OLYMPIASen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, today issued the following statement after the Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die:

“This has been a historic legislative session in more ways than one. While we have set a new record for the longest legislative session, we have also accomplished a great deal that will help the people of Washington state.

“We were able to enact and fund a number of critical mental health policies and programs so that mental health care services in our state will continue to greatly improve. This has been one of the best legislative sessions for mental health care in a very long time.

“We passed an operating budget that fully funded the negotiated public contracts across the state for our public employees, teachers, and home health care workers, as well as restored some of the cuts to families facing financial hardship.

“The Legislature approved, what I believe, is the best capital budget for the 27th District in state history. A wide range of projects that will increase the quality of life in our community are funded – educational institutions, museums, the arts, community centers, parks and trails, and continued cleanup of environmentally toxic areas.

“The transportation budget finally provides funds for the completion of State Rte. 167 into the Port of Tacoma, securing jobs both during the construction period and beyond when expanded access to freight coming into and out of the Port by ship, truck, and rail results in more commerce in Pierce County.

“In the final days of the session, Senate Democrats were able to make sure that the state’s high stakes biology assessment wouldn’t hold 2,000 high school seniors from receiving their high school diploma, even after every other graduation requirement has been met. The two year suspension of the biology test as a graduation requirement will allow for further work to make sure our high school students are ready to move forward after graduation.

“It took much longer than anticipated, however, I am proud of the accomplishments we achieved.  The combined and coordinated efforts by legislators from Pierce County were key to these achievements.”