E-newsletter: Keeping schools safe and people housed

Affordable housing

In my most recent legislative video update I discussed the affordable housing crisis and a bill I am working on to help address the lack of affordable housing by reforming condo liability laws. You can watch all of my legislative video updates by going to my website.

Keeping schools safe

Students need to be safe and feel safe at school so they can focus on their learning. This week I was honored to take part in a press conference along with other Democratic legislators and Alissa Parker, the mother of Emilie, one of the 20 children who died tragically in the Sandy Hook school shooting. As a mom myself, her story literally made my tremble.

Legislators listen while Alissa Parker speaks about her experience as the mother of a school shooting victim

My colleagues and I have introduced a package of bills aimed at increasing the safety of our students. Unlike some proposals to put more guns in schools, our proposals focus on addressing underlying causes of violence, creating a safe school climate and ensuring schools are prepared for a crisis if one occurs. As I said at yesterday’s press conference, “our bills are around arming teacher with information about mental health.”

My bill, HB 1479, focuses on giving teachers and paraeducators more tools to support student mental health and well-being. The bill builds on my focus on children’s mental health and social emotional learning. Educators are a key piece of ensuring that every student has the support and tools they need to weather whatever life throws at them.

Other House Bills in the package include:

  • HB 1216 – providing a statewide network of support for school districts, schools, staff, and students by establishing “Regional Safety Centers.”
  • HB 1221 – improving crisis planning in schools to prevent youth suicide.
  • HB 1264 – addressing the trauma that violence causes on school staff
  • HB 1265 – increasing student access to school counselors
  • HB 1434 – eliminating sending kids to juvenile detention for contempt of court.
  • HB 1106 –eliminating sending kids who are struggling to juvenile detention for truancy.

Martin Luther King Day

Last Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Every year the legislature gathers to honor the life, work, and memory of Dr. King. I am always moved by the speeches given by my fellow legislators, like this one by Rep. Entenman. This year was no exception.

Thank you for reading and as always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns you have about things happening in our district and state.