Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We've reached the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session. While this session is long — 105 days — we've been making steady progress. Two important legislative deadlines have passed — policy committee cutoff and fiscal committee cutoff. This means any bills that did not pass out of committees are considered “dead” for the session. However, bills considered necessary to implement the budget survive these deadlines.
March 8 marks yet another legislative deadline on which bills must pass their chamber of origin, or else be deemed “dead” for the year. This means lawmakers will be spending the next few days on the floor voting on bills.
An education-funding update
Last week, House Democrats passed their education-funding bill on a party-line vote. While their plan proposes to invest $11.3 billion once fully implemented, it does not provide any meaningful reforms to ensure our students receive a quality, equitable education. Not to mention their plan lacks a specific funding source. Before we vote on any piece of legislation with a price tag of more than $11 billion, we owe it to taxpayers to let them know how they're going to pay for it.
House Republicans offered seven amendments to improve the bill. House Democrats adopted one of the seven, to ensure school districts provide K-3 class sizes as funded by the state. Evidence has shown students in those grade levels benefit the most from smaller class sizes. I'm glad Republicans and Democrats were able to come together on that issue.
Across the rotunda, Senate Republicans passed their One Washington Education Equality Act on Feb. 1. Now that the two majority parties have put forth their proposals, all four caucuses can come together to craft a comprehensive plan.
March 11 town hall meetings
Rep. Paul Graves and I are happy to invite you to join us for town hall meetings throughout the 5th District. These forums are a great way to meet with us face to face without having to plan a trip down to Olympia during session. I encourage you to bring your ideas and questions about bills and other issues being considered by the state Legislature. Details are as follows:
SATURDAY, MARCH 11
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Maple Valley Community Center
22010 SE 248th Street
Maple Valley, WA 98038
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Eagle Room, Issaquah Police Station
130 E Sunset Way
Issaquah, WA 98027
3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Multipurpose Room, Mount Si Senior Center
411 Main Avenue South
North Bend, WA 98045
I look forward to seeing you next Saturday!
In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments. My contact information is at the bottom of this email.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you!