental-health beds and temporary housing for those in treatment,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside.

“We couldn’t ignore the decline in the Model Toxic Control Act account so we tackled that issue too. Ensuring that our state can continue addressing toxic-cleanup projects should be a priority for lawmakers – and we made sure it is,” Honeyford added.

Senate Bill 6201 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.


Senate’s sensible supplemental capital budget built on solid principles

The Senate’s capital-budget chair said the $87 million supplemental capital-budget proposal released today focuses squarely on supporting new classrooms, providing temporary mental-health housing and addressing an environmental-cleanup emergency, all within available revenue.

“This is a true supplemental budget, not a laundry list of new projects. The supplemental is meant to be a vehicle for minor technical corrections or to address changes in previously approved projects. I insisted that we stick to those principles and the result is a realistic, sustainable capital budget that doesn’t tap the state’s rainy-day fund,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford. 

Nearly 65 percent of the proposed budget is devoted to bolstering K-12 education with $38 million going toward expanding the K-3 class-size reduction pilot program and another $17 million for the school construction-assistance account.  

“Education funding is like a giant puzzle that the entire Legislature is working to solve. This is the brick-and-mortar piece that is critical to the whole picture,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. 

In response to the state’s mental health crisis, the proposed budget directs $20.8 million toward providing additional mental-health beds and temporary housing for those in treatment. It will also help to offset a decline in the Model Toxic Control Act account so that previously approved toxic-cleanup projects may move forward.  

“This is a sensible proposal that is exactly what the people of Washington expect of budget writers in Olympia — and something they deserve to see more often. This budget doesn’t write any checks we can’t cash while addressing the most dire needs of our state,” said Honeyford.  

A public hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.


Honeyford to lead Senate ceremony Wednesday honoring Civil Air Patrol

Sen. Jim Honeyford, a lieutenant colonel with both the Civil Air Patrol’s Washington Wing Legislative Squadron and Yakima Composite Squadron, sponsors a Senate resolution each year to honor the Civil Air Patrol’s service to communities and country. This year the recognition ceremony, set for Wednesday, Feb. 24 will feature something extra: a 60-foot-wide glider on display in the legislative parking lot.

“It is my honor to recognize the service of those in the Civil Air Patrol,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “Although I highlight this volunteer organization each year, many people are still unaware of its existence and importance. These are the people who use their own time to assist with search-and-rescue missions. They jump in to help with disaster-relief efforts. They are the unsung heroes who should be recognized.”

The Blanik L-23 Glider that will be on exhibit at the Capitol campus Wednesday is used by the Civil Air Patrol as a trainer for cadets. The glider has room for two occupants in addition to its 60-foot wingspan. 

Founded Dec. 1, 1941, just six days before the Pearl Harbor bombing that led the United States to enter World War II, the Civil Air Patrol remains as vital today as it was nearly 75 years ago. The CAP holds true to its original mission of service through sponsorship of educational programs, cadet programs for youth and assistance with natural disaster relief.

Honeyford noted that following the 2014 Oso mudslide, the CAP flew vital supplies to areas unreachable by heavier aircraft, and ground teams helped in the evacuation of cities and towns.


IN THE NEWS: Local men honored by state Filipino community

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Sunnyside’s Rey Pascua and Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) recently were honored for their ongoing support of Washington’s Filipino communities.

The Filipino Community of Seattle selected the two men for the Bayanihan Award given to those who promote community leadership, said Sheila Burrus, the Seattle organization’s executive director.

Honeyford and Pascua, were praised for their dedication and commitment to the values of the Filipino community in Washington state, Burrus explained.

Burrus commended Pascua, who is the president of the Lower Valley Filipino community organization, and Honeyford for their consistent advocatcy of the Filipino American community, “…especially their passion for diversity, work, political advocacy and Asian Pacific Islander historical preservation in central Washington.”

The presentation was made during the Seattle organization’s annual gala held last Saturday in Seattle.

The original article and photo can be viewed here.

IN THE NEWS: Civil Air Patrol honors

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Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) receives the Legislator of the Year Award this past Saturday at the National Civil Air Patrol Convention in Orlando, Fla. Honeyford was honored for his work to benefit search and rescue efforts in Washington state, for his help in obtaining a hangar at the McAllister Air Museum in Yakima for a Civil Air Patrol plane, and for his efforts in forming a legislative squadron of 60 lawmakers in Washington state.

The original article and photo can be viewed here.

Senate capital budget would boost schools, recreation, economic development

The Senate’s bipartisan capital-budget proposal for 2015-17 would build over 2,100 classrooms, fully fund 80 parks and trails, and devote $60 million to local-government infrastructure projects statewide.

The $3.9 billion plan was released today by Sen. Jim Honeyford, capital-budget chair; Sen. Karen Keiser, Democratic capital-budget leader; Sen. Bruce Dammeier, vice chair of education finance on the Senate budget committee; and Sen. Steve Conway. They led development of the budget, which will fund the acquisition, construction and maintenance of capital assets across Washington – such as schools and projects with recreational and economic-development value.

“This proposal is not only an investment in the state of Washington but also an investment in the people of Washington. Our plan provides complete funding for 80 parks and trails around the state. These destination sites will provide an economic boon to their communities while encouraging folks to get outdoors and explore a new corner of our state – a win-win,” said Honeyford, R-Yakima.

The proposal seeks to address the mental-health crisis in our state in part by including a $30 million grant that would expand the number of community behavioral health beds.

“This budget provides important investments in our citizens’ future not only by funding construction for K-3 class size reduction , but we also stepped up to fund our highly successful skills centers and vital projects at UW, WSU and WWU,” said Keiser, D-Kent. “We also provide substantial new investments for needed community mental health facilities.”

With $254 million more directed to public schools than the House proposal, the Senate plan seeks to support student-achievement efforts by building additional classrooms, the largest chunk being aimed at kindergarten through third grade.

“We all want to make sure our youngest students get the strongest possible start to their education.  Our operating budget makes an investment in ensuring we have quality teachers for these kindergarten through 3rd graders.  Now, this capital budget invests nearly $1 billion over the next six years to build over 2,100 classrooms for these students.  A quality teacher and a classroom for every 17 students will provide them a solid foundation for the rest of their future,” said Dammeier, R-Puyallup.

All public-works-board list projects are funded through the Senate proposal, which supports local infrastructure and provides family-wage construction jobs.

“This proposal is a good start and I am confident that we will negotiate a final product with the House that gets people working and drives our economy,” said Conway, D-South Tacoma. “The capital budget is a major creator of construction jobs, which are critical to strengthening our middle-class.”

The legislation will be a striking amendment to Engrossed House Bill 1115. A public hearing is scheduled for noon today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Joint legislative drought committee meets, Honeyford selected as chair

In response to the record low mountain snowpack and the governor’s drought declaration, the first meeting of the 2015 Joint Legislative Committee on Water Supply During Drought was held today. Sen. Jim Honeyford was chosen to chair the committee that has been tasked with making legislative recommendations in response to statewide water supply conditions. 

“While I’m pleased that I’ve served on this committee each time it has convened, I’m concerned about the challenges that face our water infrastructure and the hardships that decreased water availability could bring to farmers and industry,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside.

“Beyond working with the executive branch to coordinate with relevant agencies, we will be reviewing the impacts of the drought and making recommendations for improvements; the goal being to ensure that the people who depend on an ample water supply for their livelihood can access it,” said Honeyford.

Created in 2005 to address the impacts of low water supply in the state during drought conditions, the committee is activated when a drought has been declared or is likely to be declared. This is the third time a drought has triggered the formation of this committee.  

Membership is made up of eight lawmakers, four from the Senate and four from the House of Representatives. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 20.


Honeyford is first to receive new CWU alumni award

In a ceremony May 1, Sen. Jim Honeyford received the first-ever College of the Sciences Alumni of the Year award for Social Sciences from Central Washington University.

The award recognizes Honeyford’s ongoing passion and interest in CWU as well as his work as chair of the Senate capital budget to fund Science Phase II, a major construction project for the university.

“Senator Honeyford has a firsthand knowledge about the unique approach to science education that makes Central a leader in undergraduate ‘STEM’ education,” said Kirk Johnson, dean of the College of the Sciences. Continue reading