Newsletter: Just short of a week left – here’s an update

Dear friends and neighbors,

I want to start by expressing my gratitude to everyone who came to our community town hall on February 17.  I wish we had had more time to address more questions and I thank you for all your feedback.

With less than a week to go, this will be a quick update to let you know where things stand and what is happening. Today is the deadline to pass Senate bills off the House floor. Starting tomorrow, we will focus on matters necessary to implement budgets, issues that affect state revenue, amendments, conferences, and concurrences.

We cannot finish our business without passing a balanced budget, and while the House and Senate budget proposals have some significant differences, we’ll have to iron out those wrinkles through negotiations and compromises, until we can go home with a budget that still reflects our values and that we can all be proud of.

Capitol Ideas Podcast

A couple of weeks ago I was a guest on the House Democratic Caucus’ Capitol Ideas podcast. Here’s the introduction by Dan Frizzell, who created this podcast over a decade ago:

        Today we’ll talk with Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self in a podcast recorded as the 2024 session of the Washington State Legislature headed into its final, hectic few weeks. Rep. Ortiz-Self chairs the largest House Democratic Caucus in recent memory, and doubles as chair of the Washington State Latino Democratic Caucus. Clearly, it’s an interesting conversation, so stay tuned.

        It’s a tough job, and she loves it. Mukilteo state Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self chairs the House Democratic Caucus in Olympia, represents 160,000 of her friends and neighbors in the 21st legislative district, and has spent most of her professional career trying to make life better for children and their families. She also sponsors a whole lot of very good bills, and we’ll talk about most all these roles in today’s Capitol Ideas.

Click here or on the image below to access the audio file:

LOS podcast

3 bills to governor, 2 in budget

HB 1228 – Building a multilingual, multiliterate Washington through dual and tribal language education: This legislation passed the Senate unanimously on February 28 and is on its way to the governor. I included a comprehensive section on this bill in my previous newsletter. You can also watch my floor remarks and read the press release when we passed it out of the House, and my From the Wings video shot earlier this week:

Wings 1228


HB 1975 – Relieving individuals from paying interest on certain unemployment insurance overpayment assessments: It passed the Senate on a unanimous vote on February 22 and is headed to the governor. I wrote about this bill in two previous newsletters, here and here. There’s also a From the Wings video you can watch here, and the press release when it passed the House here.

HB 2226 Collecting data on the H-2A worker program and from certain hand harvesters: This measure passed the Senate on February 28. You can read about it in this newsletter, which includes a video, as well as the link to the press release.


Budget provisos

Last year, the House passed HB 1565, my bill to support and strengthen the state’s professional education workforce, but it stalled n the Senate.

teacher in class

This session it was automatically reintroduced, passed the Education Committee and was on its way to the floor but we ran out of time. So I spoke with budget writers and they agreed to include a proviso that would make appropriations for:

  • Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to fund three cohorts of teacher residents who would, after completion of this program, attain a teaching certification with an endorsement in special education.
  • OSPI to contract with a statewide labor association that represents educators to provide a suite of supports and professional development opportunities for 15,000 emergency substitute teachers.
  • OSPI to conduct a feasibility study on the costs and timeline for developing a database and tool to identify real-time and future educator workforce shortages.

And lastly, while my HB 1866, concerning the academic and support needs of children of seasonal farmworkers did not pass, I was also able to get a budget proviso to enable OSPI to collaborate with the Departments of Agriculture and Labor & Industries on a study to examine factors that impact children of seasonal farmworkers in comparison to migrant students in areas such as school readiness, access, attendance, performance, academic growth, and graduation rates, among others.

Opinion piece in News Tribune on ICE Detention Center

You have probably heard of the inhumane treatment that has lead to hunger strikes in the federal, for profit detention center in Tacoma. We have addressed this issue with two pieces of legislation in two different sessions and they continue their atrocious behavior and practices. The News Tribune asked me to write an editorial on the subject, so here it is, if you want to read it.


I was interviewed by the Speaker

A few days ago, Speaker Laurie Jinkins approached me to ask that I share, on camera, a little about what the duties of the caucus chair are to keep things running smoothly in our legislative work. This is one of a series of videos she made with members of leadership to provide more insight into how our caucus operates and how different roles help keep our work on track for the people of Washington. Click on the image to watch:

Jinkins LOS

I always deeply appreciate your taking the time to read my updates. Once the budgets are finalized, Rep. Strom Peterson and I will send you a joint newsletter with details on all three budgets, like we did last year.

In the meantime, if you have feedback, comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact my office.


ortiz-self sig

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