Newsletter: Children’s Day / Homeless College Students / Green Transportation Package / Citizen Advocate

Children’s Day

Yesterday we celebrated our nation’s presidents, but did you know it was also Children’s Day at the Capitol? The House of Representatives has observed Children’s Day every biennium since 1995. The resolution we adopted this year (HR 4612) includes quotes by Lady Bird Johnson, Herbert Hoover, Plato and Nelson Mandela.

This day serves as a reminder that the decisions we make as legislators on policy and investments in Olympia must be geared toward building a better Washington for future generations.

I love this tradition because we get to invite our families to join us on the House Floor. It truly is a special day, with little kids laughing and running around the marble halls of this historic building. They also have an opportunity to see what it’s like to be in session. In this photo, my granddaughter, Adelyn, and I are applauding from my desk as the Speaker presides. We both had a great time!

Ortiz-Self chidren's day

Giving homeless college students a hand

About a third of college students in the United States are struggling with hunger and stable housing, and nearly 10 percent are homeless.

Learning is more difficult for hungry and homeless students, no matter what their age. House Democrats have worked hard to put in place programs like Breakfast After the Bell and free and reduced-priced lunches to help kids in K-12 focus on school. Once they graduate, however, they no longer have this safety net and they continue to struggle through college.

I introduced a bill that would create pilot programs at a handful of colleges and universities, on both sides of the Cascades, to collect data and help students experiencing homelessness and who were in foster care when they finished high school, by providing:

  • Access to laundry facilities, storage, locker rooms and showers, and technology;
  • Reduced-price meals or meal plans;
  • Access to short-term housing or housing assistance, especially during seasonal breaks; and
  • Case management services.

I talk about House Bill 1572 in my most recent Legislative Video Update, click on the image below to watch it.

Ortiz-Self vid update cover

My bill made it out of the College and Workforce Development Committee earlier this month and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

We know that going to college is a dream for many, but for students who are struggling to meet their basic needs, that dream can be unreachable. This legislation could be the difference between having to drop out and making it to graduation.

Bold Green Transportation Legislation

How will Washington state lead the way when it comes to new technology and ideas for a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system?

In the Transportation Committee we have been working on a bill that includes major reforms to move away from the costs and pollution of fossil fuels and toward cleaner technology, including:

  • Making electric vehicles more affordable and accessible for everyone.
  • Increasing the network of electric car chargers across the state.
  • Helping transit agencies transition to electric buses.
  • Solving the last-mile problem in mass transit, to get you from a ferry terminal, bus stop or train station to your final destination.
  • Enhancing efforts to get cars off the road through increased carpooling, vanpooling, telecommuting, walking, biking, or taking mass transit instead of driving alone to work every day.

Click on the image below to Watch Rep. Jake Fey, Chair of the Transportation Committee, talk about our ambitious plan to go green:

green transpo

This legislation works hand-in-glove with clean fuel and electricity reforms moving through the House Environment & Energy Committee.

Our goal is to keep Washington state a world leader on new ideas in clean technology, and to leave our children with a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system.

How to become a citizen advocate

Did you know that anyone can testify in committee on a bill?

Maybe you have been doing some research on the legislative website or heard about a piece of legislation on the news and you want to express your support or opposition.

general committee

Or perhaps you have experience in a particular subject area, or you have strong feelings about a specific issue. No matter the reason for your interest, there are a few ways for you to get involved.

Here is a great step-by-step guide on how to testify in committee. You don’t need to be a lobbyist, lawyer, or have any credentials to testify in committee. The guide offers some practical advice on how to prepare and make the most out of your time in front of a committee.

If you cannot make it to Olympia to testify, you can comment on a bill directly through the legislative website. Many people have reached out to me wanting to be more involved in the legislative process and testifying on a bill is a great way to make a direct impact.

You are always welcome to reach out to me via phone or email to make your views known. Staying updated on what my constituents think is an essential part of my job representing you.


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