Levy Cliff, Social Emotional Learning & Equal Pay

Extending the Levy Cliff Passes the House!

The House passed its first bill of the 2017 Legislative session on Monday—extending the levy lid lift! (Also known as the “Levy Cliff” bill.) This is great news for our four school districts in the 41st.

However, early indications suggest that the Republican-controlled Senate will not bring the bill up for a vote. Public schools stand to lose roughly $358 million in funding for the 2017-18 school year unless lawmakers act soon. If we don’t, hundreds of teachers will receive layoff notices in the coming weeks and plans for next school year will be up in the air.

Students and our valued educators deserve stability. Signing this bill into law would make sure that they aren’t held hostage while the Legislature finds long-term solutions to the school funding problem.

I will urge my Senate colleagues to bring the Levy Cliff bill up for a vote. I encourage you to also make your voice heard. Washington’s 1.1 million school kids shouldn’t have their education disrupted because of partisan politics.

Click here for a more detailed explanation of the levy cliff bill.

SEL & Summer Step-Up Act

Last week, Governor Inslee joined me on a visit to Grand Ridge Elementary in Issaquah to observe firsthand social and emotional learning, or SEL, in action. What an honor and recognition of the great work of our educators and leaders in the Issaquah School District!

SEL teaches kids to manage their emotions, make responsible decisions, and develop empathy and healthy relationships. Not only does it reduce behavioral issues, studies show it increases academic outcomes by 11%. These are some of the reasons the Washington State PTA made SEL their #1 legislative priority—and why I introduced HB 1518 to help expand SEL.

Marching toward Equal Pay

I was so energized to join with thousands upon thousands of diverse women, men and children at the Women’s March in Seattle this past weekend. People marched for so many reasons: Civil rights. Religious freedom. Environmental protection. Reproductive freedom. Women’s equality.
Just three days later, my bill, the Equal Pay Opportunity Act
(HB 1506), was heard in committee. The bill updates the existing Washington State Equal Pay Act, unchanged since 1943. While we were cutting edge on this issue then, our laws have fallen behind. Let’s not let women fall any further behind in economic security and fair pay.

This legislation would bring our equal pay protections up to pace with dozens of other states by banning pay secrecy policies, allowing discussion of wages and prohibiting retaliation for asking for equal pay.

If we truly want to support Washington’s families—and strengthen our economy at the same time–it’s time for us to support Washington’s working women.

You can watch the committee hearing on TVW here.

As always, if you have any thoughts, questions, or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know!


Rep. Tana Senn