Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It has been a busy and exciting start to our first in-person Legislative Session since 2020. I’ve been introducing bills, chairing committees, participating in press conferences, speaking at rallies and more—all in just 10 days so far!
Childcare Needs State and Federal Investments
On January 18, I donned my tennis shoes and joined Sen. Patty Murray in enthusiastic support of our fight for a more accessible, affordable, and sustainable childcare system. As many of you know, Sen. Murray and I both have been fighting for years to build a childcare system that works for every family in Washington state. As Sen. Murray heads back to the other Washington, as the chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, it was wonderful to hear –and reinforce—her commitment to making significant increased federal investments in childcare!
A Focus on Education
Beyond childcare, I am focusing on numerous educational issues—from special education to zero emission school buses—impacting kids and communities across the state.
Clean Energy Buses: Healthy Kids and a Healthy Planet
Zero emission school buses are crucial to protecting our children from the health impacts of fossil fuel emissions and to limiting the impact of climate change on our planet. I’m proud to sponsor HB 1368 to transition school districts to using only zero emission school buses. This falls in line with the Climate Commitment Act, which provides money to the state to help reduce climate change, and particularly focuses on electrification of the transportation sector. I’m proud to say that the chairs of the House Transportation, Education, and Environment and Energy Committees have all signed on in support of this critical legislation.
Watch my video here to learn more: Zero Emission School Buses
Special Education: Ready to Learn on Day 1
I recently testified in support of HB 1109, my bill to help students in special education across the state start the school year off with the services and accommodations they need. Currently, when students are referred for special education evaluations, this process takes place only throughout the school year. When the evaluation process is paused for summer breaks, it delays support services, can lead to classroom re-assignments that disrupt learning, and creates unnecessary frustrations. For children under five, this delay can negatively impact child development. My bill incentives schools to conduct initial evaluations and develop individualized education programs over the summer. This prepares eligible students for immediate learning and support by their first day of school.
Listening to Students: Clarifying Student Discipline Policies
When high school students across our district walked out of school in support of a fellow Bellevue student a few years ago, it got my attention. I started to dig into the issues and HB 1207 is the result. My legislation helps create clearer communication with parents, students and administrators about student discipline policies. It also changes the misnomer “emergency expulsion” to “emergency removal,” more accurately describing the actions a school is taking and reducing stigma for the student that is often unwarranted. Thank you to the Bellevue School District for working with me and testifying in strong support of this legislation.
Thanks to community members who have written, met with me or testified on bills so far. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office. I hope to see you soon, either in Olympia or back in district.
Rep. Tana Senn