Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee promised to bring “disruptive change” to Olympia in a wide-ranging inaugural address before a joint session of the Legislature. The speech touched on the state’s budget shortfall, the need to provide more money for education as well as gun control and other issues.
The address for the most part went over well-trodden ground from his gubernatorial campaign, but Inslee said he wants to start on a bi-partisan transportation package this session, sign the “Reproductive Parity Act” into law and dig into gun control.
“I heard a clear and powerful message on Election Day. The people of Washington state are tired of a state government that doesn’t change with the times,” Inslee said. “Today we begin a multi-year effort to bring disruptive change to Olympia, starting with the very core of how we do business.”
The Reproductive Parity Act mentioned by Inslee would require health-insurance plans covering maternity care to also pay for abortions. A bill has already been introduced in the state Senate, sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens and Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island.
“Washington women need the freedom and privacy to make the health care decisions that are best for themselves and their families. That’s why I look forward to the Legislature sending the Reproductive Parity Act to my desk, which I will sign.
Let’s get this done.”
Regarding guns and violence, Inslee referenced the recent shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. “Any failure to address the issue of violence in our communities and our schools will be intolerable,” he said. “In the coming weeks, I will work with the Legislature to address this crisis responsibly … Common sense tells us that this solution will involve mental health and keeping guns out of the wrong hands.”
On transportation, the governor said, “This session I expect to work with stakeholders that have already committed to a bipartisan plan to build an infrastructure for the next generation … I want us to turn our innovative spirit towards crafting a transportation package that includes roads, trains, light rail, buses, bike routes and other modes of transportation.”
Most of Inslee’s address dealt with familiar themes, reinvigorating the state’s lagging economy, creating jobs, health care reform, and climate change. There were few specifics on what he plans to do in those areas.