In a quick session, it is difficult to get everything done that you want to. I’m proud to share that despite time limitations, I was able to ensure unique and important solutions to many challenges that are facing the 41st Legislative District and our state.
A creative solution for individuals with developmental disabilities
I’m happy to report that the Legislature passed House Bill 2448, my bill which provides a creative solution to address the concerns of families across the state who care for an adult child with developmental disabilities (DD). At the same time, it addresses part of the unmet need for community supportive living.
Many aging parents of adults with developmental disabilities are concerned about what will happen to their children in the future. This bill establishes a win-win solution, creating a real estate excise tax exemption for families that donate their homes to residential supported living nonprofits while providing a guarantee that their adult child can live in the familiarity and comfort of their home for life. This solution doesn’t impact an individual’s eligibility for services and the supportive living capacity of our state is expanded for decades to come.
Now that the Governor has signed this bill into law, families will have peace of mind, persons with developmental disabilities will have more stable housing options, and supportive living capacity across the state will see a much-needed increase—all with zero impact to the state budget.
Investing in education
After several years of work on education funding reform, we have completed the puzzle. Last year, the legislature enacted a budget that invests $7 billion in new education funding over the next few years. However, the courts weren’t totally satisfied, instead setting an earlier deadline for us to meet our obligations. I’m pleased to report this year’s budget meets the Court’s goal and will put the McCleary lawsuit behind us once and for all.
Beyond that big victory, there were several educational efforts I spearheaded this session in the budget. I successfully added language that will:
- Provide funding to ensure our state’s students receive medically and scientifically accurate, age-appropriate and inclusive sexual health education.
- Increase equity in and access to highly capable programs for all high-achieving students across the state.
- Create a workgroup to review educational needs for students in juvenile justice settings.
- Increase childcare capacity by funding the development of small business training for childcare businesses.
While we have met our McCleary obligations, I will continue my to work add mental health counselors and nurses, as well as social emotional learning, to every school!
Reforming the State Building Code Council & Condo Liability
The State Building Code Council serves an important function in developing health and safety codes needed for a strong built environment. As directed by the legislature, the Council also adopts codes to increase energy efficiency by 2030.
With the current housing, school construction and technology boom—and growing awareness of earthquake dangers in our area—this is the time to ensure our state has the appropriate resources to put the necessary building codes in place.
While the council performs a critical function, their funding has not increased since 1989. In order to balance needed reforms and increased funding, I helped bring diverse stakeholders together—builders and business, architects and labor, environmentalists and building code council members—to find solutions. The result was House Bill 1622, which strikes a delicate balance between new reforms and permit fee increases to support the Council. The key reform laid out in the bill is to require economic analysis on proposed codes, while the modest fee increase is a modest step toward sustainable funding.
Unfortunately, my bill to remove some of the liability barriers to building affordable condominiums did not pass. As our state continues to struggle with the increased costs of housing, I will continue to champion legislation to promote affordable housing solutions.
Thanks for your continued interest in our work in Olympia this past session and I look forward to seeing you around the district.
Rep. Tana Senn