Education

Assessment reform approved by House of Representatives

May 27, 2015 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Assessment reform approved by House of Representatives

OLYMPIA – A bipartisan bill to reduce the number of high-stakes standardized tests required for high school students was approved by the House of Representatives today by a vote of 87-7. HB 2214 sponsored by Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater), vice-chair of the House Education Committee, enhances local control of schools by cutting the number of required tests by more than half. The bill also places additional emphasis on students completing rigorous courses in their senior year to get them ready … Continue reading

Investing in education means investing in educators and other news from Olympia

May 27, 2015 - Rep. June Robinson

Investing in education means investing in educators and other news from Olympia

Special Session We are nearing the end of the first special session and, if a budget deal is not reached by Thursday, May 28, we will go into a second 30 day special session. The House and the Senate have been hard at work negotiating a new budget, but significant obstacles remain in the way. One of the most important differences is how we fund education. In the House, we are working hard to increase teacher pay and fully fund … Continue reading

Making the special session special

May 13, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Making the special session special

Halfway through the special session, Senate budget leads are still refusing to enter into serious negotiations with the House to produce a compromise budget.  This is frustrating, but I was privileged to put politics aside for a day and host a wonderful group of students and parents from Auburn’s Camelot Elementary School.  Being able to meet the leaders of tomorrow and their families is a genuine honor.  Our future is truly in good hands.

School Levy and Compensation Reform

May 11, 2015 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Two recent articles in the Seattle Times point out one of the remaining key elements of resolving the McCleary “problem”, and it’s a BIG element. Most estimates have the size of the problem at about $3,000,000,000 to $3,500,000,000 ($3 – $3.5 billion) a biennium. Wildly varying teacher salaries part of state budget debate This article describes the overall problem and was the cover story in the Sunday paper. It’s a good summary. The chart to the left is from this story. State in … Continue reading

School District Compensation and Levy Reform

May 6, 2015 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Last week the Appropriations committee held a hearing on the second half of the McCleary decision; the requirement that the state fund adequate compensation, not local taxpayers. The hearing took over 3 hours and is super-interesting. You can watch it on TVW here. This sounds terrifyingly dull, but it wasn’t. Anytime you talk about property taxes and use numbers like three and a half billion dollars you get people’s attention. We had a briefing on three Senate bills and a … Continue reading

House and Senate Budget Differences on K12

April 20, 2015 - Rep. Ross Hunter

I’ll be posting a handful of high-level summaries of budget differences with the Senate over the next few days. As usual, K12 is my first post in this sequence. House Democrats are investing $3.2 billion more in K-12 education with this budget over the amount we spent in the last biennium, a 21% increase. People have asked me what the difference is between the House and Senate budgets for K-12 spending. This chart has the highlights. There are lots of other places … Continue reading

Rep. Orwall’s e-Newsletter for April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Orwall’s e-Newsletter for April 17, 2015

Dear Neighbors, We are in the 14th week of session and have passed the deadline for policy bills to pass out of the opposite house.  I’m pleased that my bills that were heard in the Senate have been passed. In addition to negotiations on the Operating budget and Capital budget, work is being done on Transportation.  We have passed our House Transportation Revenue Package that would make important investments in our community including work on SR 167/SR 405 and SR … Continue reading

House and Senate Budget Differences on K12

April 17, 2015 - Rep. Ross Hunter

House and Senate Budget Differences on K12

I’ll be posting a handful of high-level summaries of budget differences with the Senate over the next few days. As usual, K12 is my first post in this sequence. House Democrats are investing $3.2 billion more in K-12 education with this budget over the amount we spent in the last biennium, a 21% increase. People have asked me what the difference is between the House and Senate budgets for K-12 spending. This chart has the highlights. There are lots of other places … Continue reading

Rep. Sells e-Newsletter: Responsible budget vs. budget tricks

April 8, 2015 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Sells e-Newsletter: Responsible budget vs. budget tricks

Responsible budget vs. budget tricks House Democrats have put forward a responsible budget that makes important investments in education, mental health, and economic development. Our budget fully funds basic education for Washington’s 1 million children  Makes targeted investment in Early Learning and Higher Education Extends small business tax credits And repairs our broken mental health system Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate have released a budget that is based on one-time transfers and budget tricks. As the Seattle Times put it, … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Chris Reykdal on No Child Left Behind compromise

April 8, 2015 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Statement from Rep. Chris Reykdal on No Child Left Behind compromise

Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater), vice chair of the House Education committee, issued the following statement on the compromise deal reached in the U.S. Senate on the No Child Left Behind fix. “Today is a great day for Washington’s one million school kids. After years of waivers and temporary fixes to the many problems created by No Child Left Behind, Congress appears to be on the right track in adopting commonsense solutions that move our nation, and Washington state, forward on … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Santos on NCLB rewrite

April 7, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Statement from Rep. Santos on NCLB rewrite

The following is a statement from Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle), chair of the House Education committee, on the tentative agreement reached between U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander on the No Child Left Behind rewrite: “I welcome the news today about a compromise agreement in the United States Senate to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. “While I haven’t had time to review the bill in great detail, I’m particularly pleased to hear that this compromise will … Continue reading

Rep. Ortiz-Self’s e-Newsletter for April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015 - Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self

Rep. Ortiz-Self’s e-Newsletter for April 6, 2015

Dear neighbors, The budget we passed out of the House last week aligns with our shared values and makes real investments in the future of our economy and the well-being of our children, families, and communities. With this budget, we are supporting an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Education The first thing on everyone’s mind this year has been funding education. One of the best tools we have to give all Washingtonians the opportunity to … Continue reading

Every budget is about people

April 4, 2015 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Every budget is about people

Dear friends and neighbors, The House and Senate have now released their operating budget proposals for the 2015-17 biennium. As we move into the budget negotiations between the chambers, I want to share some of the highlights of a House budget that honors our promises to the people who are counting on us: the developmentally disabled and their caregivers, foster children, young students, single parents, seniors, veterans, and middle-class families. They are counting on us to approve a budget that … Continue reading

Great school, great students

April 3, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Great school, great students

In a wonderful coincidence, less than 24 hours after my fellow House Democrats and I approved a state operating budget that fully funds basic education in our K-12 schools, I was privileged to meet here at the Capitol with three classes from Federal Way’s Brigadoon Elementary School — “The Home of Spunky McPaws!”  It was obvious from the caliber of questions the students asked that their parents, their teachers and the whole staff at Brigadoon are doing a lot of … Continue reading

Legislative update: Fully funding our public schools

April 3, 2015 - Rep. Christine Kilduff

Legislative update: Fully funding our public schools

Every child deserves a chance. That’s what I believe, and that’s what our state constitution says. It’s the paramount duty of the state to provide every child with a basic education. Yet years of budget cuts have our public schools and universities struggling. This year, we have a chance to change that. House Democrats voted on a budget plan that would boost spending in public schools by 21 percent. Not only is this our constitutional duty, according to the state … Continue reading

Legislative Update: The House Democrats budget, fully funding education, fixing the Safety Net

April 3, 2015 - Rep. Strom Peterson

Legislative Update: The House Democrats budget, fully funding education, fixing the Safety Net

The Washington State Legislature began its 12th week of the 2015 Session on Monday, which means the April 26th end date is approaching fast. Not sure how the legislative session is structured? In odd numbered years, session begins in January and lasts 105 days. Currently, my bills that passed out of the House of Representatives are being considered by the Senate. If they pass through the Senate, they then will go to the Governor’s office to be signed into law, … Continue reading

Update from Rep. Cindy Ryu on the budget, education and safety net

March 30, 2015 - Rep. Cindy Ryu

Dear Friends, I hope that you are all well. Thank you to all who contacted my office since the beginning of session, and to everyone who made the effort to come all the way to Olympia. It was such a pleasure to see you! I apologize to the many of you who were unable to meet with me in person due to my heavy schedule. I do hope that should you travel down next year, we have a chance to talk, … Continue reading

House budget fully funds basic education

March 27, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

House budget fully funds basic education

OLYMPIA – House Democrats unveiled their 2015-17 operating budget plan on Friday – a budget that will add $3.2 billion in additional K-12 investments over the next two years compared to the 2013-15 budget. The HDC proposal is the first budget proposal on the table that puts the state in full compliance with the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, which mandates the state adequately fund basic education by 2018. “After seven years of cuts totaling more than $12 billion, we have … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s e-Newsletter for March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s e-Newsletter for March 25, 2015

Pick-up the phone on Wednesday, April 1 @ 6 PM   WEA Forum Were you at the Washington Education Association forum last Friday? It was great to be there and hear from teachers and students firsthand on the issues that concern them. We’re rolling out the House budget this Friday, so I expect many of the details that address the questions Sen. Brian Hatfield and I got will be laid out there. If you were at the forum, I thank … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells’ e-Newsletter for March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells’ e-Newsletter for March 25, 2015

We had a great turn out at the town hall, thank you to everyone who gave up part of their Saturday morning to come out and address some of the pressing issues facing our area. If you missed it, take a look at my legislative video update where I discuss education funding, WSU Everett, and accountability for aerospace tax breaks. —————————————————  Investments in our education system are rightly a main concern for constituents, so I want to provide some additional … Continue reading

What do our tax dollars pay for?

March 25, 2015 - Rep. Eileen Cody

What do our tax dollars pay for?

This week House Democrats are working together to propose a budget for the 2015-17 biennium. You’ve heard us say before that we’ll need new revenue this year if we want to continue to fund the services and programs our communities rely on. Extremists like Tim Eyman would have you believe that our state government is overspending, that there is no budget problem and we can fund our schools and everything else by just making cuts to excessive government spending. This … Continue reading

Letters from elementary school students: Stephanie on fast food

March 24, 2015 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Letters from elementary school students: Stephanie on fast food

Dear Representative Dunshee, Have you ever wondered what is hidden in fast food products such as McDonalds? Well, most people say that they put genetically modified food. So in my opinion, you should make a law in Mill Creek that fast food restaurants have to label their products. Like for example, when I was about seven years old, I was starving so my family and I went through the drive-through at McDonalds I enjoyed my little meal and after a … Continue reading

Rep. Ortiz-Self’s e-Newsletter for March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015 - Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self

Rep. Ortiz-Self’s e-Newsletter for March 23, 2015

Dear neighbors, Thank you to all who attended our telephone town hall and our in-district town hall. We had a successful turn out with great questions and comments at both events. I look forward to hearing more from you, please know my office door is always open! ——————————————— Closing the Opportunity Gap We will be rolling out our budget soon and I am very pleased that we are not only meeting our legal obligations with McCleary, but also funding policy … Continue reading

Letters from elementary school students: Sydney on drunk driving

March 23, 2015 - Rep. Hans Dunshe

Letters from elementary school students: Sydney on drunk driving

Dear Representative Dunchee, One day I was at my friend’s house, and her babysitter, Hannah told me a very sad story.  One day, her mom was walking to a middle school dance with her best friend.  While they were walking, a drunk driver came in and hit her friend.  She had to watch her get flung into the air and die before her eyes.  I think that it is horrible that innocent lives are lost every day. One reason I … Continue reading

Legislative Update: Education funding, tax breaks & accountability, working families

March 20, 2015 - Rep. Mike Sells

Legislative Update: Education funding, tax breaks & accountability, working families

Rep. Mike Sells (D-Everett) talks about education funding, early learning, and higher education funding, especially WSU Everett. When it comes to tax breaks, Sells says they need accountability to ensure they are creating and keeping jobs in the state. Three bills that support working families are now in the Senate: minimum wage, paid sick and safe leave, and equal pay.

Letters from elementary school students: Young on food safety

March 20, 2015 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Letters from elementary school students: Young on food safety

Dear Representative Dunshee, In my opinion, I think that the manufacturers should only sell good quality foods.  I read an article about someone that felt facial tightness because that person ate too much processed foods.  This made me think that the hardships people have to go through because of bad food quality is unfair.  The author of “Consequences of Poor Quality in Food” quoted, “…a consistent pattern of eating low-quality foods-foods that are nutritionally imbalanced can negatively affect your health.” … Continue reading

Letters from elementary school students: Cadence on tailored learning

March 19, 2015 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Letters from elementary school students: Cadence on tailored learning

Dear Representative Dunshee, Have you ever had the feeling when you were young that you’re learning something twice, once at home and once at school? Well I have, one time I was learning single digit multiplication. I first learned it at home , three months later I had to learn it again, at school. I have a solution to that: it is tailored learning also known as individualized instruction. Tailored learning is where each lesson is “tailored”  to each student’s … Continue reading

Legislative Update from Rep. Tana Senn: Equal Pay and Education Funding

March 18, 2015 - Rep. Tana Senn

Legislative Update from Rep. Tana Senn: Equal Pay and Education Funding

We’ve had another exciting week, with bills passing and our town hall meeting with constituents. Watch my legislative update below. Town Hall   Last Saturday, the 41st legislative district held its 2015 Town Hall meeting at Somerset Elementary, which was attended by well-over 300 of our constituents. It was a wonderful chance to answer questions and talk about some of the solutions I am working on down in Olympia. Thank you to all of those who made their voices heard. … Continue reading

“Sherwood Forest Archers…Arrows to the Future”

March 10, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

“Sherwood Forest Archers…Arrows to the Future”

No matter how intense a given day can get here in the Legislature, especially as cut-off approaches and bills are falling by the wayside, a visit from young people is a wonderful reminder of just what we’re supposed to be doing as lawmakers.  Our job is to make the future a better place for everyone who will live there, and more than anyone, that means our children and our grandchildren.  Today I had the privilege of meeting students and teachers … Continue reading

Dual credit opportunity expansion wins House support

March 10, 2015 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Dual credit opportunity expansion wins House support

OLYMPIA – Students would have more opportunities to receive college credit while attending high school under a proposal approved by the House of Representatives today. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) passed the House 53-45. “Providing more access and opportunity to higher education is one of the best investments we can make for our students,” said Reykdal. “Right now, too many students aren’t given a fair chance at those opportunities, but it doesn’t have to be this way. … Continue reading

House gives every child the opportunity to succeed

March 9, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

House gives every child the opportunity to succeed

OLYMPIA – Today, in a 67-31 vote the House passed HB 1491, the Early Start Act, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle. “Half of Washington’s children are set up to fail,” said Kagi. “On the first day of kindergarten, they’re behind on math and language and don’t have the social and emotional skills to succeed. These kids are starting a lifelong race 20 yards behind. Most never catch up. If you’re a mom or dad, a business owner or a … Continue reading

Rep. Orwall’s e-Newsletter for March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Orwall’s e-Newsletter for March 9, 2015

Dear Neighbors, Here is a quick update on what’s happening in the House. Last week was a busy week. We moved a lot of bills off the House floor and sent them over to the Senate. Below are some updates on some of the legislation we have passed. Oil Transportation Safety Act passes House with bipartisan support There’s been an increased volume of coal and oil trains coming through our state. This greatly impacts our community because we have a … Continue reading

House Continues Focus on Healthy Children by Passing Breakfast After the Bell

March 4, 2015 - Rep. Zack Hudgins

House Continues Focus on Healthy Children by Passing Breakfast After the Bell

OLYMPIA – Because House Democrats know hungry kids don’t learn, they led the way in passing HB 1295 Breakfast After the Bell with a bipartisan vote of 65-33. Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, was the prime sponsor. “Giving a nutritious breakfast to a poor kid in the classroom expands on existing programs and funding,” said Rep. Hudgins. “It makes sense for the kids, for their peers, and for better outcomes in our schools which we are working towards fully funding.” “These programs … Continue reading

Protecting all students from restraint and isolation

March 2, 2015 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

OLYMPIA – The House of Representatives passed House Bill 1240 today to ensure that no child be regularly restrained or forcibly put into isolation at school as a matter of planned routine. Thousands of students in Washington state have been issued special education plans that include an expectation that the school will use physical restraints, which can include teachers laying on top of students, physical restraining devices, chokeholds, and isolation rooms.   “Every child in the state of Washington should … Continue reading

Rep. Gregory’s inaugural legislation helps Washington teachers learn new specialties

March 2, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Rep. Gregory’s inaugural legislation helps Washington teachers learn new specialties

OLYMPIA — It’s no surprise that state Rep. Carol Gregory’s first bill to receive approval by the full House is one geared to put teachers with new skills in Washington classrooms.  Gregory (D-30th District, Federal Way) is a former teacher herself, and was president of the Federal Way School Board when she was appointed early this year to replace the late Rep. Roger Freeman in the House. “Stick with what you know” is almost always good advice, and Gregory knew … Continue reading

Funding our kids first

February 25, 2015 - Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon

Funding our kids first

Why we must fund KIDS first   Last week we told you about a little boy named Theo who will grow up in a world shaped by climate change. This week we turn to Emma, a young girl whose struggle with poverty threatens to get in the way of her education. It is 4:30 in the morning. The sun isn’t even up but Emma’s mom has already turned on the light and pulled off her covers.  Emma wishes she could get a … Continue reading

Citizen survey results for the 44th District – EDUCATION

February 24, 2015 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Citizen survey results for the 44th District – EDUCATION

How can we work together to solve traffic gridlock, give our kids a better education and create jobs? Citizens from around the district took the time to share their thoughts and their stories. Here’s what people had to say about education, with specific comments below this chart: Constituent survey responses about education  “Like Running Start, but would like to see more internships with local business – so young adults could get hands-on experience to go with their education. Would like … Continue reading

Sacajawea students visit Olympia

February 22, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Sacajawea students visit Olympia

Almost 175 students from Federal Way’s Sacajawea Middle School dropped in at the Capitol on February 18.  I’m enjoying almost every aspect of my new position as your representative, but none as much as spending time with the children of the 30th legislative district.  It’s a privilege to welcome them to their Capitol, and I’m very encouraged by the interest they show in how their state government works for their families, their communities, and the entire state.

Legislative Update from Rep. Tana Senn

February 19, 2015 - Rep. Tana Senn

Legislative Update from Rep. Tana Senn

Social emotional learning needed for our children Education and mental health stand out as two of the most important issues facing the legislature this session. In an effort to address their intersection, I’ve been working on legislation that is focused on social emotional learning (SEL). Students today face life stresses that can impact their classroom learning. Issues like homelessness, bullying, family trauma, and so many others can lead to increased stress and decreased academic achievement. By teaching students the emotional … Continue reading

Funding our kids first

February 19, 2015 - Rep. Eileen Cody

Funding our kids first

Why we must fund KIDS first   Last week we told you about a little boy named Theo who will grow up in a world shaped by climate change. This week we turn to Emma, a young girl whose struggle with poverty threatens to get in the way of her education. It is 4:30 in the morning. The sun isn’t even up but Emma’s mom has already turned on the light and pulled off her covers.  Emma wishes she could get a … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells’ e-Newsletter for February 18, 2015

February 18, 2015 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells’ e-Newsletter for February 18, 2015

A Working Economy Our economy should work for everybody, not just a wealthy few. But as our state has emerged from the recession, nearly all of the gains in income have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent of Washingtonians. A recent study found that 100 percent of income gains between 2009 and 2012 went to the top 1 percent. At the same time, wages for many working families have remained stagnate or decreased. Washington and New Jersey were the only … Continue reading

Tuition lock – Goodman bill has successful public hearing

February 18, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Tuition lock – Goodman bill has successful public hearing

OLYMPA – Today, in the House Higher Education Committee, HB 1988, the “Tuition Lock” sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, had a successful public hearing. “As far as I’m concerned, higher education is the top priority in my district,” Goodman said in his testimony. “The vast majority of people in the 45th legislative district are families with children who want to attend college. These and other families across Washington are worried about the increasing cost of their kids’ college education.” … Continue reading

Plenty of volunteers helping me tackle tough policy choices

February 16, 2015 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Plenty of volunteers helping me tackle tough policy choices

Dear Friends and Neighbors, The first few weeks of session have been very busy and fast-paced as always, but I am so thrilled to have visited with the dozens of constituents who made their way to Olympia for many advocacy days, including Martin Luther King Day. The 36th district’s residents are strong advocates for the issues that matter to all of us and affect our most vulnerable communities. Here are some of the topics that your colleagues and neighbors are … Continue reading

Rep. Stanford bills would make college a reality for more veterans and active service members

February 16, 2015 - Rep. Derek Stanford

Rep. Stanford bills would make college a reality for more veterans and active service members

OLYMPIA – House committees have passed two bills from Rep. Derek Stanford (D – Bothell) that would make college more affordable for veterans and active duty servicemen and women. “Too often our veterans face a tough battle after they return home,” Stanford said. “By making a college education more affordable and more available for the men and women who serve our country, we can do our part in serving them and helping them build a future for themselves and their … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Mia Gregerson on the failure of the Highline School District Bond and passing school bonds with a simple majority

February 13, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Statement from Rep. Mia Gregerson on the failure of the Highline School District Bond and passing school bonds with a simple majority

“I was greatly saddened to see yet another school construction bond fail this week. The Highline School District’s buildings are overcrowded and in desperate need of repair. Here are the numbers: 1,500 new students in the last five years, with more coming 60 portable classrooms now in use 232 school construction bonds have gotten more than 50 percent of the vote from 1999 to 2013, yet they all failed because of the supermajority requirement The current system is broken. Why … Continue reading

LEGISLATIVE NEWS: Bipartisan bill meshes education and mental health

February 11, 2015 - Rep. Tana Senn

LEGISLATIVE NEWS: Bipartisan bill meshes education and mental health

OLYMPIA–Incorporating social and emotional learning into academic preparation is the focus of new legislation proposed by two Mercer Island lawmakers. The bills, sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow and Rep. Tana Senn, would develop standards for social-emotional learning in Washington’s public schools. These standards aim to provide students with skills ranging from self-awareness and self-regulation, to responsible decision making and relationship skills. The measure was discussed in the Senate last week and will receive a public hearing on Thursday in the … Continue reading

Ringing the Gong for Homeless Kids

January 30, 2015 - Rep. Ross Hunter

The Committee to End Homelessness rents a gong every year and has people volunteer for stints ringing it once for every unhoused person found in King County during the annual count on January 23rd. I stopped by for a few minutes and was able to take a few whacks. As you can see from the sign held up in the background there were 3,772 “unsheltered” people in King County in the one-night count done earlier in the month. This is … Continue reading

Lawmakers to Seattle Public Schools: Something has to change

January 29, 2015 - Reps. Sharon Tomiko Santos & Eric Pettigrew

Reps. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle) and Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) introduced legislation, HB 1860 that would break up the Seattle School District into two districts starting with the 2018-19 school year. The bill will likely be referred to the House Education committee. It is tentatively scheduled for a public hearing the week of February 9. The following is a joint statement from Reps. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Eric Pettigrew, Democrats from Seattle representing the 37th Legislative District. We entered public service … Continue reading

Rep. Ortiz-Self’s e-newsletter for January 29, 2015

January 29, 2015 - Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self

Rep. Ortiz-Self’s e-newsletter for January 29, 2015

The legislative session is in full swing and I want to take a moment to update you on some of the work I have been doing in Olympia during the first 3 weeks. I’m starting a new segment in which I respond to your emails and letters on video. Here’s the first one, let me know what you think: Our work this session is about economic growth, opportunities, fairness and access. It’s about STRENGTHENING FAMILIES Education and the state budget … Continue reading

School Days at the Capitol

January 28, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

School Days at the Capitol

I had a great visit with kids from Federal Way’s Rainier View Elementary School today in the beautiful State Reception Hall. I’m reminded that the children are our future, and with kids like these, that’s a very good thing.

Continuing Dr. King’s march for equality and opportunity

January 24, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Continuing Dr. King’s march for equality and opportunity

The House honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. earlier this week. More than half a century ago, Dr. King struck the conscious of America with a powerful message: separate is not equal. Though the days of segregation and Jim Crow are long over, the racial inequity from that era still casts a shadow over our schools and communities. Equality and opportunity are not afforded to everyone. Today, Dr. King would see that poverty disproportionately impacts communities of color. Kids in … Continue reading

Video Update from Rep. Morris: transportation projects, clean energy technology

January 23, 2015 - Rep. Jeff Morris

Video Update from Rep. Morris: transportation projects, clean energy technology

Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mount Vernon) discusses his legislative priorities for the 2015 sessions, including making investments in education, building transportation infrastructure in Whatcom and San Juan counties, and creating a clean energy future for Washington.

Pettigrew Introduces bill to improve school boards of large cities

January 21, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Pettigrew Introduces bill to improve school boards of large cities

State Rep. Eric Pettigrew knows every child should have the opportunity to succeed. But he also knows that too many students in large school districts are not able to get ahead. The system is failing them. Rep. Pettigrew knows that for these children, mostly students of color, students with disabilities and students in foster care, we need to do more. “We can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results,” Pettigrew said. “When the current system isn’t working, it’s … Continue reading

Rep. Strom Peterson challenges lawmakers to honor MLK with deeds, not words

January 19, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Rep. Strom Peterson challenges lawmakers to honor MLK with deeds, not words

OLYMPIA – Freshman Rep. Strom Peterson (D-21) used his first speech on the floor of the House of Representatives to ask his colleagues a simple question: what would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. see if he were alive today? Peterson said Dr. King would find the quality of Washington state schools still largely divided by race and class. “Today, it’s not enough to honor Dr. King with words,” Peterson said. “Fifty years ago it was separate drinking fountains, and today it’s … Continue reading

Families are where education starts

January 19, 2015 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Families are where education starts

Click on the photo to read the rest of the oped, or on this link below: Oped in The Everett Herald: Schools not only duty state has    

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

January 12, 2015 - Washington House Democrats

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

Thank you, Pat, for those kind words. You are a tremendous leader and a great friend. To get started, please join me in welcoming all the new members to the People’s House. I look forward to working with each of you. We all have loved ones back home, making it possible for us to serve. Without my wife Nancy’s love and advice, I wouldn’t be here. And I am very grateful for the support of my son and daughter. So … Continue reading

Reykdal to serve as vice chair of House Education Committee

December 11, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Reykdal to serve as vice chair of House Education Committee

Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) was selected by his peers in the House Democratic Caucus to serve as vice-chair of the House Education Committee this week. The Education Committee consider bills dealing with K-12 education policies like high school graduation requirements, dual-credit coursework, and closing the opportunity gap. “I’m excited to serve in this new position,” said Reykdal. “Our state has an enormous challenge ahead of us. A major overhaul of our revenue system is long overdue if we want to … Continue reading

Rep. Kagi Recognized for Championing Early Learning

December 4, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Rep. Kagi Recognized for Championing Early Learning

Representative Ruth Kagi was recently honored by the Children’s Alliance with the Gold Crayon Award – for her commitment to children, families and early learning. As chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee, Rep. Kagi has been a tireless advocate for children and families.  Since 1999, she’s been at the forefront of efforts to: Reform and improve our foster care system. Give working parents the tools they need to care for their family. Ensure those with developmental … Continue reading

Rep. Jim Moeller: Revenues are up, and that’s good news–but there’s more to the story

November 19, 2014 - Rep. Jim Moeller

Rep. Jim Moeller: Revenues are up, and that’s good news–but there’s more to the story

Statement by Speaker Pro Tem Jim Moeller on the state’s budget forecast: It’s good news that revenues are going up a bit more. It would be better news if politicians and interest groups stopped repeating the myth that economic growth alone is enough. Growth will not fully fund education, fix our crumbling bridges and take care of veterans and the disabled. We can do better, and must do better, for kids in public schools, for our seniors and disabled and … Continue reading

It’s the American way!

November 15, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

It’s the American way!

On the one hand, you’ve got your “English Only” crowd.  On the other, you’ve got most everyone else in the developed world, who realize that the ability to converse on at least a rudimentary level in more than one language is a pretty useful thing. And now, one of the fastest-growing courses of study on college campuses throughout the U.S. is Spanish for Heritage Learners.  That’s exactly what it sounds like:  advanced studies in Spanish for students who grew up in … Continue reading

Nourished kids are hungry for knowledge

September 29, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Nourished kids are hungry for knowledge

It’s axiomatic that hungry children have trouble learning. But each morning in every one of our state’s 39 counties, many of Washington’s million students show up for class hungry. Their last good meal was the free or reduced-price breakfast or hot lunch they had at school yesterday. The popularity of school-breakfast and lunch programs, of course, isn’t restricted to children of less-fortunate families. Certainly, advances in taste and presentation over the years have enhanced the regard for in-school cuisine from … Continue reading

Stay healthy, stay learning

September 15, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Stay healthy, stay learning

There are many things that make September a wonderful month in Washington – fall foliage, cozy sweaters, and everything pumpkin flavored. But one bad thing that comes with September is cold season; as kids head back to school, viruses head back to school with them. Most people hear colds and think dark, winter days. But September is usually the peak cold month . Schools provide the perfect breeding ground for viruses. It only takes one sick child to come to … Continue reading

Chronic absenteeism: not your father’s hooky

September 9, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Chronic absenteeism: not your father’s hooky

How time flies.  Seems like only yesterday, but it’s been a few weeks since the last time we ran across a major study that confirmed what House Democrats have long maintained:  Funding education, by itself, is a good thing, but without sufficient attention to social programs, many of those education dollars will be unproductive at best. Now this: Johns Hopkins University education researchers Robert Balfanz and Vaughan Byrnes studied the relationships between poverty and chronic absenteeism, and between chronic absenteeism … Continue reading

The great equalizer, but some are more equal than others

August 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

The great equalizer, but some are more equal than others

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”  –Education reformer Horace Mann “A family’s resources and the doors they open cast a long shadow over children’s life trajectories.”  –Sociologist Karl Alexander Former Gov. Gary Locke made Horace Mann’s famous pronouncement almost a catch-phrase during his two terms in office, and there’s no denying the impact that a good education can have on the arc … Continue reading

Legislative Scholar Program wraps up in Olympia

July 31, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Legislative Scholar Program wraps up in Olympia

While most students are out of school enjoying their summer break, many teachers are using this time to further develop their skills and create lesson plans for the upcoming school year. One of the many ways teachers can increase their state government knowledge and create new lesson plans is through the Washington State Legislative Scholar Program. The scholar program is a week-long workshop held every July for civics, social studies, history, and government teachers in Washington. The workshop provides hands-on … Continue reading

STEM grads finding varied job prospects

July 30, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

STEM grads finding varied job prospects

A report released earlier this month by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that only about a quarter of recent STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) graduates wind up working in STEM jobs. Obviously, educators, legislators, and employers themselves ought to stop all this cheerleading for STEM courses and focus instead on more high-demand fields. Right? Not so fast. Like most things that appear simple on the surface, this bears a little additional scrutiny. It turns out that, yes, the headline … Continue reading

Get ahead of the curve in back-to-school prep

July 29, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Get ahead of the curve in back-to-school prep

Calling all moms, dads, and guardians – especially parents of kindergartners and first-graders eagerly awaiting the 2014-2015 school year. Most all of Washington’s public and private classrooms will reopen in a month or so. School and school-district websites, of course, are already accepting your clicks, and school offices should be taking your calls and welcoming your visits any day now. Rookie school-parents naturally have a ton of questions, the topmost generally involving age and immunization requirements. By midnight August 31, … Continue reading

Learning the Ropes: Rep. Monica Stonier returns to Capitol Ideas to talk about moving from the classroom to the Capitol

June 30, 2014 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Learning the Ropes: Rep. Monica Stonier returns to Capitol Ideas to talk about moving from the classroom to the Capitol

Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) talked with Capitol Ideas a few days before being sworn in as a brand-new state lawmaker, after more than a decade as a classroom teacher and teaching coach. What was that transition like, and what did she learn in her first two years? Listen in and find out. You can subscribe to “Capitol Ideas” here, or on iTunes.  

Bilingual Education Day

June 23, 2014 - Rep. Cindy Ryu

Bilingual Education Day

Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline) with students in a bilingual class in the Kent School District. Ryu and other lawmakers visited as part of Bilingual Education Day on June 9.

School is out, but nutrition shouldn’t go on vacay

June 23, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

School is out, but nutrition shouldn’t go on vacay

Washington children are enjoying the first few days of summer vacation, but for the many families that rely on free and reduced-price lunches during the school year, summer vacation can mean financial hardship. Without school breakfast and lunch programs, their children are at risk of not getting enough to eat. Fortunately, the Washington Summer Meals Program is here to fill the gap.  Administered by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), this program provides free meals and snacks … Continue reading

Open enrollment for GET ends Saturday

May 30, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Open enrollment for GET ends Saturday

It’s never too early to start planning and saving for a child’s college education. Washington state has a program to help families save money for their child’s future – the Washington State Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. With the GET program, families purchase “units” that can be used for higher education expenses down the road. It’s like paying for a future college education at today’s prices. Because the units are already purchased, the tuition and fees are covered (up to … Continue reading

Seattle Times, Brookings Institute: to boost economy, put hard hats to work

May 19, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Seattle Times, Brookings Institute: to boost economy, put hard hats to work

#104629760 / gettyimages.com Rebuilding our state’s old, crumbling buildings and infrastructure would create thousands of jobs in Washington state today – and thousands more for generations to come. That’s the conclusion of Seattle Times economic columnist Jon Talton, who points out Washington state is still benefiting from things built during the New Deal back in the 1930’s. Talton sums things up this way: Last week I lamented that Americans seem stuck with a mostly 1970-era infrastructure and lack the political … Continue reading

No… Washington does not have the 2nd highest tuition in the nation

May 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

No… Washington does not have the 2nd highest tuition in the nation

Higher education is the doorway to better jobs, higher pay, and financial independence. States have always played a key role in funding the higher-education of their citizens, usually financing the majority of the cost of attendance at most publicly-funded colleges and universities. The Great Recession changed all of that. Higher-ed budgets nationwide were targeted as a way to help states fund critical operations.  The pressures that recession, brought on by the short-sighted deregulation of Wall Street, forced lawmakers to make … Continue reading

Schools struggle with population boom, need more classrooms

April 30, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Overcrowding is a growing problem at many local schools, according to a story by the Associated Press: More than a dozen Washington school districts have added at least a school worth of students over the past two years.     Finding enough classrooms for those children is becoming a challenge. The districts growing the fastest worry the problem will deepen as the Legislature makes good on its promise to require schools to shrink class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Reykdal regarding the NCLB waiver loss

April 24, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Statement from Rep. Reykdal regarding the NCLB waiver loss

Washington State was informed today that the U.S. Department of Education has revoked our No Child Left Behind waiver. Under the terms of the revocation, Washington State will not lose resources; rather, we will lose some flexibility on how to use $40 million of the approximately $12 billion we spend in our K-12 schools per year (that’s 0.3% – three tenths of one percent). Below is a statement from Rep. Chris Reykdal of Tumwater regarding the waiver loss: As a … Continue reading

No excuse for ignoring students with no address

April 11, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

No excuse for ignoring students with no address

The Washington State Constitution emphasizes our “paramount duty” to see that every young person receives a solid basic education. There’s no equivocation in that constitutional mandate, either — no hedging, such as, “… that is, if the young person has an address.” Thousands of students in our communities have no address. In fact, if the 30,600 homeless students got together and formed their own school district, it would be the second-largest of our state’s 295 districts. Approved in the 2014 … Continue reading

New law a “three-for” for students, schools, accountability

April 8, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

New law a “three-for” for students, schools, accountability

Talk about a win-win-win. It’s not often that legislation comes along promoting better education for at-risk students, stronger accountability for schools, and increased efficiency for local governments — all in the same bill. Sponsored by Rep. June Robinson and newly signed into the law of the state, House Bill 2276 is just such a measure. The bipartisan bill will allow the state’s Educational Service Districts (ESDs) to contract directly with a county for education services for students who are temporarily … Continue reading

Peter Callaghan: Education bill’s unheralded details will need attention

March 28, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Peter Callaghan: Education bill’s unheralded details will need attention | Peter Callaghan | The News Tribune. Peter does a good job here exposing some of the hard work remaining in figuring out school funding details for 2015. He drills into a number of key issues: Local school levies being used for compensation. This is an unconstitutional shift of responsibility from the state to local taxpayers. Weird levy caps that treat different districts differently. Reliability issues with depending on local levies. … Continue reading

As 2014 legislative season ends, education funding remains key

March 21, 2014 - Rep. Kristine Lytton

As 2014 legislative season ends, education funding remains key

The short 60-day legislative session that concluded last week in Olympia was remarkable for a number of reasons. For one thing, we adjourned on time. As our state grows more complex and our population continues to increase – with corresponding demands for a range of government services – it becomes more and more challenging to neatly wrap up a full year’s worth of the people’s business in two months, or even in the 105 days allotted for odd-numbered years. While … Continue reading

The end of the 2014 legislative session

March 18, 2014 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

The end of the 2014 legislative session

Dear friends and neighbors, What a tragic start to the morning! As we all watch the news unfold on the Seattle Center helicopter crash, my thoughts and prayers are with the families and colleagues of the victims. I also want to share with you the results of the 2014 legislative session. Last Thursday, we finished just minutes before the deadline – the first year we’ve ended on time since 2008! I am thrilled that we finally passed the DREAM Act … Continue reading

Lawmakers pass 24-credit HS diploma; NCLB waiver bill dies

March 15, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Lawmakers pass 24-credit HS diploma; NCLB waiver bill dies

Lawmakers pass 24-credit HS diploma; NCLB waiver bill dies. The first in a series of notes on this year’s session. I can no longer write a summary of what happens during the actual session, particularly in short sessions where the budget negotiations take until the last !@#$%^&* minute. (I will be less testy about this in a week or so.) I have been working on the 24-credit graduation requirement bill for many years. It’s the foundation of our restructuring of … Continue reading

Win-win for students, schools is on governor’s desk

March 13, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Win-win for students, schools is on governor’s desk

Better education for at-risk students, stronger accountability for schools, and increased efficiency for local governments are objectives all wrapped inside successful legislation sponsored by Rep. June Robinson. The measure (House Bill 2276) unanimously passed both legislative chambers and now awaits only approval from Gov. Jay Inslee to become the law of the state. Robinson’s winning proposal would allow the state’s Educational Service Districts (ESDs) to contract directly with a county for education services for students residing in the county’s detention … Continue reading

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 3 of 4)

March 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 3 of 4)

The House supplemental budget proposal included a package of education investments that will bring the state closer to meeting its McCleary education goals, drawing funds from the closure of four costly and unnecessary tax exemptions. Earlier, we focused on the elimination of the sales tax exemption for nonresidents, an arbitrary tax break that denies our state due taxes for Washington goods and services—taxes that could be used to fund our children’s education. Prescription drug resellers In 1998 the legislature wanted … Continue reading

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 2 of 4)

March 6, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Funding education with closed tax loopholes (Part 2 of 4)

The House supplemental budget proposal includes a package of education investments that will bring the state closer to meeting its McCleary education goals, drawing funds from the closure of four costly and unnecessary tax exemptions. Yesterday, we focused on the narrowing of an outdated tax loophole for big oil companies—a loophole that hurts Washington and only benefits an industry that needs it least. Collect due sales tax to pay for our education House budget writers are looking to repeal the … Continue reading

Homeless and trying to learn

March 5, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Homeless and trying to learn

Homeless students have countless barriers to success: How will I do my homework in a tent? How can I clean my clothes when I live in a car? Are we going to have dinner tonight? These worries are difficult enough for adults to deal with, but for children they are traumatic. The stress of homelessness can make it impossible for students to focus and thrive in school. As we reported yesterday, the number of homeless students in Washington state is … Continue reading

Use of “economic models” to mislead the public

March 4, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Use of “economic models” to mislead the public

The Washington Policy Center, a right-leaning think tank, published a report today with a terrifying title: “Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs“. This is “truthy”, AN economic model did show this. Of course, THIS economic model ALWAYS shows job losses from proposed public policy proposals. Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs | Washington Policy Center Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs | … Continue reading

More homeless students in our state than ever before

March 4, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

More homeless students in our state than ever before

One would hope that the number of homeless students in our state would have shrunk, at least a bit, since the last time we posted the findings, but that’s sadly not the case. In fact, the number has been swelling at an alarming rate. From 2008 to 2013, almost 10,000 students in our state became homeless, bringing the total for 2013 to 30,609. OSPI reports that pinpointing the reasons for the increase is hard, but cites the lack of housing … Continue reading

Dunshee bill would put $700 million toward building schools

February 27, 2014 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Dunshee bill would put $700 million toward building schools

Here’s more about the bipartisan Dunshee-MacEwen legislation, House Bill 2797. Front-page story in The News Tribune by Brad Shannon: State lawmakers consider borrowing against Lottery to build schools Radio story on Dunshee-MacEwen plan to build schools: State House announces $700-million bipartisan school-construction plan Capitol Record: Lottery money would back $700M bonds for school construction in House proposal HDC Advance: Just now: Capital budget committee unanimously passes school construction plan Dunshee-MacEwen release on school construction plan: Bipartisan school construction initiative introduced … Continue reading

Agreement in the works on teacher evaluations

February 27, 2014 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

I am pleased to hear Governor Inslee is working with leaders from the House and Senate on a solution to the teacher evaluation issue. Leaders in both parties are working diligently to ensure continued federal school funding that gives districts the flexibility they need to effectively and meaningfully evaluate teacher progress. I’m optimistic that the final proposal will satisfy federal requirements. While we are still waiting to see the bill that will outline potential changes, I will keep a close … Continue reading

House measure to address lower class sizes will alleviate severe overcrowding

February 27, 2014 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

Bipartisan school-construction legislation introduced in the state House of Representatives today will go a long way toward relieving severe overcrowding in Seattle schools, and meet our obligations to provide lower class sizes, according to state Rep. Gerry Pollet, who is a co-sponsor for House Bill 2797. The legislation authorizes the sale of $700 million in bonds to pay both for building new, full-day kindergarten classrooms and for reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. Seattle Public Schools officials estimate … Continue reading

Education, child care, mental illness main focus of House budget

February 26, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Education, child care, mental illness main focus of House budget

House Democrats unveiled their 2014 supplemental budget proposal and education investment package on Wednesday. The proposal includes: $60 million in additional funds for basic education $10.4 million to improve community mental health services $20.5 million for child care providers To restore voter-approved (I-732) cost-of-living adjustments for teachers, which have been suspended since 2009, and fund the Early Start Act (improving quality in early learning), House Democrats are proposing to repeal or narrow four costly tax exemptions: Extracted Fuel                                              $31.7 million … Continue reading

House passes bill honoring Kip Tokuda

February 19, 2014 - Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos

House passes bill honoring Kip Tokuda

The House honored an inspirational leader on Tuesday with the passage of House Bill 2776, a bill that will rededicate an education program he was instrumental in creating as the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program. Kip Tokuda represented the 37th Legislative District in Seattle from 1994-2002 and was a civic and political leader among the Asian American community until his unexpected death on July 13, 2013. Tokuda was born in 1946, shortly after his American-born parents … Continue reading

Career and college readiness and tax exemption transparency

February 19, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Career and college readiness and tax exemption transparency

Yesterday was a “cutoff” day at the state Legislature, meaning policy bills sponsored by House members must be approved by the full House to allow further consideration in the legislative process. We tackled several important issues like tax exemption transparency and career and college readiness. Below are clips from TVW of my floor speeches on these bills. Thank you again, for letting me be your voice on these important issues. – Chris House Bill 2383 “This saves us money and … Continue reading

Hunter bill to improve early learning quality clears House

February 19, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Hunter bill to improve early learning quality clears House

The state House of Representatives approved HB 2377 today by a vote of 64-33, which will substantially improve the quality of early learning for kids in Washington State. “If we want to improve school readiness outcomes for students, our best investment is in high-quality early learning,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ross Hunter of Medina. “We now know how to assess the quality of pre-school programs and assess these outcomes. We just have to be serious about doing it. The … Continue reading

Pettigrew bills recognize that education is the springboard to success for all

February 17, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Pettigrew bills recognize that education is the springboard to success for all

Rep. Eric Pettigrew knows what it takes to succeed – hard work and a quality education. He’s not worried about ideologies or party lines, just what works.  If an education proposal has merit, he is ready to listen.  That’s why he sponsored HB 2553 and HB 2486 – both of which passed the House last Friday. A quality education is the key to success for everyone – even inmates. Almost half of those who go to prison will end up … Continue reading

Education, families bills pass the House floor

February 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Education, families bills pass the House floor

The House approved an array of legislation strengthening education, protecting families and helping veterans on Tuesday. Click here for the full list of bills from Tuesday’s floor action. Supporting tuition for veterans HB 1011 – The house voted unanimously to expand the definition of “resident student” to welcome veterans with residential tuition immediately after honorable discharge. Currently, the one-year waiting period for residential status makes it difficult for many veterans, who lived anywhere their country asked, to attend college. Sponsored … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Eric Pettigrew on Washington’s first charter school

February 10, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Statement from Rep. Eric Pettigrew on Washington’s first charter school

As a long-time supporter of charter schools, I was honored to learn that the Washington’s first charter school, based on First Place School, currently a no-tuition private school in Seattle’s Central District, will make its transition to a public school in the 37th legislative district! Our regular public schools provide many children with a great education. But the system is not built to accommodate the unique needs of every student. Charter schools can provide students with the support, individualized attention … Continue reading

2014 Session Update

February 1, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

2014 Session Update

Table of Contents Introduction DREAM Act Early Learning Quality Transportation K-12 Education 24-Credit Graduation Requirement Teacher and Principal Evaluation Changes Supplemental Budget Issues People are Writing in About Oil Tax Loophole Background Checks for Gun Purchasers Age Wave Study Hospital Mergers Contact Me   Introduction Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to serve the community in the Legislature. This is my 12th year in this role and I am proud to have been elected by my peers to … Continue reading

Hansen bill lets sun shine on state college finances

January 30, 2014 - Rep. Drew Hansen

Students, parents and the public could take a look online at where state colleges get their income and what they spend it on, under a bipartisan bill introduced today by Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island. “Parents and students deserve to know how our colleges are funded and how they’re spending the money,” Hansen said. “That’s important information for families making decisions on colleges.” The measure, House Bill 2651, requires state universities and colleges, including community colleges, to display prominently on … Continue reading

Haigh reform would help timber communities and schools

January 28, 2014 - Rep. Kathy Haigh

Haigh reform would help timber communities and schools

Legislation by Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-Shelton) would stop penalizing public schools in timber communities when it comes to basic education funding. “This is a common-sense reform that reflects our common values,” said Haigh, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. “It’s supported by Democrats and Republicans who agree that it’s wrong to let a quirk in the law punish students in timber towns.” The quirk comes from the fact that the state’s forests were picked by the state’s founders … Continue reading

Education: our paramount duty – and the key to our future

January 27, 2014 - Rep. Pat Sullivan

Education: our paramount duty – and the key to our future

Educating Washington’s children is not just our state’s paramount duty, it’s the most important thing we can do for our state’s economy.  Equipping students with the skills they’ll need to qualify for the jobs of tomorrow is key to their success and our thriving future. Two years ago this month, the Washington State Supreme Court found the state has not met its constitutional duty to fully-fund basic education.  Known as the McCleary decision, this ruling has brought to the forefront … Continue reading

Rep. Goodman knows your child’s class is too big

January 24, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Rep. Goodman knows your child’s class is too big

Yesterday, Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, held a news conference with Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo to discuss bills they have introduced in the House and Senate to reduce class sizes for all K-12 students in Washington state. Washington ranks 47th in the nation in class sizes.  With more than 30 students in a classroom, teachers cannot possibly give students the attention they deserve.  Many students can fall through the cracks. Compelling research shows that class size matters for every grade level. … Continue reading

Kindergarten-assessment data touts early learning

January 22, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Kindergarten-assessment data touts early learning

From the get-go, our youngest students need the right tools to get their school careers off on the right foot. For many years, educators, lawmakers and parents have stressed the need for children five- and six-years-old to hit the kindergarten ground running. In 2012, the legislature established WAKids, a transition process to help kids get a successful start in school and to assess the  learning readiness of each child. The  Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills results are now in. … Continue reading

McCleary, DREAM Act, health care

January 20, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

McCleary, DREAM Act, health care

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we wanted to share with you this video tribute in which House Democrats celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.     First week of the legislative session is complete We completed the first week of the 2014 Legislative Session and it included a rare first-day vote, Governor Inslee’s first State of the State address, and several public rallies. Looks like it’s going to be a jam-packed 60 days! Here are … Continue reading

ICYMI: Speaker Chopp & Rep. Sullivan on TVW’s Inside Olympia

January 20, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

ICYMI: Speaker Chopp & Rep. Sullivan on TVW’s Inside Olympia

Speaker Frank Chopp and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan spoke with TVW’s Austin Jenkins on Inside Olympia. They discuss issues that will be front and center for the 2014 legislative session like education, jobs, transportation, and health care.    

Reps. Kagi and Ryu tell students to keep dreaming!

January 20, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Reps. Kagi and Ryu tell students to keep dreaming!

Last week, Reps. Kagi and Ryu met with a group of students from LEAP (Latino/a Educational Achievement Project).  LEAP’s mission is ensuring all students graduate from high school with the skills they need to succeed for work or for college! On the first day of session the House passed of the Dream Act, allowing all deserving children, regardless of their immigration status, a fair shot at financial aid for college.   With this in mind, Reps. Kagi and Ryu offered … Continue reading

Bipartisan bills aim to improve quality in early learning

January 18, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Bipartisan bills aim to improve quality in early learning

Rep. Ross Hunter and Sen. Steve Litzow introduced bipartisan companion bills in the Legislature this week that aim to improve the overall quality of early learning by creating a mixture of incentives and requirements for child care providers. “Low quality care is actually bad for children,” said Hunter. “It’s not less good. It’s bad. Our state has done a great job creating an early learning system and expanding access to tens of thousands of children, but now it’s time to … Continue reading

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

January 13, 2014 - Speaker Frank Chopp

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

Opening Day Remarks (as written) Thank you. Before I begin my remarks, please let me introduce my wife, Nancy Long. With only 60 days, we have plenty of challenges and opportunities before us. Let me highlight a few: Last year, we made some progress in funding basic education. This year, we must take the next steps to meet our constitutional responsibility — the education of our kids, and to support those who work —day in and day out — to … Continue reading

Rumbling tummies make learning harder

January 10, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Rumbling tummies make learning harder

We all know how unfocused and annoyed we get at work when don’t eat breakfast. For children, hunger is more than a bad mood. Hungry children are more likely to repeat grades, exhibit aggressive, hyperactive or impulsive behavior, suffer from anxiety or depression, have lower math and reading scores or need special education services. It’s really that simple: for a child to be ready to learn, that child must first be well-fed. Here in Washington, one in four children live … Continue reading

Op-ed by Rep. Pat Sullivan: Washington’s future starts now – be a part of it!

January 9, 2014 - Rep. Pat Sullivan

Op-ed by Rep. Pat Sullivan: Washington’s future starts now – be a part of it!

The 2014 Legislative Session starts next Monday and, although it is only a 60-day session, there are a lot of important issues on the table.  Among the most pressing are: Transportation – There is substantial need for infrastructure improvements at both the state and local levels, including SR 167. We also need to make sure our transit system is adequate for our communities. Additionally, there have been calls for policy changes to our transportation systems. How should the state move … Continue reading

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’

January 3, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’

How much do dropouts cost us? The real numbers behind ‘pay now or pay later’ | Education Lab Blog | Seattle Times. Good piece about quantizing future costs of kids dropping out of school. Makes me want to read the study they reference. So many studies, so little time… It’s worth subscribing to the Seattle Times’ Education Blog. There’s a link in the story to get a daily email update on recent stories.

Reps. Van De Wege, Tharinger accepting page applications for 2014 legislative session

December 20, 2013 - Reps. Van De Wege and Tharinger

Reps. Van De Wege, Tharinger accepting page applications for 2014 legislative session

Do you know a young person interested in expanding their civic education or public service? Representatives Kevin Van De Wege (D- Sequim) and Steve Tharinger (D- Dungeness) are now accepting page applications for the coming legislative session that begins in January and runs until mid-March. “Students are learning about Washington state government and the legislative process in their classrooms each day,” said Rep. Van De Wege. “Taking part in the page program is a great way for young people to … Continue reading

Hurry! The current GED expires in two weeks

December 17, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Hurry! The current GED expires in two weeks

Time is running out for anyone who started taking the GED sometime in the past decade but has not completed it; the current version of the GED test will expire at the end of 2013 and the new 2014 GED test will begin on January 2, 2014. If you’ve taken the GED but have not passed all five parts, you have until December 31 to get it done, otherwise you’ll need to start all over again in 2014 to receive … Continue reading

Washington’s future prosperity might depend on abandoning a “cultural stereotype”

December 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Washington’s future prosperity might depend on abandoning a “cultural stereotype”

“First, as early as second grade, the children demonstrated the American cultural stereotype that math is for boys . . . .   Second, elementary school boys identified with math more strongly than did girls on both implicit and self-report measures. The findings suggest that the math–gender stereotype is acquired early and influences emerging math self-concepts . . . .” So begins Math-gender Stereotypes in Elementary School Children, a landmark study published in 2011 by a trio of University of Washington … Continue reading

Washington STEM investments hitting the field

November 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Washington STEM investments hitting the field

What does it mean when an elected official says they want to invest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education? A recent partnership between Washington state and Microsoft is a perfect example of words turned into action. Microsoft, the Redmond-based software giant and one of the largest employers in the state, runs an IT Academy to train students in computer programming. Courses are focused on jobs-ready skills and cover topics ranging from basic Web navigation to advanced programming and … Continue reading

Suicide prevention is a priority in our state

November 15, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Suicide prevention is a priority in our state

According to the Washington State Injury and Violence Prevention Guide, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24 in our state. This translates to 25 percent of the deaths in this age group, which averages to about 2 youth dying by suicide each week. A Des Moines lawmakers is determined to change those statistics and has been working diligently on ways to identify the signs that lead to suicide. Rep. Tina Orwall began tackling … Continue reading

BEST grants go to 7 school districts

October 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

BEST grants go to 7 school districts

Nationwide, 50 percent of beginning teachers leave the profession within the first five years. In Washington state that number is around 25 percent. Why so many?  New teachers often report feeling overwhelmed and under-supported. But there’s good news for new teachers in seven of our state’s school districts that were just awarded a total of $800,000 in Beginning Education Support Team (BEST) grants to expand their beginning teacher assistance programs. The BEST program, established by the Legislature in 2009, is … Continue reading

More students, and more students of color, take SAT exam

September 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

More students, and more students of color, take SAT exam

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reports that high-school 12th-graders here in our very own Evergreen State, especially students of color, did us all proud in the most-recent Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Says a recent OSPI press release — “Washington Sees Rise in SAT Participation: More students with more diversity are choosing to take the college-entrance exam”: “Washington’s 12th-graders earned a combined average score of 1,526 on the 2013 SAT. This is the nation’s fourth highest score among … Continue reading

Federal grant designed to help teen parents stay in school

September 27, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Federal grant designed to help teen parents stay in school

Biology being what it is,  some number of teens are going to be sexually active. Always have, always will. And despite the best efforts of parents, schools, and government programs, some of that sexual activity is going to produce children. One unfortunate result is that many young moms – and dads – will drop out of school. Unskilled, undereducated teenaged parents have every strike in the book against them, and it’s a recipe for poverty that can continue for generations. … Continue reading

Session update from Ross

September 20, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Session update from Ross

Session Update As always, thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Legislature. It’s an honor and a privilege. This year the “privilege” part got a little weak towards the end of 6 months in Olympia, but the we finally got a budget done. It’s a budget I’m pleased with, mostly. This newsletter has a number of sections – I’ve included the top couple of paragraphs in this email, with the remainder of the stories on my web … Continue reading

Out with the sugar, in with the spinach!

September 20, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Out with the sugar, in with the spinach!

As Washington’s little ones head back to classroom, and the inevitably the lunchroom, fall is a good times to talk about fighting one of the toughest epidemics in our country – childhood obesity. So a child is overweight — why should we care? To start with, overweight children are more than 5 times as likely to be obese adults. And we know that leads to a multitude of problems for families whose loved ones die early, our economy through lost … Continue reading

Read All About It!

September 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Read All About It!

A pair of notable new books currently getting a good deal of press seem designed to pique the interest of lawmakers. One offers a unique take on the Legislature’s paramount duty, and the other focuses on foster care in America. Since about the time “Why Johnny Can’t Read” was published nearly 60 years ago, it seems not a week goes by without another new book on K-12 education. Many if not most are polemics: The Democrats did it. The Republicans … Continue reading

Rep. Hunter earns ‘Champion for Early Learning’ honor

August 16, 2013 - Representative Ross Hunter

Rep. Hunter earns ‘Champion for Early Learning’ honor

State Representative Ross Hunter of Medina earned the “Champion of Early Learning” honor yesterday from the Children’s Alliance, a statewide organization that advocates for ensuring all kids in Washington are safe and healthy. “I’m extremely appreciative of this honor from the Children’s Alliance,” said Hunter. “More investment in early learning, restoration of cuts to Apple Health, and our participation in Medicaid expansion were major victories for all Washington residents this year.” As chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Hunter was … Continue reading

States looking to SAT, ACT for K-12 standardized testing

August 8, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

States looking to SAT, ACT for K-12 standardized testing

The wave of standardized testing has caused concern as voters and policymakers attempt to strike a balance between tracking student performance and avoiding unintended consequences like disenfranchising students with learning disabilities and teaching to the test. In Washington, the McCleary decision has only magnified these concerns as lawmakers look to find a way to meet our $4.5 billion obligation to fully fund K-12 education. One means of striking a balance that is gaining traction in other parts of the country … Continue reading

How can we help foster kids succeed?

August 7, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

How can we help foster kids succeed?

Washington turns adversity into leadership – again. Kids aging out of foster care may have experienced years of abuse and trauma in troubled homes. They are more likely to have mental health and drug problems, to be involved in the criminal justice system, and to become homeless. Only a little over half graduate from high school or get a GED. Foster kids have very low rates of college attendance. These conditions all but sentence them to a life of poverty. … Continue reading

Rep. Stonier to oversee efforts to improve failing schools

August 5, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Rep. Stonier to oversee efforts to improve failing schools

Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) has been named a charter member of Washington’s Education Accountability Oversight Committee. The bipartisan panel will monitor implementation of a new law (SB 5329) approved during the 2013 legislative session that is designed to help persistently failing public schools improve their performance through support, guidance and, if necessary, direct intervention by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). “Every child can be successful if we give them the right tools to learn,” said Stonier. … Continue reading

Join me August 6 for a town hall discussion

July 29, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Join me August 6 for a town hall discussion

Please join me on Tuesday, August 6th at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the the Cascade Public Library for a town hall. (600 NE 136th Ave Vancouver, WA 98684) I’ll provide a recap of what happened – and what didn’t happen – during the 2013 legislative session. I’ll also share my thoughts on what the 2014 session looks like going forward. But most importantly, I want to hear from you. What did you like out of this session? … Continue reading

The Education Budget

July 26, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

The Education Budget

I’m pleased to report that we were able to add just over a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in new money to education funding in Washington, or about a 12% increase. This is a step towards meeting the obligation to amply provide for the education of all children residing within our borders the constitution calls for and the Supreme Court is requiring us to do in the McCleary decision. My initial proposal was for significantly more. We believe the final bill will be … Continue reading

Rep. Lytton to help oversee efforts to improve failing schools

July 26, 2013 - Rep. Kristine Lytton

Rep. Kristine Lytton has been named a charter member of Washington’s Education Accountability Oversight Committee.  The bipartisan panel will monitor implementation of a new law approved during the 2013 legislative session that is designed to help persistently failing public schools improve their performance through support, guidance and, if necessary, direct intervention by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The new law, largely drafted by former school director Lytton, directs OSPI to develop criteria to determine which schools … Continue reading

Landmark education investment already making a difference for kids

July 12, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Landmark education investment already making a difference for kids

​In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that found the state has not complied with its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education for the students of Washington. To fully comply with the court order, known as the McCleary decision, we must invest an additional $4.5 billion into basic education by the 2018-2019 school year. In order to meet that goal, House Democrats proposed allocating about $1.3 billion over the next two years. The … Continue reading

Education wins in final budget

July 8, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Education wins in final budget

A week has passed since the end of the second (and final) special session this year and I’ve finally put socks and shoes on and shaved. This was an exhausting exercise as the Senate Republicans figured out how they were going to make decisions. I’m pleased we were able to get it done at the end, but would have preferred to have not come so close to the deadline for shutting down most state services. The final budget addresses most … Continue reading

Pollet: Help on way for overcrowded Northeast Seattle schools

July 1, 2013 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

“Washington’s updated capital budget includes much-needed funds to help ease severe overcrowding in Northeast Seattle schools,” state Rep. Gerry Pollet said today about the 2013-2015 biennial-construction budget passed in the closing hours of the special legislative session. “Some of our youngest students are being taught to read on stages in cafeterias,” Pollet pointed out. “Frankly, it’s nothing short of scandalous that we have first-graders in portables without bathrooms — even as enrollment north of the Ship Canal is growing every … Continue reading

Vibrant communities require strong families

June 26, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Vibrant communities require strong families

Never forget the very real world behind raw budget numbers — always sound advice, especially in this day and age. House Democrats are keeping that reality in mind as we work with the Senate on a compromise budget. And even as these dollars-and-cents endgames play out in Olympia, hot off the press is an annual report on the national and statewide “state of the kids.” The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation lists Washington No. … Continue reading

Rep. Cody talks health care reform, gun control and education

June 23, 2013 - Rep. Cody

Rep. Cody talks health care reform, gun control and education

On June 20th, Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle) spoke with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Rep. Cody brought the group up to speed on the ongoing budget negotiations – as well as some of the highlights from the legislative session. “We’ll have a budget by June 30. It’s been a question and it’s not done yet … but it’s going in the right direction and everyone believes we’ll get it accomplished at this point.” Follow the link to read … Continue reading

It doesn’t have to be this way

June 17, 2013 - Rep. Roger Goodman

It doesn’t have to be this way

In my latest video update I discuss the special session budget stalemate. House Democrats, understanding the importance of passing a budget that fully funds education, recently released a new compromise proposal very close to the Senate Republicans’ Budget. Currently, the Senate is holding the budget hostage until the House passes several right-wing policy bills including: lifting restrictions on payday lenders, school changes that make it easier to fire teachers and altering our state’s worker compensation program so it has complete … Continue reading

Rep. Sharon Wylie’s letter in the Columbian: LEGISLATURE’S DUTY IS CLEAR

June 16, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Rep. Sharon Wylie’s letter in the Columbian: LEGISLATURE’S DUTY IS CLEAR

Most people agree that it is the job of state government to educate our children and build infrastructure that strengthens our economy. As a representative of the 49th District, I find these are not partisan issues. Our state constitution and state Supreme Court could not be more clear about our duty to fully fund education. Late Thursday night, the Legislature passed a bill that moved beyond one piece of the partisan gridlock that has put us in this second special … Continue reading

Republicans bring D.C.-style politics to our Washington

June 11, 2013 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Republicans bring D.C.-style politics to our Washington

Well, Olympia has just had its second Sine Die. But nothing is finished. Senate Republicans need to hear from the public that everyone’s tired of this strategy of holding a budget hostage to ideologies. It is our duty to fund kids. Our paramount duty. Everything else might be nice to have. But kids must come first. We still need a biennium budget, a transportation revenue package, and a capital budget. Just like our wi-fi technologies, all three budgets depend on … Continue reading

The reality of budget negotiations

June 11, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The reality of budget negotiations

This morning, Governor Inslee held a press conference and shared some hard truths about the reality of budget negotiations. It’s time for all sides to set aside their policy wish lists and ideology, and move towards a budget compromise that fulfills our paramount duty. Passing the same budget as before is not compromise. Governor Inslee: Here’s what is clear to me today: The Senate majority is trying to leverage our obligation to Washington’s school children to pass its ideological agenda. … Continue reading

Cut tax preferences for Oregon shoppers and send that money to Washington students

June 7, 2013 - Rep. Jim Moeller

“We all need to pay our fair share of taxes, including out-of-state shoppers. To level the playing field, we need to close some of Washington’s tax loopholes. One such loophole allows thousands of Oregonians to escape paying our sales tax when they shop in Vancouver. “But no, it doesn’t have to be that way. “We passed House Bill 2036 last night (Thursday, June 6, 2013) to convert the nonresident sales-tax exemption to a remittance program. What this means is that … Continue reading

VIDEO: Compromise budget highlights

June 6, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

VIDEO: Compromise budget highlights

With six days until the end of special session, House and Senate budget leaders rolled out a modest, compromise budget plan that will complete the work of the 2013 legislative session and move our state forward. We have more details here, here, and here. Our hope in January was a bold investment in education. This bill is more modest but does allow us to move forward in reducing class size, funding all day kindergarten, and supporting college students. Our budget … Continue reading

House and Senate lawmakers propose “significant compromise”

June 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House and Senate lawmakers propose “significant compromise”

Leading lawmakers from the House and Senate united today behind a budget compromise that makes increased investments in education without shredding the safety net. “We’ve been meeting every day and working hard, in good faith,” said Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington). “To finish our work and avoid a Washington D.C.-style shutdown of state government, it’s time to start voting. This proposal is a significant compromise” The base proposal adds a minimum of $704 million to our state’s K-12 schools and … Continue reading

School funding in jeopardy without estate tax bill

May 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

School funding in jeopardy without estate tax bill

Washington state has had some form of an estate tax since 1901. Currently, taxes are imposed on estates of $2 million or more, which is assessed on roughly 300 wealthy families each year. By a landslide vote of 62 percent in 2006, Washington voters reaffirmed their support for the estate tax to provide much-needed funding for our public schools. The revenues from the estate tax go into the Education Legacy Trust account, which pays for things like lower class sizes, … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s E-Newsletter for May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s E-Newsletter for May 20, 2013

Dear Neighbors, Our top budget leaders are in Olympia this week trying to reach an agreement on the budget while most of us have returned home and are reconnecting with family and friends, working hard to respond to all of our constituents’ emails and calls from session, and for many us,  attend to a second career. Once budget writers reach agreement on most outstanding issues, the rest of the lawmakers will return to finish work on the 2013-15 operating budget, … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update for May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update for May 20, 2013

Budget negotiations are continuing in Olympia this week. Most legislators are back at home, however, resuming their jobs and a normal family life. Once budget writers reach agreement on most outstanding issues, lawmakers will return to finish work on the 2013-15 operating budget, capital budget, transportation budget and any other issues that can’t wait until next January.   Budget negotiations: Do we spend our money for educating our kids or tax exemptions? That’s one of the choices lawmakers are discussing … Continue reading

Teachers, students, Microsoft execs turn out for approval of computer-science bill

May 16, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

There are bill signings, and there are bill signings. The one for House Bill 1472 was one of the grander affairs of its kind, held “off campus” at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle and bringing together teachers, students and high-tech execs (and Gov. Inslee, of course: he brought the pen). All those folks wanted to demonstrate their support for the bill, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, which calls for school boards to approve an Advanced Placement computer-science course as … Continue reading

McCleary NOT about education reform

May 16, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

McCleary NOT about education reform

Senate leaders held a media availability this week to outline what’s on their table for discussion during the special session. According to a tweet from Melissa Santos with the News Tribune, the Senate argues that the McCleary decision is a mandate for education reform as well as an education funding mandate. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Reps. Mike Sells and Hans Dunshee op-ed in the Everett Herald

May 11, 2013 - Reps. Mike Sells & Hans Dunshee

Reps. Mike Sells and Hans Dunshee op-ed in the Everett Herald

Funding education: Closing tax loopholes is not increasing taxes Corporate tax breaks or your children’s and grandchildren’s future. The ability to grow jobs and compete economically with a well-trained and educated workforce, or continuing outdated tax loopholes to special interests with highly paid lobbyists. Those are our choices. A tax break is an advantage the government gives to a business so it can employ more people. We’re talking about a two-way street, an agreement with the same goal in mind: … Continue reading

Pettigrew’s nominee wins Legislature’s Civic Educator of the Year Award

May 9, 2013 - Rep. Eric Pettigrew

During Civic Education Day at the state capitol, South Lake High School teacher Web Hutchins received the state’s top honor for civic education. Hutchins was nominated for the award by State Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle). “Hutch’s teaching model exemplifies how innovative techniques and civic engagement can reach our students in new ways – even those who are struggling most,” said Rep. Pettigrew. “It’s why I nominated him, and it’s why the Civics Consortium selected him as this year’s Civic Educator … Continue reading

Governor signs Bergquist bill encouraging community service

May 9, 2013 - Rep. Steve Bergquist

Governor signs Bergquist bill encouraging community service

With two high school students at the ceremony, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation by Rep. Steve Bergquist (D-Renton) that’s meant to strengthen the bonds between students and their local community. “Everybody who gets a high school diploma should be a good student, a hard worker – and also a good citizen,” said Bergquist, a teacher in the Renton public schools. “Lighting a spark in our students, that sense of community, the joy of making connections with neighbors and new friends … Continue reading

2013 Regular Session Victories

April 29, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

2013 Regular Session Victories

Education – Early Learning through Higher Education Integrating early learning (HB 1723) – Creates a framework for developing an integrated, high quality early learning continuum for low-income children ages birth to 5. Reforming Working Connections Child Care (SB 5595) – Develops user-friendly customer service and creates a legislative task force to develop recommendations to transition the program to a high quality, integrated, early- education oriented service. State-Tribal education compacts (HB 1134) – Allows OSPI (rather than the State itself) to … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update for April 28, 2013

April 28, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update for April 28, 2013

The Legislative Session ends today, but we will be going into overtime to continue budget negotiations and reach consensus between the House, Senate and Governor Inslee.   As we move through special session, I’ll continue to fight for a responsible budget that funds our state’s priorities such as education, health care, jobs and economic opportunity. Watch my latest Legislative Update for a quick summary of what we’ve done so far and what lies ahead. Closing Tax Loopholes The looming special session … Continue reading

1,000 teachers rally in Olympia

April 27, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

1,000 teachers rally in Olympia

Over 1,000 teachers from the Washington Education Association rallied in Olympia today in support of public schools. Several members of our caucus were on hand to show our support for fully funding education. Negotiators from our caucus, the Senate Republican Caucus, and the Governor’s office are meeting daily to develop a compromise operating budget. Rhetoric aside, all budgets need at least 25 votes in the Senate and 50 votes in the House before they can be sent to the Governor … Continue reading

Rep.Mike Sells Legislative Update for April 26,2013

April 26, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep.Mike Sells Legislative Update for April 26,2013

The session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday, April 28. However, we will be going into overtime to continue budget negotiations and reach consensus between the House, Senate and Governor Inslee. Are certain tax exemptions more important than educating our kids?  On Wednesday, we answered that question when we approved a bill that closed or modified ten outdated and ineffective tax loopholes in order to fund our children’s education. This generated about $900 million for smaller class sizes, full-day kindergarten … Continue reading

Applications available for Legislative Youth Council

April 23, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Applications available for Legislative Youth Council

If you’re a teen, chances are you can’t afford a lobbyist to represent your interests in Olympia, but laws passed under the Capitol dome have an impact on your life just the same. Wanting to hear from Washington’s young residents, legislators passed SB 5254 in 2005, which created the Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) to: Examine issues of importance to youth, including but not limited to education, employment, strategies to increase youth participation in state and municipal government, safe environments … Continue reading

Encouraging high-schoolers to study computer science

April 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The demand for computer programmers exceeds the supply available to businesses in Washington that want to hire them. That’s an opportunity that high-school students should take advantage of as they think about their future careers. But at the same time, they need to make sure they complete all the courses required for a high-school diploma. Thanks to a bill by Rep. Drew Hansen that’s nearing final legislative approval, it could soon be easier for high-schoolers to satisfy both those goals. … Continue reading

Greetings From Olympia: An Update from Representative Marcus Riccelli

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Greetings From Olympia: An Update from Representative Marcus Riccelli

House Budget Proposals Released There are only 11 days left in the legislative session, and we have a lot to accomplish before we can head back home. At the top of that list is finalizing the three budgets that keep the wheels turning in Washington and invest in our future: the operating, capital, and transportation budgets. When the transportation budget passed out of the House yesterday, I brought forward an amendment to ensure that savings on the North South Corridor be retained … Continue reading

Clean energy solutions coming to a school near you!

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Clean energy solutions coming to a school near you!

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced today that 28 school districts around the state will collectively receive $20 million to improve energy efficiency in public schools. Seattle Public Schools will receive $500,000. From today’s news release: The award is part of a $40 million commitment by the state Legislature to help schools produce long-term energy and operational savings, improve the indoor environmental qualities of schools and help stimulate construction-industry jobs in the state. “We’re pleased with the … Continue reading

Boost for computer-science education gets green light in Senate

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Drew Hansen

Boost for computer-science education gets green light in Senate

High-school students would gain an added incentive to take computer-science courses and prepare for 21st-century jobs under a bill by Rep. Drew Hansen that won overwhelming bipartisan approval Tuesday in the state Senate. “This bill will help students train for high-paying jobs in the technology industry and start addressing our state’s computer programmer shortage,” Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, said.

Youth-suicide prevention plan gets boost from Senate approval

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Youth-suicide prevention plan gets boost from Senate approval

Bill by Rep. Orwall strengthens efforts to aid troubled teens A comprehensive plan to help troubled teens and reduce youth suicide won approval in the state Senate earlier this week as House Bill 1336 moved closer to final legislative passage. “This bill is about making sure our educators have the tools they need to recognize warning signs and identify students with emotional issues so they can refer them for the help they need,” said Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, the … Continue reading

Senate Budget – Unconstitutional Fund Transfer?

April 10, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

In the Senate Republican budget they transfer $166 million of the “Common School Construction Fund” into the operating budget. The Treasurer does not believe he has the constitutional authority to make this transfer and has said so publicly. The Senate Republicans are waving a letter from their staff attorney that says it’s all right. I’m not a lawyer, but the arguments from the Senate staff sounded like counting angels dancing on the head of pins. The constitutional language in question … Continue reading

Week 12 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

April 10, 2013 - Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Week 12 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

Greetings from Olympia! Week 12 of the 2013 legislative session is behind us, and what a week it was! The Senate released a budget proposal, following Governor Inslee’s roll-out of his plan the week before. With these two budgets out, it’s now the House’s turn, and we introduced our proposal today. In the next few weeks budget writers from both chambers will work toward a compromise budget that will support schools, public safety, and other vital state services for the … Continue reading

House budget proposal best for schools

April 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House budget proposal best for schools

The state will step up to its responsibility to educate public-school students and will make sure college graduates are ready for high-demand jobs under the budget proposal released by the House Democratic majority on Wednesday. The budget proposal authored by House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina, dedicates more new funding to education than either of the budget plans released earlier by the Senate Republicans or Gov. Inslee. “This is an honest, straightforward budget that meets our constitutional obligation to our … Continue reading

House doubles up on education

April 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House doubles up on education

House Democrats unveiled a state budget that funds education without shredding the safety net for kids, seniors, the blind, and disabled – and without resorting to accounting tricks or one-time spending. Education The budget set the high-water mark for education spending, adding $1.3 billion over predicted spending on public schools. If you compared total education spending to the current budget, the House proposal spends $1.9 billion more than the status quo. Gov. Jay Inslee proposed putting $1.2 billion more toward … Continue reading

Senate Budget: Bad for Kids, Families, and Our Future

April 8, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Senate Budget: Bad for Kids, Families, and Our Future

Top 10 Reasons the Senate Budget is bad for Kids, Middle Class Families and Our Future 15 NEW tax loopholes; zero eliminated – The Senate plans to add 15 new tax breaks while not eliminating even one existing corporate giveaway.

Rainier Beach Basketball Team Visits Legislature

April 5, 2013 - Rep. Eric Pettigrew

Rainier Beach Basketball Team Visits Legislature

Last week, the Rainier Beach basketball team, led by their coach, Mike “Falcon Eddie” Bethea, came to accept a resolution honoring their team,  their winning record and their academic success! Rainier Beach High School is in the 37th Legislative District, represented by Eric Pettigrew and Sharon Tomiko Santos. The team won the 2013 3A State Championship Title, scoring 62-59 against Lakeside High School.  The House Democractic Caucus congratulated the team on their State Title and outstanding sportsmanship.  In a school with many academic … Continue reading

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

April 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

Throughout the fall we heard about the Republican “War on Women” and the middle class. On Wednesday that battle continued with the roll out of the Republican Senate’s proposed $33.2 billion operating budget. Though there were some highlights, thanks to the work of Sen. Jim Hargrove and Sen. Sharon Nelson, the proposal still cuts millions from vital state services while protecting loopholes for powerful corporate interests. Touted as a “no new taxes” budget, Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill (R-Kirkland) … Continue reading

Let’s tell the truth: taxes are low — and education creates jobs

April 2, 2013 - Rep. Tami Green

Let’s tell the truth: taxes are low — and education creates jobs

by Rep. Tami Green Some myths never die. Unlike urban legends about what happens when you put a Twinkie in a microwave, myths about government and taxes actually do real damage to real people. There’s a good post here (The $2 billion budget myth) that’s worth reading to understand what the fight about the budget is about. It’s misleading to say that everything is fine because state revenues are up $2 billion. Revenues are only up from the depths of … Continue reading

Columbian: Highest success rate out of all freshmen House Democrats

April 2, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Columbian: Highest success rate out of all freshmen House Democrats

House Democrats were pleased to welcome nine new members to the Legislature this session, and they didn’t waste any time getting to work. A story in today’s Columbian highlights freshman Rep. Monica Stonier’s near perfect success record for moving her bills out of the House. Although as she states in the article, near perfect isn’t good enough for her. Rep. Stonier’s goal is to go nine for nine by the end of the session. From Lucas Wiseman with The Columbian: … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 11, 2013

Dear neighbors, These last few days have been long with late evenings and even Saturday working to pass bills on the Floor. But we have to do it this way. If we stuck to a 9-5 schedule, chances are we’d run out of time and many bills would die.  While it may seem like many of the bills we pass are unimportant to some people, they are vital to the folks who are affected by those legislations.  Passage of some … Continue reading

Reykdal measures heading to the Senate

March 11, 2013 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Reykdal measures heading to the Senate

The House of Representatives has approved a batch of bills introduced by Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) ahead of Wednesday’s critical House of Origin cut-off. Covering a range of issues with statewide significance, the measures will now head to the Senate. On Friday, the House approved Rep. Reykdal’s innovative approach to drop-out prevention. The bill creates a pilot program partnering community based organizations, like food banks and small farms, with school districts to target at-risk youth. Under the direction of the … Continue reading

Stonier education bills approved by the House

March 8, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Stonier education bills approved by the House

The state House of Representatives devoted much of the Friday’s floor schedule working on education bills. State Representative Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) was successful in getting three of her education bills approved by the House. “I am honored to be working on behalf of kids in schools across the state,” said Stonier. “I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve our schools and making higher education more affordable.”

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 8, 2013

Dear Neighbors, House policy committees did not meet last week, but legislators were busy hearing bills in the House fiscal committees.  Bills were required to pass out of these committees by Friday, March 1, if they were to remain in play this year – unless they are budget-related. This week we’ve been on the floor of the House voting on legislation every day, potentially including Saturday and Sunday.  It’s the only way we can get as much done as possible … Continue reading

Rep. Luis Moscoso’s Legislative Update – March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013 - Rep. Luis Moscoso

Dear Neighbors, Since my last update the legislative process has progressed past two sets of deadlines that bills must survive to continue being considered. Now, my colleagues and I are spending our days (and many nights) on the floor of the House debating and voting on amendments and bills. I’d like to take this opportunity to go over some of the more noteworthy legislation we’re discussing during these long days. Education My House colleagues and I are focused on improving schools to build a better … Continue reading

House approves another round of education bills

March 8, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House approves another round of education bills

Education was the main focus of the Legislature this week. While the Senate was passing bills that would grade schools, hold back third-graders, and reform the recently-reformed teacher/principal evaluation system, the House is taking a student-centered approach to education policy. “Our priorities are clearly best for all kids and our public schools,” said Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton). “The House is focused on support for quality teaching and learning. We’re working on strategic policy and budget decisions that make significant investments … Continue reading

House approves package of Haigh bills

March 8, 2013 - Rep Kathy Haigh

House approves package of Haigh bills

As a critical deadline approaches, the House of Representatives has approved a number of measures introduced by Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-Shelton). Covering issues ranging from high school dropouts to local cemeteries – the bills target growing problems not only in the 35th Legislative District, but across the state. On Friday, the House took action on Rep. Haigh’s landmark dropout prevention bill. The legislation would provide families, schools and communities with the tools they need to increase the number of on-time … Continue reading

Washington schools could suffer under sequestration

March 5, 2013 - Rep. Larry Seaquist

Washington schools could suffer under sequestration

Automatic federal budget cuts kicked in on Friday as a result of Congress’ failure to reach a compromise spending plan. While programs like Social Security and Medicare will largely go untouched, many other areas of federal spending could see spending reductions. According to White House estimates, Washington state could lose $11.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education as a result of sequestration.

House OKs continuation of the Urban School Turnaround Initiative

March 4, 2013 - Rep. Eric Pettigrew

House OKs continuation of the Urban School Turnaround Initiative

In last year’s supplemental budget, the legislature allocated funds to accelerate student learning and target the achievement gap through research-based techniques in two Seattle schools. Aki Kurose Middle School Academy and Rainier Beach High School, both located in Seattle, received $1 million grants to be spent in the 2012-2013 school year. Each school was required to submit a spending plan for the grant funds, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction was charged with monitoring the activities of … Continue reading

House passes Orwall’s troubled youth legislation

March 4, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

House passes Orwall’s troubled youth legislation

This afternoon, on a 90-8 vote, the Washington State House of Representatives passed a measure that would increase the capacity for school districts to recognize and respond to troubled youth.  “This bill will give our schools basic skills and tools to identify early signs of troubled students and make sure they get referred for help,” said Rep. Tina Orwall  (D-Des Moines) the bill’s prime sponsor, who authored another suicide prevention measure last year. “This bill will ensure that our schools … Continue reading

Maxwell earns “Legislative Advocate of the Year” award

March 4, 2013 - Rep. Marcie Maxwell

Maxwell earns “Legislative Advocate of the Year” award

State Representative Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) was recently honored as the Legislative Advocate of the Year by the Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA). Maxwell serves as the Deputy Majority Leader for Education & Opportunity in the House of Representatives. The organization, which represents the certificated professional school counselors who work in public and private schools, cited Maxwell’s “tireless advocacy” for improving public education for all students and efforts to allocate more resources for school counseling.

My position on education funding

March 2, 2013 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

Funding education is the single most important investment we can make in our state’s future. In recent years, due in part to our state’s budgetary woes, we have failed to adequately fund education, and our public schools have been the target of devastating cuts. The current funding crisis was highlighted by our state Supreme Court in the McCleary decision, which identified Washington’s failure to fulfill its constitutional duty to adequately fund basic education. Our children have a constitutional right to … Continue reading

Rep. Sam Hunt’s Electronic Newsletter – February 22, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. San Hunt

We began this week at the Legislature by celebrating Children’s Day, a yearly tradition in the House of Representatives that usually coincides with the Presidents’ Day holiday. With many children out of school for the holiday, we invite them to join us as we recognize the special place children hold in our communities, and the hopes and dreams they symbolize for a better future.  That future depends on the work we do here in the Legislature, and Children’s Day reminds us that … Continue reading

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-newsletter for Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. Mary Helen Roberts

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-newsletter for Feb. 25, 2013

Last week the Legislature celebrated Children’s Day, a yearly tradition in the House of Representatives that usually coincides with the Presidents’ Day holiday. With many children out of school for the holiday, we invite them to join us as we recognize the special place children hold in our communities, and the hopes and dreams they symbolize for a better future. That future depends on the work we do here in the Legislature, and Children’s Day reminds us that every decision we make affects future generations.

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb. 25, 2013

What are you doing this Wednesday evening? If you’re home and have the time, I hope you will join our telephone town hall. Households across the 19th Legislative District will receive a phone call at around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27 from me, Representative Dean Takko and Senator Brian Hatfield, inviting you to join our one-hour town hall-style discussion. We held a similar one last year and 7,500 of you participated, so we decided to repeat the experience. If … Continue reading

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for February 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for February 22, 2013

It’s been a busy week in the Legislature.  Today is our first cut-off, which is the last day a policy bill can be considered in committee in its house of origin.  Fiscal bills get an extra week beyond that – the fiscal bill deadline is next Friday, March 1st.   The session follows a cut-off calendar, which determines the deadlines for public hearings and executive action on bills, as well as floor action in both the House and Senate.

Rep. Luis Moscoso’s Legislative Update – Feb 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 - Rep. Luis Moscoso

Rep. Luis Moscoso’s Legislative Update – Feb 22, 2013

Dear Neighbors, The last two weeks have been busy here in the legislature, but these weeks were not without moments of reflection and remembrance.  On February 13, members of the House and Senate held a Joint Session to honor former legislators who have passed away in the last two years. I took the opportunity to remember former Representative Jeanne Edwards, who I knew and worked with when she was in the House. You can read about her in this June … Continue reading

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 22, 2013

February 22, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 22, 2013

Dear Neighbors, It has been another busy week in the legislature, but also a week with moments of reflection and remembrance.  On February 13, members of the House and Senate joined together for a Joint Legislative Session in the Senate chambers to honor former legislators who have passed away in the last two years. A poignant moment for me was memorializing my friend and former colleague, Sen. Scott White, who passed away in 2011.  It was a time to contemplate … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb 19, 2013

February 19, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb 19, 2013

Mark your calendar: 19th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall on February 27 at 6 pm. You may get a call from us around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, inviting you to join our telephone town hall.  State Representative Dean Takko, Senator Brian Hatfield and I will host a one-hour town hall-style discussion with those of you who choose to stay on the line and participate. The last time we did one of these, around 7,500 of you joined the … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, Feb. 15, 2013

February 15, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, Feb. 15, 2013

What’s Important This Session I was on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” last week. We discussed the injured workers insurance that Republicans want to cut, which have no effect on the Operating Budget.  I stressed that we should concentrate on funding education and supporting families in time of need. Focusing on the 27,000 homeless students in our state, families struggling to make ends meet, and our employers getting the skilled workers they need should not be a partisan issue. Instead of working … Continue reading

Rep. Kagi discusses early learning on KUOW’s The Conversation

February 15, 2013 - waldrefj

Rep. Kagi discusses early learning on KUOW’s The Conversation

What’s up with early learning funding here in Washington, and how do we measure up against other states?  Why should the state invest in early learning programs?  Rep. Kagi talks with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds on The Conversation, and mentions her proposal to create a birth-to-five early learning continuum funded by money from Initiative 502.  That proposal has a public hearing today at 1:30 p.m. in the House Early Learning and Human Services committee. You can read the article and hear … Continue reading

Week 4 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

February 14, 2013 - Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Week 4 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

Dear Friends: Greetings from Olympia! It is such a privilege to represent you, and I’d like to update you on some of the work I’ve been doing. I serve on the Early Learning and Human Services Committee, the Environment Committee, and the Transportation Committee, and I’m working hard to provide great educational opportunities for our kids, protect our environment, and ensure we have a strong economy. I’m the prime sponsor on bills that will protect children’s privacy, help make more land available … Continue reading

Haigh dropout prevention bill receives support in House hearing

February 12, 2013 - toyrab

Haigh dropout prevention bill receives support in House hearing

Members of the House Education Committee heard testimony from students, parents and educators alike in favor of Representative Kathy Haigh’s (D-Shelton) landmark dropout prevention legislation. “No school in Washington has been immune from the dropout epidemic,” said Rep. Haigh. “Rural or urban, east or west, small or large- every school in Washington has seen a student fall through the cracks.” Rep. Haigh pointed to data from her own district. Last school year Shelton Senior High School’s adjusted on-time graduation rate … Continue reading

Reykdal bill partners school districts, communities to curb dropouts

February 12, 2013 - toyrab

State Representative Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) was joined by students, educators and community leaders in support of House Bill 1276 at a public hearing on the measure in the House Education Committee today. The bill creates a pilot program partnering community based organizations, like food banks and small farms, with school districts to target at-risk youth. Under the direction of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the groups would develop an alternative high school program to complement traditional schooling. … Continue reading

Legislative Update from Rep. Dawn Morrell

February 11, 2013 - toyrab

Legislative Update from Rep. Dawn Morrell

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be back down in Olympia fighting for 25th district families on the issues important to us. Believe it or not, we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session and I have much to bring you up-to-speed on! I was sworn-in back on January 14th and it’s been a whirlwind of committee meetings, constituent appointments, caucus meetings and floor action since. This session I serve as chair of the Appropriations … Continue reading

Opportunity for all

February 11, 2013 - Rep. Steve Bergquist

Opportunity for all

by Rep. Steve Bergquist As a teacher in our public schools, I know that money doesn’t solve every problem – but a severe lack of funding for Washington schools is standing in the way of what our students need. Wealthy special interests have an army of lobbyists and think tanks pushing hard for their paramount duty: protecting tax breaks for the rich. Sick, hungry and homeless kids can’t learn Let me tell you about one of my students. Jonathan went … Continue reading

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 8, 2013

February 8, 2013 - nietol

Rep. Orwall’s E-Newsletter for February 8, 2013

Dear Neighbors, Believe it or not, we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session.  Only 11 more weeks to go!  The session follows a cut-off calendar, which determines the deadlines for public hearings and executive action on bills, as well as floor action in both the House and Senate. We are coming up on our first cut-off, February 22, which is the last day a policy bill can be considered in committee in its house of origin.  Fiscal … Continue reading

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-Newsletter for Feb 8, 2013

February 8, 2013 - nietol

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-Newsletter for Feb 8, 2013

Dear neighbors, It’s hard to believe we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session. Only 11 more weeks to go! The session follows a cut-off calendar, which determines the deadlines for public hearings and executive action on bills, as well as floor action in both the House and Senate. We are coming up on our first cut-off, February 22, which is the last day a policy bill can be considered in committee in its house of origin. Fiscal …