Rep. Bergquist’s Legislative Update: Town Hall / College Bound / Youth Voter Registration / Survey Results / New Survey: Immigration Issues / Car Seats
February 12, 2018 | By Washington House Democrats
SAVE THE DATE!
Please join Senator Bob Hasegawa, Representative Zack Hudgins and me at our 11th district town hall meeting this Saturday, February 17, from 10:30 am to noon at the King County Office of Emergency Management: 3511 NE 2nd St, Renton.
We want to give you an update on the current legislative session, and we also want to hear what’s on your mind, so be sure to bring your questions and concerns.
Bills I’m working on
With less than a month left of this legislative session, we’ve been spending a lot of time on the House Floor passing bills. I want to give you an update on some of the measures I’m sponsoring this year.
Expanding College Bound Eligibility
The cost of higher education has increased dramatically over the last decade, shattering the dream of a degree for many students who feel powerless to make college a reality.
We have programs in place to help low-income families, like the College Bound Scholarship created by the Legislature in 2007, which has made it possible for many kids to get a higher education.
However, there are still two main problems with the program: eligibility is determined only in junior high, and it excludes students whose families make slightly more than what the law defines as low-income, which keeps college out of reach for these struggling families when a little help could go a long way.
I believe we can and must do better for Washington families, so I sponsored a bill that fixes both problems. It expands College Bound Scholarship eligibility for students from seventh all the way to tenth grade, and it guarantees some financial help for students whose families make “too much” to be considered low-income, yet not enough to afford full college tuition.
House Bill 1512 passed the House on February 7th with a 54-44 vote.
Youth Voter Registration
Voting is one of the privileges we have as citizens of this great nation. It is the only way we can send people, who share our ideals and values, to represent us in local, state and federal governments. As voters, we are the deciding factor on issues that can help or hinder our lives and our communities. Yet, despite it being such a powerful tool, it’s not a very popular one. In the last presidential election, only about half of the entire eligible population cast their vote.
While some people don’t vote out of apathy, many simply don’t know how. For instance, there is a lack of information for many students about voter registration, but if they could get the information at an earlier age, they’d be better prepared to vote when they turn 18 years old.
I sponsored House Bill 1513 to allow 16 and 17 year olds to register to vote instead of waiting until they turn 18. My bill, which passed the House earlier today on a 52-46 vote, presents an opportunity to increase voter turnout while providing safeguards to ensure that future voters aren’t added to the voter database until they are 18 years old. Read this press release to learn more about this bill.
The biggest predictor of whether someone will vote is whether they are registered. Preregistration of 16 and 17 year olds will make youth more likely to vote, which will push new perspectives in elections.
NEW SURVEY: IMMIGRATION ISSUES
Over the past year, immigrants have been under attack by the current administration. Regardless of whether they are here legally or are undocumented, some of our immigrant neighbors and friends, people who we know and trust, are experiencing discrimination and harassment.
You probably heard in the news that the Department of Licensing has been providing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal agency, with residents’ personal information, such as photos and addresses, which has resulted in the detention, arrest and possible deportation of some members of our communities.
The options for state legislators are limited when trying to compensate for destructive federal policy, but Washington Democrats have proposed some bills to help protect immigrants in our state. Click on the survey button below to let me know how you feel about some of these measures.
Car Seat Safety
Current laws on how and when a child must be restrained while traveling in a car are not specific enough and may create confusion that could lead to parents moving their children out of their restraints too early. I sponsored House Bill 1188 to provide parents with more detailed information so they can be sure they’re following the guidelines correctly, since failure to comply with the rules is a primary offense.
We passed this bill out of the House on a 64-30 vote on January 31.
I always appreciate your taking the time to read my newsletters and respond to my surveys. Hearing from you helps guide the decisions I make as I represent your interests at the State Capitol.