Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 60-day legislative session is in full swing. These short sessions (as compared to the 105-day budget writing sessions in odd-numbered years) have a breakneck speed. Everyone is trying to get as much done in the time allotted.
It's important that you participate in YOUR state government as much as you are able. You can watch committee hearings, agency meetings and floor debates at TVW, visit my website for my news releases and information on legislation I'm sponsoring, and even find committee membership and contact information at the legislative website. I'd also encourage you to bookmark our new page called The Ledger, which has updated information about the Legislature and links to statewide stories.
My bill to allow teachers to “job share” received a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee this week. House Bill 2286 directs the Office of the Superintendent of Instruction (OSPI) to create a grant program to help school districts fund positions where there is an agreement to job share between two teachers. This practice is especially important for new families or single parents who oftentimes agree to watch each other's children while the other is at work. It is a family-friendly way to allow good teachers to stay in their careers. You can view my testimony in the committee here.
Another bill I'm sponsoring this year (similar to one I had last year) is House Bill 2284. This bill will give child care providers more options when meeting the state's new education goals for child care workers. With the lack of affordable, quality child care in our state and region, the state needs to do everything it can to ensure parents and providers have options. We're hearing that good early learning teachers with decades of experience are shying away from “going back to college” for more classroom credits to do a job they've excelled at and have been doing for years. You can view my presentation of the bill as well as the testimony of local day care providers here.
A big thank you to Kim Wold whose family has owned and operated a day care in Spokane Valley for about 50 years! It is always impressive when folks travel from the 4th legislative district to Olympia to testify on legislation. Your involvement and participation in the legislative process is what makes our form of government work. Thank you!
I had another bill receive a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee. House Bill 2285 would officially prioritize road preservation and maintenance in state transportation funding. We can't continue to neglect the preservation and maintenance of what we've already built. Each year the backlog of these projects grows, making it that much more difficult to catch up. My bill does not increase taxes or fees, or move money around. If it's a priority, we should fund it with existing transportation dollars.
Many of you have contacted my office concerned about the continual eroding of your right to protect yourselves and your loved ones. I share your concerns and will continue to fight for all of our liberties and rights. You can click here for a list of gun bills that were heard in committee last week, and click here for members of the committee and their contact information in case you wish to express your thoughts and opinions on the matter.
It was great to see so many citizens last week at the Second Amendment rally at the state Capitol steps!
After adopting House Resolution 4621 last session, a House work group designed the initial pilot program allowing remote testimony for three committees: College and Workforce Development; Housing, Community Development and Veterans; and Local Government.
Citizens interested in testifying on legislation before these committees are required to register for remote testimony using the Legislature's web-based sign-in system and are strongly encouraged to register at least 24 hours in advance. The remote testimony will take place via special audio-video connections at the following colleges and universities:
- Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham
- Central Washington University in Ellensburg
- Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities
- Spokane Community College in Spokane
I encourage you to participate if you are able and interested. We need to make sure this is not a temporary pilot project. My hope is that it expands to all House committees in the near future. Hearing from ALL corners of the state, not just the I-5 corridor in western Washington, is critical to having our issues, priorities and concerns addressed.
Thank you for reading my legislative update. If you have questions or concerns about a state issue, please contact my Olympia office. We're here to help!