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  • Legislative Update 5/4/2017

Legislative Update 5/4/2017

Dear friends and neighbors,

Late last month, the regular 2017 legislative session formally concluded. Unfortunately, this happened before the Legislature was able to reach agreement on an operating and capital budget. As a result, Gov. Inslee has initiated a 30-day special session so that we can finish our work.

Like many of you, I am disappointed at the Legislature’s failure to complete the people’s business within the established 105-day timeframe.

At the root of this failure is our state’s divided government. Republicans control the Senate and Democrats control the House and governor’s mansion. Both parties have a very different view of what our state needs and passed very different operating budgets and solutions to how we resolve our K-12 funding crisis.

Special session

Keep in mind that special sessions operate differently than regular sessions. Committees rarely meet during this time and floor action is typically once every couple of weeks. The work being done is by legislators who are assigned to formally negotiate the final budget solution. Once they come to an agreement, the rest of the Legislature returns for a final vote.

We’ve shown that we can work together on a compromise budget solution in past sessions. I’m confident that this year we will do the same.

School siting bill signed into law

After years in waiting, the Bethel School District will finally be able to build a new high school as a result of House Bill 1017, which was signed into law last week by Gov. Inslee. I sponsored the companion legislation to HB 1017 in the Senate.

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.

This a big win for kids in Pierce County. This legislation ensures that Bethel will have the flexibility to build a new facility where students can learn and grow without being overcrowded.

Bill updates

  • Senate Bill 5359 addresses the need to strengthen our work to apply military experience to state licensing requirements and was signed by the governor today.

 

  • Senate Bill 5640 would help high school vocational students meet graduation testing requirements and was recently signed into law

 

  • Senate Bill 5677 strengthens our state’s guardianship laws. It has been sent back to the Senate from the House but I am confident that it will pass both chambers before we finish our work this session.

Keep in touch

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

Sincerely,

Sen. Steve Conway