SAVE THE DATES!
Please join me, along with Senator Marko Liias and Representative Strom Peterson at two town hall meetings coming up this week.
TELEPHONE TOWN HALL: Thursday, February 15th at 6 PM
Calls will go out to thousands of homes throughout the 21st legislative district. When you pick up, you’ll be able to listen live and ask us a question. If you don’t get a call but want to participate, please call 877-229-8493 and use ID Code 116357
You can also live-stream it at: https://vekeo.com/whdc21/
DISTRICT TOWN HALL: Saturday, February 17th at 11 AM at Meadowdale High School (6002 168th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98037)
We want to give you an update on the current legislative session, and we also want to take your questions–both over the phone on the 15th and in person on the 17th–on issues that matter to you, such as education funding, healthcare, public safety, transportation, the environment, the economy and the state budgets.
A quick update on my bills
HB 1298 – Passed the House Feb 7 on a 52-46 vote / The Fair Chance Act would prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal background until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. For more information on this legislation, you can read a couple of stories that recently ran in the Seattle Weekly and the News Tribune.
HB 1377 – Passed the House Feb 9 on a 64-34 vote / School counselors don’t get professional development to update them on best practices, even though they are often the first people that come in contact with students in need. This student mental health bill promotes collaboration between school districts with mental
|health centers and local licensed mental health services. It also convenes a task force to study the need of school counselors, psychologists, and social workers, and look at alternative certification routes.
HB 1618 – Passed the House Jan 24 on a 95-1 vote / Parent Engagement Coordinators: this bill will remove barriers for families who want to be more involved in their child’s learning by increasing the number of family and community engagement coordinators in schools.
HB 2590 – Passed the House Feb 8 on a 63-34 vote / This legislation requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Professional Educator Standards Board to compile specific information related to staffing the Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program.
HB 2685 – Passed the House unanimously on Feb 7 / We must ensure we have opportunities for people who don’t want to pursue a four-year college degree. This bill promotes preapprenticeship programs for high school students. These education-based programs focus on training students to meet or exceed minimum qualifications for entry into apprenticeship programs upon graduation.
HB 2686 – Passed the House Feb 9 on a 77-21 vote / This measure establishes additional minimum content requirements for High School and Beyond Plans (HSBPs). It requires school districts to provide a HSBP to students’ parents or guardians in the top two non-English languages spoken by students in the district.
HB 2861 – Passed the House Feb 12 on a 70-27 vote / I was moved by the stories I heard from parents whose kids had been kicked out of numerous childcare centers. So I sponsored this bill that will convene advisory group tasked with developing a five-year strategy to expand training in trauma-informed childcare and reduce childcare expulsions. The goal is to ensure that access to trauma-informed care isn’t reliant on where people live or the resources they have available. Developing the curriculum and training needed for our childcare providers will enable them to deliver the appropriate services to our little ones.
Getting toxic chemicals out of food packaging
Almost 100 percent of the population is carrying around perfluorinated chemicals inside their bodies- including you, me, and probably everyone we know. These toxic chemicals, found in the wrappers of microwave popcorn, fast food, butter and muffins, among other things, get into the food and can cause health concerns ranging from cancer and developmental toxicity to the disruption of hormones. They’re also ending up in our environment, where they’re getting into water, fish and wildlife – even into our soil.
Many companies are already using alternatives to remove them from food packaging. I am supporting House Bill 2658 to place restrictions on the use of PFAS chemicals in food packaging beginning in 2022.
The American Public Health Association and over 200 scientists from 38 countries are calling for an end to the use of PFAS chemicals. It’s time our state listened and took this important step.
Expanding the current and future educator workforce supply
Schools across the state are struggling to hire teachers. With a rapidly growing population and limited numbers of people entering the profession, there’s just not enough teachers to go around. Some school districts have resorted to attending hiring fairs out of state just to find teachers for our local schools.
To address this crisis, I worked alongside the chair of the Education Committee on House Bill 1827, which integrates strategies that improve and incentivize recruiting and retaining efforts, provide mentoring, collaboration, and other professional development opportunities to strengthen our educator workforce. Recruiting and retaining good teachers is key to close the opportunity gap.
This measure passed the House on a 97-1 vote last week, and we expect the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee to schedule it for a hearing soon.
Every student deserves a high-quality teacher in the classroom. This bill puts us one step closer on the path toward an effective, long-term solution.
Housing solution for individuals with developmental disabilities
Parents of adults with developmental disabilities are concerned about what will happen to their children in the future. They want to ensure they are taken care of and have a safe, stable place to live. Unfortunately, due to limitations to what a person can have in assets and still receive services, these parents do not have the option to leave their homes to their children with developmental disabilities.
This session I am supporting a creative solution (HB 2448) that will provide a real estate excise tax exemption for families that donate their homes to residential supported living nonprofits. A guarantee will allow their child to continue to live in the home, as well as keep the home for supportive living for decades to come. It will provide aging parents with peace of mind, provide stability for the person with developmental disabilities, and increase much-needed supportive living capacity across the state.
Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. As we approach the end of this legislative session, it is important that I hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to contact my office with your comments and questions, or take advantage of our two town hall meetings this week to let me know what’s on your mind.