Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will join the Highline Artists Guild and the Highline Nurses Club to install “Grate Mates” throughout the Highline area in honor of Earth Day.

Smith and the community groups will begin installing Grate Mates at 3:30 on Friday, April 21 at the following sites: the Burien Value Village, Burien Honda, Burien QFC, Lamonts, and Highline Hospital.

“The Grate Mates project is a great community effort to take small steps that really go a long way towards protecting the environment,” Smith said. “I’m pleased to be organizing a group of citizen activists to do our part on Earth Day.”

Grate Mates are special cloth filters that are installed in parking lot storm drains by volunteers. Grate Mate filters catch oil and other polluted runoff before it gets into local streams. Pollution from grease, oil, and litter of a road or parking lot is called nonpoint-source pollution and is largely unregulated. Scientists estimate nonpoint-source pollution accounts for 80 percent of the degradation of U.S. waters. Grate Mates trap up to three-quarters of this pollution.

“It’s an especially important time in the Pacific Northwest to aggressively fight watershed pollution,” explained Smith. “With the listing of the Puget Sound chinook salmon under the Endangered Species Act, we should all do what we can to protect water quality and critical salmon habitat.”

Although Earth Day has provided a special incentive to install Grate Mates in parking lots around the state, Project CPR, the sponsor of Grate Mates, emphasize that the project should be ongoing. In fact, Grate Mates was designed to be a fundraising opportunity for youth groups. Interested parties should call (206) 285-3888.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith is aggressively working to obtain funding and pass legislation to address the growing methamphetamine lab problem in the South Puget Sound region.

“Between 1999 and 1998, the number of meth labs and dumpsites reported in Washington state more than doubled,” Smith said. “It is absolutely critical that we take action to combat this serious problem.”

According to the Western State Information Network, Pierce County has one of the worst meth problems in the West Coast. “Methamphetamine labs cause many problems, not the least of which is that they create illegal drugs that destroy people’s lives,” Smith explained. “Furthermore, they create an enormous public health risk and cleanup costs are estimated to be close to $25,000 per site.”

As former Chair of the State Senate Law and Justice Committee and a city prosecutor, Smith recognizes there are important actions needed to fight the meth problem by the federal government.

On March 29, the House approved a $15 million earmark in the COPS program to specifically policing initiatives to combat methamphetamine production and trafficking. Late last month, Attorney General Janet Reno approved an additional $10 million dollars to be appropriated to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to be used to fight the growing Methamphetamine problem throughout the nation. This appropriation is waiting to approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before it is finalized. 

However, Smith argues that “more action is needed.” One of his priorities is to obtain a $15 million grant for the Methamphetamine Initiative Project. The project is sponsored by the Coalition to Abate and Defeat Methamphetamine, which includes members of local law enforcement, county and city prosecutors, the Washington State Departments of Health and Ecology, and representatives from public health and safety organizations. The project will work to systematically address all aspects of meth use and production.

Smith recently submitted an Appropriations request for the Methamphetamine Initiative. “I will be working closely with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to try to get this funding,” he said.

Smith has also cosponsored two bills to assist law enforcement agencies in their fight against meth labs.

The Methamphetamine Response and Training Act creates a pilot program that puts federal personnel and resources in the field for a fixed amount of time to assist local police in shutting down meth labs. It charges the federal teams with the dual goals of directly assisting local law enforcement and of training state and local police, thereby creating more long-term solutions to the problem.

The Methamphetamine Response and Training Act sets up a limited pilot program that puts federal personnel and resources in the field for a fixed amount of time to assist local police in shutting down meth labs. The Methamphetamine Incident Response and Training Teams (MIRTT) would be responsible for the following: 

• Provide training to state and local law enforcement personnel in investigating, responding to, and prosecuting methamphetamine-related crimes.

• Provide certification and recertification standards in responding to sites used in the production of methamphetamine if they have not already been established by state or local law enforcement personnel.

• Teams will be put in the field for a minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years to assist local police in shutting down meth labs.

Smith is also a cosponsor of the Working and Reacting (WAR) Against Meth Act, which would:

• Raise penalties for amphetamine manufacture, distribution, important, and export to mirror those of methamphetamine;

• Increase the penalty for endangering human life and creates penalties for endangering the environment during methamphetamine/amphetamine manufacturing;

• Establishes the National Center for Methamphetamine Clandestine Laboratory Information to college, analyze, and distribute lab seizure information.

“Fighting meth labs is a critical issue for the South Puget Sound region,” Smith noted. “I am fully committed to ensuring that the federal government is an effective partner with our local law enforcement agencies in combating this problem.”

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith invites constituents to join him at a town hall meeting to discuss critical issues such as the budget, education, health care, and transportation.

The dates and locations are:

Spanaway/Parkland
April 22
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Pacific Lutheran University in the University Center’s Regency Room
Garfield Street and Park Avenue, Parkland

Normandy Park
April 22
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Normandy Park Congregational Church
19247 1st South, Normandy Park

Edgewood
May 13
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Edgemont Junior High School
10909 24th St East, Edgewood

Northeast Tacoma
May 13
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Kobetich Library
212 Browns Point Blvd. NE, Tacoma

“I am troubled by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s ruling on the Microsoft case and by its potential chilling effect on the “new economy” and the technology industry at large. I plan to follow the remedies stage of this process very closely. 

In the time since the trial began, the technology industry has undergone great change and unprecedented growth. More than ever, the industry is vibrant and competitive: viable market alternatives have emerged, record levels of venture capital continue to flow into new technology start-ups and new innovations crop up almost daily. 

Microsoft has made significant contributions to our nation’s economy, to technological innovation and – perhaps most importantly – to the quality of life for American consumers. It is my hope and expectation that Microsoft will continue to be a leader and an innovator in tomorrow’s marketplace.”
 

Saying that it should be a national priority, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith introduced legislation to improve benefits for veterans, military retirees and active personnel.

“The men and women who have served our country deserve fair and just compensation for all that they have sacrificed for America,” Smith said. “I am very proud to introduce legislation that will help move Congress towards better treatment of our military personnel, veterans, and retirees.”

The Enhancement of Military Benefits Act (EMBA) would do four important things:

  • Provide a 4.8% pay increase for all military personnel; 
  • Increase the Survivor Benefit Plan to allow surviving spouses of retirees 55% of spouse pay instead of just the current 35%; 
  • Allow military retirees to opt into the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; 
  • Expand Medicare subvention from a pilot program to a universal program so that all veterans and retirees can take advantage of Medicare subvention 

“This bill will provide critical health care benefits for our retirees and veterans, a much-needed pay raise to the men and women currently serving in the Armed Forces, and additional benefits to surviving spouses,” explained Smith. 

Smith argues that improved treatment of personnel, retirees and veterans is not only the right thing to do, but is critical to our national security. “If we want to continue leading the world in military power, we have to have the best Armed Services,” he said. “Young people won’t consider the military an attractive career choice, especially in this strong economy, if they see servicemen and their families on food stamps or they see promises we made to our veterans and retirees broken. This needs to be one of Congress’s top priorities.”