Hello friends and neighbors,
We are ending the eighth week of the 2017 legislative session. This was the first full week of floor action, which means were on the House floor passing legislation all day, and often late into the evening. Next week we will be doing the same all the way through to Wednesday, March 8th, which is the cutoff date for bills that originate in the House to be voted off the House floor (there’s an exception for certain bills necessary to implement the budget).
As always, I want to thank those who have written, called, or visited to share your feedback and concerns with me. It’s an honor representing you.
Update on education funding
Last week, the House of Representative voted to approve HB 1843, a bill to ensure our schools are fully funded and that every child receives equal and adequate opportunities to learn. I am proud to have voted YES on this bill.
My colleagues and I made sure every element of this legislation was driven by the question, What is the best for our students and educators? Some components of the bill include:
Closing the opportunity gap – Our plan takes a significant step toward closing the opportunity gap and improving student outcomes in Washington state by making new investments in:
• Learning assistance to help struggling students keep up with their peers.
• Transitional programs to help bilingual students.
• Class size reductions for career and technical education and skill centers.
• Parent-involvement coordinators and guidance counselors
Ensuring a high quality teacher is in every classroom – It also addresses the teacher shortage crisis through educator recruitment and retention investments.The bill makes a serious commitment to our educator workforce by paying new teachers a fair salary, providing additional professional learning opportunities, and ensuring their compensation keeps up with market rates.
The House plan is estimated to cost roughly $7.5 billion over the next four years. In the coming weeks, lawmakers, including myself, will be unveiling ideas to pay for this proposal. Ideas discussed previously include taxing corporate polluters, closing loopholes that allow out of state businesses to take advantage of outdated and wasteful tax exemptions, and a capital gains tax on wealthy investors. This differs from the Senate Republican plan, which relies heavily on a massive property tax hike on middle-class and working families, mostly in King County and the Puget Sound region. Additionally, it makes cuts to higher education, public safety, foster care, low-income health care, and housing.
Now that each side has offered proposals, negotiators will work on a path toward compromise that will ensure public schools are fully funded for Washington’s 1.1 million school kids. I will continue to be a strong advocate for our students and educators.
Continuing to protect ALL Washingtonians
Last week, the Trump Administration issued new guidance removing federal protections for transgender students. This decision rolled back guidelines issued last year allowing transgender students to use restrooms matching their gender identity.
My heart aches for the countless students and their families negatively impacted by this ill-considered and unnecessary decision across the nation. We have seen the detrimental effects discrimination has on the mental health and educational attainment of transgender students who lack these protections. However, I’m grateful and proud to live and to serve in a state that refuses to punish innocent young people simply for who they are.
Transgender students in Washington have, and will continue to have, the right to use facilities consistent with their gender identity. In his statement , Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal was clear federal actions will not affect the protections transgender students have under Washington state law. In 2006, sexual orientation and gender identity were added as protected classes to the Washington State Law Against Discrimination. Four years later, the Washington State Legislature passed a law explicitly protecting students in Washington public schools against discrimination. From that, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction issued formal guidelines specifically addressing access to restrooms and locker rooms. School districts are mandated to comply with these guidelines.
These rights derive from our state’s own civil-rights laws. They were not bestowed by the previous federal administration, and they will not be taken away by this one. Washington state will continue to stand against discrimination and ensure every student, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, feels safe and welcome in our public schools. We will continue to uphold our values of acceptance, equity and justice for all.
27th Legislative District Town Hall coming up soon!
As your representatives in the state legislature, Sen. Jeannie Darneille, Rep. Jake Fey, and I invite you to join us for our legislative session town hall meeting. It’s an opportunity for us to listen to your views and take your questions on the issues facing the 27th Legislative District and the state as a whole.
Date: Saturday March 11th
Time: 10 a.m. – Noon
Location: Evergreen State College – Tacoma Campus, 1210 6th Avenue, Tacoma WA 98405
If you plan to speak, please arrive early . Sign-in begins at 9:30 AM. Your engagement helps create a democracy that is for the people, by the people.I hope to see you there.
Rep. Jinkins – legislator profile
TVW recently did a three-minute profile of me as a legislator, in which I discuss what motivated me to run for office and what I focus on in my work here in Olympia. You can watch the segment here.