Monthly Archives: April 2017

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    School siting bill signed into law; Bethel to get a new high school

School siting bill signed into law; Bethel to get a new high school

April 28th, 2017|

After years in waiting, the Bethel School District will finally be able to build a new high school. Bethel, like many school districts throughout Washington, has struggled to find space to build new schools. This has been a challenge for districts in areas with rapidly increasing populations and land development restrictions established by the Growth Management Act of 1990.

A portion of House Bill 1017 that allows Pierce County school districts to build outside the county’s urban growth area was signed into law on Wednesday.

“This a big win for the kids in Pierce County,” said Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, who has been a longtime advocate for expanding building areas for schools and championed similar legislation in the Senate. “This legislation ensures that school districts have the flexibility to build new facilities so students can learn and grow without being overcrowded.

Bethel’s new high school will be built on 80 acres the district purchased about a mile outside the county’s urban growth area.

“Bethel has acquired a beautiful site with a view of Mt. Rainier,” said Conway. “This legislation will allow the school district to use that space in a meaningful way.”

Legislative Update 4/3/2017

April 3rd, 2017|

Dear friends and neighbors,

We are now entering the last three weeks of the 2017 Legislative Session, which is scheduled to end on April 23.

At this point in the process, we are wrapping up our work in standing committees. The action now heads to the Senate floor where we will vote on House bills.

Both the Senate and the House have passed operating budgets and now the work will begin to reconcile the differences.

The biggest challenge over the next three weeks will be resolving our K-12 funding crisis. Stay tuned.

Capital Budget Proposal

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed its proposed capital budget that invests $1.1 billion in school construction and public education. It also would provide new funding for mental health services and invest in programs aimed at cleaning up the environment.

It also provides funds for several projects important to the 29th district and Pierce County:

  • $980,000 for the Franklin-Pierce Early Education Center.
  • $33 million for Clover Park Technical College’s Center of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies.
  • $3.1 million for Bates Technical College’s health science center.
  • $2 million for the City of Lakewood to remove a building from Join Base Lewis-McChord’s clear zone.
  • $1.5 million for Frederickson’s Cross Park project.

In the last budget cycle, I was able to secure $640,000 to provide shelter for homeless veterans and create a program that would connect retired veterans with homeless veterans to help them find services and support. This year’s proposed capital budget adds to that initial down payment by creating a new housing center in Orting for veterans. Many thanks to Larry Geringer, Maryellen Hill and the board of Panaza who helped make this dream a reality.

Tiny Houses to Help the Homeless

Last week, the Workforce Board’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Showcase of Skills Homeless Shelter Project was held on the capitol campus. Teams of CTE students from across the state, including a team from Bates Technical College, competed to build the best tiny house — an energy efficient shelter of less than 100 square feet.

These houses will be donated to help veterans and people with mental health issues experiencing homelessness transition to permanent housing.

Similar houses will be used at the new veteran’s shelter in Orting.

Keep in Touch

My office is always here to answer your questions and provide you with information. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.


Sen. Steve Conway