Thank you for supporting our students!  

Friends and neighbors, 

During the legislative session, I was privileged to hear from many of my constituents about a host of issues. In particular, you reached out to my office regarding free meals in public schools and environmentally friendly school buses. Here is a little information about those two important issues. 

Free Meals in Public Schools. 

I strongly support providing students with free meals because kids can’t learn effectively when they are hungry. It can lead to distracted learning and behavioral challenges. These students have no say over the environment they live in and need to have adequate food to learn. That is why I was a cosponsor of House Bill 2058. Our paramount duty in Washington is the education of all children residing within our state. Providing students with proper and equitable nutrition better enables them to engage in the classroom, reduces stigmas surrounding students receiving free or reduced meals, and benefits families who are dealing with unexpected costs due to the rise in cost-of-living expenses.  

(Photo Credit: LSS Photography)

I was proud to vote this bill out of the education committee. Unfortunately, it did not move out of the appropriations committee this legislative session. This bill is an important step in hunger intervention and supporting youth in Washington. I will continue to support and work to ensure no child spends the school day hungry.   

Transitioning From Diesel to Electric School Buses. 

For many years, I’ve been concerned about the harm to our children’s health from exposure to diesel exhaust from our school buses. The Climate Commitment Act (our state’s cap and trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) now provides an avenue for funding the transition to electric buses to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health.  

I heard from many constituents urging support for environmentally friendly school buses.  Thanks to your efforts and those of many groups, including PTAs and health advocates, we were able to pass House Bill 1368. This important legislation will decrease greenhouse gas emissions and significantly help the health of our children by reducing their exposure to diesel pollution.    

I cosponsored and worked hard to pass House Bill 1368 this session.  It creates a grant program to assist schools in transitioning to zero-emission school buses. The initial focus is on students who are in the areas most highly impacted by air pollution. This bill is a bold new step towards a green transportation system and is critical in our efforts to combat the climate crisis by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

(Photo Credit: LSS Photography)

Riding to school in a safe and healthy environment shouldn’t be a privilege. All kids deserve access to clean air. Diesel emissions from school buses pose significant health risks to students and have been shown to cause numerous health problems. Through passing this legislation, Washington is securing a healthier future for our children and placing overburdened communities dealing with air pollution at the forefront of transitioning to green school transportation.   

The funding for the grants for zero-emission buses will come from the Climate Commitment Act. As Washington invests in zero-emission school buses, the cost will be driven down. The legislation focuses on providing funds to change over to clean EV buses in the areas where children are exposed to the worst air pollution.  

Thank you for your advocacy and passion during this legislative session. As always, please reach out if you have questions, concerns, ideas, or comments. 

Thanks again,

Rep. Gerry Pollet