Investing in All Washington Families
Last week, we unveiled our budget proposal for the 2018 supplemental budget. The supplemental budget adjusts the biennial budget we passed last year. It is also an opportunity to improve in areas that need more investments. I’m happy to report that we are proposing to increase funding for public schools, mental health services, college financial aid, and we also provide $1 billion in property tax cuts for families across Washington state.
Learn more about how we are putting people first and making investments that will benefit families across the state in this week’s GoodMinute.
Protecting victims of abuse from workplace discrimination
No one should lose their job because they are victims of abuse. Unfortunately, some still do. HB 2661 prohibits businesses from firing or otherwise discriminating against employees because they are a domestic violence or sexual assault victim. The bill also requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for safety if requested by an employee who is a survivor.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are too common in our society. A key to getting out of an abusive situation is economic stability. HB 2661 provides a tool for economic security so that women can remove themselves from dangerous situations.
Car Seat Safety
If you have young children and a car, you may be one of the many parents who hope they are using the child’s car seat appropriately, but are not 100 percent sure. Current laws on how and when a child must be restrained while traveling in a car are not specific enough and can be confusing, which often leads to parents moving their children out of their restraints too early.
I supported House Bill 1188 to give parents more detailed information so they can be sure not only that they’re following the law correctly—since failure to comply is a primary offense—but also to have peace of mind that their precious cargo is traveling safely.
We passed this bill out of the House on a strong, bipartisan vote of 64-30, and it is now being considered in the Senate.
Banning lunch shaming in Washington schools
Children should not go hungry or be humiliated because they cannot afford lunch that day. Yet lawmakers have heard reports of “lunch shaming” in some schools.
Lunch shaming is when students are singled out in the cafeteria for not being able to pay for their meal or having an outstanding meal debt. In some schools, students are given a cheap replacement meal, like a cold cheese sandwich in a paper bag, distinguishing it from the meals served to other students. There are also reports of students having their meals taken away and thrown out when it is discovered they cannot pay or being sent home with conspicuous debt reminders, such as hand stamps.
It’s time we take steps to ensure our school districts are not stigmatizing kids and that our state’s students are getting the nutrition they need to succeed. That’s why I am supporting the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights, sponsored by my colleague Rep. Strom Peterson. The bill bans lunch shaming and requires schools to provide healthy, balanced meals to students, regardless of their ability to pay.
I’m happy to report the bill passed out of the House and is now be considered in the Senate.
Look for more updates coming soon and please, feel free to reach out if you have questions, comments, or ideas.
All best wishes,
Representative, 45th District
Washington State Legislature