News from the Skagit County Democrats
Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for March 27, 2023
1. UPDATED – Legislative Committee Report for March 27
With the State Legislature in session our Legislative Committee is hard at work going through as many bills as possible to make sure we keep you well informed. To those ends we will be doing something different this week, reviewing the budget process.
“Washington is the only state in the nation with a requirement to balance its budget over four years, and that strong fiscal governance has made our state more resilient as we face today’s economic uncertainty and stubborn inflationary pressure,” said Senator Christine Rolfes, chair of the Ways and Means Committee.
Washington State funds government expenses through the budget process. The state government operates on a fiscal biennium that begins on July 1 of each odd-numbered year. A two-year biennial operating budget is adopted every odd-numbered year. The House and the Senate will each produce three budgets: operating, capital and transportation. These documents begin as the Governor’s request budgets. The budgets go through the committee process and will be passed by each house of origin, then negotiations between the House and Senate will result in the final budgets.
HB 1140 (SB5187) Operating Budget
Appropriations are made in the biennial and supplemental budgets for the operation of state government and its various agencies and institutions, including higher education, as well as allocations for the funding of K-12 public schools. Near General Fund-Outlook appropriations for the 2023-25 biennium are $70.4 billion. (Near General Fund-Outlook is General Fund-State, the Education Legacy Trust Account, the Opportunity Pathways Account, and the Workforce Education Investment Account). Total budgeted funds are $129.7 billion (includes state, federal, and other funds).
HB1147 (SB5200) Capital Budget
The Legislature authorizes expenditures for capital needs in the State Omnibus Capital Appropriations Act (Capital Budget) for a two-year period, and it authorizes bond sales through passage of a bond bill associated with the Capital Budget to fund a portion of these expenditures. The Capital Budget includes appropriations for the acquisition, construction, and repair of capital. HB 1147 assets such as state office buildings, prisons, juvenile rehabilitation centers, residential habilitation centers, mental health facilities, military readiness centers, and higher education facilities. The Capital Budget also funds a variety of environmental and natural resource projects, parks and recreational facilities, public kindergarten through grade 12 school construction, and grant and loan programs that support housing, public infrastructure, community service facilities, and art and historical projects.
HB 1125 (SB5162) Transportation Budget
Appropriations totaling $12.2 billion are made for state transportation agencies and programs for the 2023-25 fiscal biennium from a number of transportation accounts. Capital-related appropriations total $5.9 billion, and operating-related appropriations total $6.3 billion. Appropriations for the fiscal biennium include: $8.8 billion for the Washington State Department of Transportation; $1.8 billion for debt service; $708 million for the Washington State Patrol; and $447 million for the Department of Licensing.
For a deeper dive into the budgeting process: https://fiscal.wa.gov/
2. URGENT – Truck Volunteers Needed to Help with the Spring Garage Sale
We need trucks to transport from storage to the Fairgrounds and then take what doesn't sell back to storage:
- Wednesday, Apr 5 – from around 9:00am to 2:00pm (ballpark time)
- Friday – Apr 7 – from about 3:00pm -5:00pm (also ballpark time)
- Saturday, Apr 8 – from 4:00pm until our garage sale space is empty
Please call Sheila (360-899-4220 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to volunteer or with questions.
3. Spring Garage Sale, Friday and Saturday, Apr 7 and 8, 9:00am – 4:00pm, Skagit County Fairgrounds, 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon
Thanks to all of you who have donated for our space at the garage sale. We are filling our storage areas with fun, interesting, and in some cases unidentifiable, items. Please keep them coming! The deadline for donations is Tuesday, Apr 4.
We cannot take everything, so here are some guidelines:
- Clothing accessories (i.e., hats, gloves) are fine but no clothing (dresses, suits, coats, etc)
- We don't have space for large pieces of furniture.
- Please make sure any mechanical or electronic donation works
We are accepting donations at our office – location above. Our hours are Mon-Thu, 12:00-4:00. Please call 360-336-1555 with questions or to arrange an off-hour time to drop off donations.
4. The 39th Legislative District Democrats Executive Board meets Tuesday, Mar 28, 7:00pm – 08:30pm, via Zoom
Click Here for the Zoom link.
5. The Fidalgo Democrats' most recent offering on the Anacortes Public Safety Levy is available
Click Here to view the session. Click Here for information on the Levy Lid Lift Proposition.
6. Indivisible Skagit is recruiting possible School Board candidates
"It is that time of year to be looking for candidates to run for your local School Board. The following is from our friends at Indivisible. The Nonpartisan Guide to Running For School Board – A Pro-Public School Approach was conceived, edited, rewritten, reorganized and made beautiful by a small team of "Totally Grassroots Patriotic Pro Public School Pals". This guide is meant to appeal to anyone who believes in and cares about public school (as opposed to those trying to take over school boards who want public funds to go to private or religious schools, ban books, or stop educators from teaching honest history). Please share freely with anyone who might be thinking of serving, or anyone wanting to help someone run for school board. If that person is running in a bluer area, and is more progressive, there are also some resources to serve that type of candidate in a "Slightly Spicy Addendum for our Progressive Friends". Please take a look at both of these and share where appropriate."
7. Skagit County Democrats is again requesting anyone visiting our Headquarters to "mask up"
8. NEW – Links of the Week
The Links of the Week provide in-depth pieces and resources the Editor has found to be relevant, insightful, and thorough on important issues of the day.
- This ancient problem is going viral at 21st century speed
- Your “Recycled” Grocery Bag Might Not Be
- Jim Jordan Issues Information Requests to Universities Researching Disinformation
- The Republican Plan to Make Voting Irrelevant
- U.N. puts focus on 'deep trouble' in water worldwide
- Companies Are Laying Off Middle Managers, That's a Huge Mistake
1. UPDATED – The monthly Planned Parenthood sign-waving rally is Saturday, Apr 1, 11:00am – 12:00pm on the sidewalk in front of the Mount Vernon Health Center, 1805 East Division Street
This is to counter the "40 Days of Life" campaign of the choice opponents. Rain or shine! Bring your energy, your signs, your friends and your family! We're looking for a big show of support for Planned Parenthood!
2. NEW – SCAM ALERT! – Please be aware that there is a current scam going targeting Spanish speaking folks in our community
"Thank you to our WIC program for letting us know and thank you to the MVSP for responding to our inquiry quickly. Please be aware and let Spanish-speaking clients, friends and family to NEVER give personally-identifying information, bank info, bitcoins, gift cards or other information or money to someone who calls and threatens them. Seniors and people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to these scams."
From MVPD Crime Prevention Sergeant Ben Green: We have been seeing an uptick in Phone call scams targeting individuals by claiming they are from US Border Patrol or a Law Enforcement agency demanding money be paid in Bitcoin or gift cards to get rid of a warrant for their arrest. [Here are] a couple of articles about those and some tips for folks: "Scammers pretend to be U.S. Customs and Border Protection" and "CBP Warns Against Phone Scams".
Identity Theft Prevention Resource in Spanish: The MVPD has some informational booklets in Spanish that help individuals with preventing and responding to attempted identity theft. To get booklets to distribute, contact Ben Green, Crime Prevention Sergeant for the Mount Vernon Police Department: 360-336-6271. If you hear about these scams, please report to your city's police department! Local law enforcement want our Spanish-speaking neighbors to be safe in our communities.
3. NEW – Free Cell Phone and Data Plan for limited income, Monday, Mar 27, 11:00am – 2:00pm, Community Action of Skagit County, 330 Pacific Place, Mount Vernon
"Cricket Wireless will be tabling in our lobby in Mount Vernon on Monday (3/27) from 11:00am-2:00pm to assist clients with limited income sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program to potentially receive a free phone or lower the cost of cellphone services. You can leave with a working phone same day!"
4. NEW – 2023 Tulip Festival Traffic Advisory
April 1st officially kicks off Skagit County’s 2023 Tulip Festival. This is an exciting and busy time for our community, with thousands of visitors visiting local tulip fields throughout the month of April. Click Here for more information.
5. No More Bombs continues to protest on the viaduct over I-5 the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month
Hours continue to be 3:00pm – 4:00pm at the overpass above the Skagit Valley Food Co-op. We’ll have our “NO NUKES” banner plus American, Ukrainian, and Peace flags. Join us! Ample parking is available on Fulton Street near the old YMCA. If the weather is inclement, we cancel. Write to email@example.com if in doubt about weather.
6. The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington is hosting their Annual Candidate Training for Women and Non-Binary Individuals
"National, state, and local campaign experts will help current, and future candidates, campaign managers, and community leaders learn the ins and outs of running for office. This training is perfect for anyone planning or thinking about running for office as well as for those who prefer to be the heroes behind the scenes as campaign staff or volunteers! Please share with your members and network to help increase the number of pro-choice candidates in public office by supporting our mutually crucial political work."
Links to training registration pages are below! We hope to see some great candidates there!
- Everett Campaign Training – Saturday, April 1, 2023 – 9 am – 5 pm
- Online Campaign Training – Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 9 am – 5 pm
7. The Skagit County AARP TaxAide Program provides FREE tax preparation
"The Skagit AARP TaxAide program offers free tax return preparation, and tax consultation for most low- and middle-income tax situations. [Including for seniors] It is an all-volunteer community operation, sponsored by the AARP Foundation with Spanish language support from Goodwill. Your tax return is prepared by IRS certified tax preparers (called counselors), who must recertify annually. If you are interested in accessing our free tax preparation service, familiarize yourself with our process and call one of the sites for an appointment. Due to the pandemic, access to Skagit AARP TaxAide services will be limited so be sure to make your appointment early! Once we run out of appointments, you will have to find another way to get your tax return done." Click Here for more information.
8. COVID-19 Information
Click Here for the most current report and resources.
1. Anacortes Sunday Demonstrations
Democrats are again demonstrating in Anacortes each Sunday, 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the corner of 12th Street and Commercial Avenue. "We carry signs for Dem candidates, get out and vote signs, women's right-to-chose in healthcare and so on and so on. We need more people to show up."
2. Coffee & Cards, Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm, Skagit County Democrats Headquarters, 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon
Coffee and Cards meets on Wednesdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm. This is the group that was previously led by Carol Sullivan and is now lead quite capably by Judy Farrar. The group is a way for us to express ourselves about issues of importance to us all.
We will write messages of encouragement and support to people who are making positive contributions as well as messages of concern and opposition to people who are negatively impacting our world. This includes legislators on the local, state, and federal level as well as CEOs of corporations and other people having a significant impact in our world. We will share ideas for people to write to and issues to address.
Postcards and stamps will be provided, but we ask that people bring money to cover the cost of the postcard stamps which are currently $.44. Coffee will be provided or bring your own. As Carol always reminded us, “We are stronger together.” Our office is located at 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon, 360-336-1555."