Another week in Olympia and it’s been full of new experiences. I appeared on a podcast, passed my first bill from the House, and went on official tours in our district as your state representative.
My Visit to Saghalie Middle School & Federal Way Senior Center
The best part of being on the House Capital Budget committee is the opportunity to visit my neighbors and learn about their local projects. Last Friday, I was fortunate to tour Saghalie Middle School with staff from the Governor’s office to learn about the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) regional education efforts under their TAF Academy program. It is exciting to see Federal Way Public Schools’ vision in expanding educational opportunities for youth in our district and helping think about the workforce and industry needs that will help build a stronger economy in South King County. On Friday, I also toured the Federal Way Senior Center Campus and learned about their collaborative effort to redesign their facilities in order to better serve the needs of our seniors. I am working hard on advocating for the funding needed to support our community’s needs in the State’s Capital Budget.
I got roasted working to improve credit unions in Washington
Passing my very first bill off the House floor was an amazing experience. So many working families made the move from corporate banks to local credit unions after the Great Recession. While others just trust people who have been long-standing members of their community. My first bill should help those credit unions thrive. The bill was simple and essentially provides more flexibility to credit unions in keeping up to date with federal laws and removes unnecessary regulations and requirements.
However, there’s a funny tradition in the House. Apparently, when a member passes their first bill, a bunch of the other members stand up and try to be funny, and then they vote against it until the last second. I stood up and gave a short speech about the importance of helping credit unions so they can better serve their customers and then the Roast of Kristine Reeves began. Here are a few sample quotes from my colleagues giving me a hard time:
Rep. Jessyn Farrell: “The good lady from the 30th, I’ve heard her say she’s a working mom…and this bill just adds more meetings and as a working mom, I just don’t have time for that.”
Rep. Steve Kirby: “There has been a horrible mistake. This went through the committee that I chair and I’m sorry, this is all my fault. I thought we were passing a bill about the Credit ONION act and this is way different!”
Luckily, after the jokers had their fun, the whole House had a laugh and passed the bill 96-1. You can read the bill online here.
Introducing the “Wounded Warrior” Shared Leave Act
I’m continuing to work on efforts that affect service members and veterans. This week I proposed new legislation that would help those service members and veterans who work for the state by allowing them access to the uniformed service shared leave pool. This shared leave is available to service members, veterans, and their spouses but not until after the standard six month probationary period. If you have an injury or other condition, or need to visit Veterans’ Affairs, you’re forced to take unpaid leave.
Our service members deserve better, so my bill removes that limitation on their ability to partake in the shared leave available to other uniformed service members and veterans. These folks don’t need an arbitrary rule to deny them care they deserve.
One of the best parts of the job is when people come from Federal Way, Milton, or Auburn and visit my office. Constituent visits are the best! If you find yourself in Olympia, please stop by and say hello. If you can’t come for a visit, but have questions or ideas you want to share, please reach out and leave a message for either my assistant, Breann, or myself. It’s my pleasure to serve you.