Puyallup: News

Zeiger, Stambaugh share 25th District priorities for legislative session

25th District State Reps. Hans Zeiger and Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, gather for a photo last week at the state Capitol.
25th District State Reps. Hans Zeiger and Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, gather for a photo last week at the state Capitol. Staff writer

For Reps. Melanie Stambaugh and Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, no two days while in legislative session in Olympia are the same.

Their schedules are packed with committee meetings, appointments with constituents, town halls, creating and researching bills and policies, and time spent voting on bills on the House floor.

Specifically for the 25th District, Stambaugh and Zeiger are working on legislation together and individually for Fife, South Hill, Summit, Waller, Midland, Parkland and Puyallup.

Both are sponsoring a request with Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, from the Capital Budget, which helps fund construction and repair of public buildings and for other long-term investments, to create a link in the Foothills Trail off of Pioneer by the old Van Lierop Bulb Farm.

“It’s really about figuring out how to get more people outside,” Stambaugh said. “If this is approved from the Capital Budget, it would mean a connection of 40 miles of trail from Tacoma to Orting.”

“It would be half a million dollars to create a key linkage on the Foothills Trail,” Zeiger added.

Individually, Stambaugh and Zeiger are working on bills to create better communities for their constituents and Washington state residents.

One of those bills for Stambaugh is currently co-sponsoring is one that aims at combating the statewide teacher shortage.

“Our school districts have severe needs for teachers,” Stambaugh said. “My bill would increase the number of hours allowed for retired teachers to be in the classroom, and provide alternative routes to teacher certification for those already working in other industries.”

In addition to sponsoring the Capital Budget request, Zeiger recently introduced his bill, House Bill 2897, that would help property owners and law enforcement officers keep squatters off private property, a growing issue in the Summit and Waller communities in the 25th District. The bill would make a squatter guilty of criminal trespassing if they reside at the property and are not listed as a tenant or a guest in an affidavit and refuses to leave the property.

“It can be very difficult to get squatters to leave,” he said. “Property owners currently have to pay for high legal fees to get squatters removed.”

While Zeiger says this year won’t have as many earth-shattering projects as last, he is still working bi-partisianly to get things accomplished for the session.

Zeiger and Stambaugh agree that while a day in a life of a state representative can be busy, hectic and often stressful, both say that there is nothing else they would rather be doing than serving their constituents in the 25th District.

“I so appreciate the opportunity,” Stambaugh added. “It is truly an amazing opportunity to have at this time in my life.”

Heather DeRosa: 253-256-7043, @herald_hderosa