Dear friends and neighbors,

The 2018 short session is flying by with many exciting bills making their way through the process. This past week, House Bill 1060 passed the house floor on a 67-27 vote. Ducky’s bill, as I call it, was brought to me by a parent who could legally not administer medical marijuana to his epileptic child (nicknamed Ducky) while at school – a medication used to stymie her seizures.

Ducky’s bill will protect medical caregivers, in areas where they were not previously, to ensure patients receive the treatment they need.


Save the date: Telephone Town Hall This Tuesday

Please join Senator Takko and me at our 19th Legislative District telephone town hall on Tuesday, February 6, from 6:05 to 7:05 pm.

tele town hall

Calls will go out to thousands of homes throughout the 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: 116278

You can also live-stream the event at: https://vekeo.com/whdc19/

We want to give you an update on the current legislative session, and we also want to hear what’s on your mind and take your questions on issues that matter to you, such as education funding, healthcare, public safety, transportation, the environment, the economy and the state budgets.

I hope you’ll join us!


Improving outcomes for 1.1 million students

The state’s paramount duty is to fund basic education for every student in Washington. Over the years, that funding became inadequate and the Supreme Court ruled the Legislature had to meet its obligation. In 2017, the Legislature enacted the last remaining major piece of legislation to get our educating funding system back on the right track.

education

Lawmakers budgeted $13 BILLION in new K-12 spending – that will nearly double public school funding over a 10-year period.

The state Supreme Court upheld our plan, putting more money into classrooms and better teacher salaries. They agreed with nearly every element of the state’s new education funding model.

The timeline – fully implementing new teacher salaries in 2019 instead of 2018 – was the one exception they took with our plan. We will continue to discuss possible remedies to the Court’s objection, but we have a solid plan in place that includes working with school officials and education leaders to address important issues like special education, class size reduction, and levy flexibility.

Our focus needs to be on improving student outcomes and boosting academic achievement.

I will keep you posted through the upcoming weeks on our progress as we work to close the opportunity gap, reverse the ongoing teacher shortage trend, and lower the number of homeless students.


Breakfast After the Bell

A student has one job upon entering the classroom each morning: to learn. But it’s a very hard job for students who are showing up to school hungry day after day.

When hungry kids are distracted wondering where their next meal is going to come from, they aren’t focused on learning.

Breakfast after the bell

That’s why making sure kids are well-nourished to start the school day is critically important to boosting academic achievement.

One of the first bills we passed this session was HB 1508, which will expand programs that provide students from low-income families with meals in the morning.

Programs like Breakfast After the Bell have proven to be highly successful in improving academic achievement. I was proud to vote for this innovative program because I know it will mean brighter futures for our children.


Making childcare more affordable

High-quality available and affordable childcare is hard to come by because there is a shortage of providers in our state.

Even if parents are able to find available childcare, the cost can be a significant financial burden on working families. Data from Child Care Aware shows that in 2016, the statewide median cost of care for a toddler was $884 per month, or 18 percent of the median income.

We passed the Early Start Act in 2015, with the focus on increasing the quality of early learning. While the improvements are great, not all families can enroll their children in these high quality programs. We need to work on increasing access.

I am supporting two bills that address these issues: House Bill 2367 establishes a task force to look at childcare affordability and accessibility; and House Bill 2396, the CARE Act, creates incentives for businesses that want to be partners in solving the childcare crisis their employees are facing.


TV BLAKE

Watch my Videos

Watch my latest Video Update on what we’re doing at the Legislature to address the issue of fish farms in the state.

And my Ask Brian Video in which I discuss microhousing and electrical contracting.


Thanks for reading my newsletter. As always, if you need additional information on these or any other legislative issues, please contact my office. And don’t forget our telephone town hall on Tuesday!

Blake Sig




Washington State House Democrats

The information on these pages was created by House staff for legislative purposes and is a historical record of legislative events and activities. None of this material is intended to either directly or indirectly assist any campaign for office or ballot proposition. RCW 42.52.180 prohibits the use of public resources for campaign purposes.