I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring weather! As it turns out, today is Holi, Festival of Colors celebrating spring and the triumph of good over evil! It holds special memories for me as it was observed by my parents who immigrated from India in the 1960s. Some of the parks in our district will have events open to the public throughout the weekend, where people throw colorful powders at one another and there is food and music to celebrate this fun spring festival! It is a reminder to me that we are lucky to have many religious and cultural celebrations that enrich our community in such a dynamic and diverse district. Happy spring!
We also passed the policy bill cutoff last week so I want to update you on several bills discussed in an earlier newsletter, as well as some higher education bills that you might find of interest.
I also want to remind you that Sen. Patty Kuderer, Rep. Amy Walen and I are hosting a town hall meeting this coming Saturday at Redmond City Hall from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. I hope you’ll be able to join us.
Robotics Tournament at the State Capitol
Last Friday, we had a successful and exciting Legislator Robotics Invitational that gave students the chance to help legislators understand how robotics help students work effectively on teams, in addition to finding their strengths and sparking an interest in future STEM careers. Check out this short video of the event.
Climate bills moving forward
Three priority climate bills continue to move forward in the House and Senate. These bills are meaningful actions our state can take to cut greenhouse gas emissions and move toward a clean energy future:
- Phasing out ‘super pollutants’ (House Bill 1112) – Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are used as commercial and industrial refrigerants and foam-blowing agents. They are also super-polluting greenhouse gases that are thousands of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide. This bill phases out these harmful gases, for which safe and cost-effective alternatives already exist.
- Establishing a clean fuels program (House Bill 1110) – The biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in our state is from the transportation sector. A Clean Fuels Program similar to those already successfully underway in California, Oregon, and British Columbia directly addresses that source. It would improve local air quality and provide local economic benefits by increasing demand for biofuels produced in the state.
- 100% clean electricity (House Bill 1211/Senate Bill 5116) – This bill will help transition our state to a clean energy future by removing carbon emissions from the generation of electricity. It requires utilities to gradually transition away from fossil fuel-generated electricity, setting a preliminary “coal elimination” deadline of 2025, and a final “clean grid” deadline of 2045.
Computer science is a high-demand field and is an industry that will lead to the next great breakthrough in technology.
But who are the students learning these valuable skills? Who will have a seat at the table as new technologies emerge? Is there equity in computer science education? We are going to find out.
On March 4, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1577, which will help our state track data about enrollment demographics in computer science courses in our schools. Computer science education can lead to good, family-wage jobs, and we need to make sure all of our residents have an opportunity to pursue these careers.
Under current law, subsidized childcare for low-income parents working on their education is available, provided they are also employed at least 16-20 hours a week.
Unfortunately, the combined demands of classwork, a job, and family life too often cause students to either drop out or fail to get the grades they are capable of – ironically, jeopardizing their childcare subsidy, which requires that students meet academic standards.
I was proud to support House Bill 1303, which recently passed out of the House. This new bill drops the work requirement for qualifying parents preparing for careers in high-demand occupations.
When parents are able to focus on their studies and on parenting, it is a win for parents, kids and the economy. It will give them better career and income prospects and increase the pool of homegrown job candidates for Washington employers.
TVW Legislator Profiles
A couple of years ago, TVW began a project featuring lawmakers during the legislative session. These are short videos that are airing between gavel-to-gavel hearings. This year’s focus is on political heroes and legislative priorities. Click here to watch mine.
Thank you for your interest in what we’re doing in Olympia. Today is the 64th day of this 105-day legislative session so there’s still a lot to get done.
Be sure to contact me with your questions, concerns, ideas or feedback. I look forward to the chance to connect with you at our town hall meeting this weekend.