Last week, after three years of work the Legislature passed the DREAM Act. This historic piece of legislation will provide equal access to state-based higher education financial aid without regard to immigration status as long as a student has graduated from a Washington State high school.


I was proud to join a bi-partisan coalition in support of the DREAM Act as it passed the Senate on a 35-10 vote.


I became even more supportive of the DREAM Act a couple of years ago after hearing about the experience of students from Bridgeport High School and many other similar stories afterwards. Bridgeport is a small, rural school that was struggling. With a new focus on college preparation, this school of mostly migrant workers’ children turned itself around. They ended up with a 100% graduation rate with bright, motivated kids ready for college. However, these students were at a severe disadvantage when it came to college access because they were not eligible for the state’s main financial aid program.


As a state, we already invest in these students through the K-12 education system, but we could lose the potential for them to be future doctors, scientists, teachers, engineers and productive tax-paying members of our community if they cannot attend college. Without access to higher education, these kids could end up living a life maxed out with a high school education, which we know statistically leads to them becoming a burden for our community financially and otherwise.


There are opponents to this bill but I believe strongly that the DREAM Act is the right thing to do for these students and for the economy of our state. I look forward to the Governor signing the DREAM Act into law on Wednesday.


Dark Money


Last Tuesday was the cut-off deadline for policy bills and the bipartisan campaign finance transparency bill I introduced – SB 6098 – unfortunately never made it to the Senate floor for a vote.


This bill would have closed the biggest loophole in our campaign finance system and require all organizations that contribute money to Washington State elections to disclose their donors regardless of non-profit status.


This legislation was supported by our Secretary of State, the Washington Coalition for Open Government, and legislators from across the political spectrum. I know the bill would have passed with a strong bipartisan majority if it had been allowed to come up for a vote on the Senate floor, so I was disappointed that the Senate majority leadership chose to quietly kill this bill by blocking it from a vote.


I will certainly be introducing this legislation again in the next session. You can read Shawn Vestal’s column from The Spokesman-Review about this bill HERE.


Town Hall Meeting

billig townhall pic

Thank you to the 160 people who attended our 3rd Legislative District Town Hall on Saturday. Rep. Riccelli and I received comments and questions on a range of topics including income inequality, education, campaign finance transparency, early learning, oil trains, and the need for a transportation revenue package. I appreciated all of the thoughtful input from everyone that attended.


Whether you were able to make it to the Town Hall meeting or not, I encourage you to stay in touch as we move through the rest of the Legislative session.


Keeping In Touch


Please don’t hesitate to contact our office with questions or comments at any time. You can reach me by e-mail ( or by phone at 360-786-7604.


And if you know someone who would like to get their own copy of our weekly e-newsletter, please send them to my website at and click on the link to “Sign up for my e-newsletter” – I’ll be glad to keep them in the loop!