Dear friends and neighbors,
COVID-19 has taken a tremendous toll on all of us, but none more so than our students. As the mom of a Kindergartener at John Hay Elementary in Queen Anne, prioritizing getting our kids back on track was personal to me.
That’s why I am proud that the legislature passed these critical education measures:
HB 1664 Funds more nurses, counselors, and social workers for Washington schools.
HB 1878 Expands free school meals to more than 92,000 students.
HB 1153 Increases language access and family engagement in K-12 education.
HB 1834 Allows students to take excused absences to preserve their mental health.
HB 2078 Expands access to outdoor school programs.
HB 1590 Stabilizes school funding for districts most affected by the pandemic.
We also built upon the historic investments we made last year, by dedicating over $800 million to provide our students a world-class education that is safe, full-staffed, and meets their needs, including:
- $388M to stabilize enrollment, transportation, and learning assistance program funding.
- $236M to provide cost-of-living adjustments for our teachers and education professionals.
- $100M for seismic upgrades to keep our schools safe.
- $91M for additional K-12 school nurses, counselors, and social workers.
- $44M to improve student nutrition.
- $10M to expand opportunities for outdoor school programs.
Prioritizing Early Learning & Childcare
My daughter Eleanor is two years old and our family knows first-hand that accessible childcare is an essential part of keeping our economy moving. When parents have access to safe, affordable childcare, they’re able to get back to work, pursue higher education, and engage fully with their communities.
Last year, we passed the Fair Start for Kids Act to address the childcare crisis, promote racial equity, and make childcare more affordable for Washington families. This session, we continued those groundbreaking efforts by accelerating implementation and improving the system to work for everyone. I was honored to lead efforts to expand access to Washington’s historic Paid Family & Medical Leave Program to ensure that caregivers could take time to care for their loved ones when they need it most.
As Co-Chair of the House Moms’ Caucus, I also worked with my colleagues to secure:
- Monthly diaper subsidies for low-income families (SB 5838)
- Insurance coverage for donor breast milk (SB 5702)
- Improved access to birth doulas (HB 1881)
- Greater access to prenatal care (SB 5765)
- $13M to expand Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program slots
- $48.5M in capital funding to purchase and construct early learning facilities
- $500K for Parent Support Warm Lines
- $320K for parent navigators to support incarcerated parents & their children
It is an honor to represent you in Olympia. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me anytime if I can be of assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Representative Liz Berry
36th Legislative District