Monthly Archives: January 2016

Homeless Students Gap Act

January 22nd, 2016|

I’m proud to report that on Thursday morning, the bipartisan Homeless Students Gap Act (SB 6298) received its first hearing in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and was met with overwhelming support.

This bill would create a competitive grant process to evaluate and award state funds to school districts to increase identification of homeless students and the capacity of the districts to provide support for homeless students.

It’s really important that we fully understand the scope of the growing student homelessness crisis. In Washington, there are over 32,000 homeless students – nearly 1 in every classroom. 46% of these students do not graduate; 31% dropout.

There are only 200 social workers across the state designated to assist these students, many of whom have a multitude of other responsibilities. And lastly, the average amount of dollars that we are currently putting into solving this problem is between $35,000-40,000 per district.

This is simply unacceptable and I am hopeful that this bill will be a strong step towards ameliorating the crisis of student homelessness in our state.

I encourage you to watch the testimony on the bill and hear the stories from those who have been impacted most by the devastating realities of trying to earn your high school diploma without knowing where you are going to sleep every night. You can find the video linked here.

 

-Sen. David Frockt

 

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    Jayapal/Frockt ‘Washington Promise’ introduce in Legislature

Jayapal/Frockt ‘Washington Promise’ introduce in Legislature

January 19th, 2016|

OLYMPIA – Sens. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, and David Frockt, D-Seattle, and Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, introduced the Washington Promise program Tuesday, which would provide two years of guaranteed tuition at community and technical colleges for all eligible Washington residents.

“This is a bold proposal to ensure universal access to higher education for all Washingtonians,” said Jayapal, the bill’s prime sponsor in the Senate. “The community college system in this state is one of the best in the country, and really prepares students for careers or for transfer to four-year institutions. But the cost of tuition is still a barrier for too many people. If we remove that barrier, our state will be on the fast-track to a stronger economy. Businesses in Washington have reported 50,000 open skilled positions annually. That is about $2-2.5 billion in annual middle class wages currently lost to families in our communities. We can’t afford not to pass this.”

The Washington Promise will be made available to all Washington residents who have completed a state or federal application for financial aid. Students pursuing an associate’s degree or technical certificate are eligible for four years after they first begin receiving the grant or upon completion of 120 credit hours.

“Opening the door to our state’s community colleges with free tuition for every resident puts the dream of higher education in reach regardless of income or where you live,” said Pollet, the bill’s prime sponsor in the House. “Free access to community college is a proven way to increase high school graduation rates and to enable people to move up in their careers to support their families. Community college students in our state have suffered dramatic increases in their student loan debts. They deserve relief.”

“This legislation is not only about making promises to our students, but about giving Washingtonians access to the tools they need to fulfill their own promise,” said Frockt, Ranking Democrat on the Senate Higher Education Committee and co-sponsor of the bill. “The Washington promise will bridge the gap between need and skill, building a middle class compact for Washington families to grow and thrive.”

The Jayapal/Frockt bill will be introduced in the Senate on Wednesday.

Now is the time for action

January 7th, 2016|

BURIEN – Following Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement of a new statewide public health initiative to reduce and prevent firearm related fatalities, Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, is urging his colleagues to act on legislation to save Washington lives.

“I applaud Governor Inslee for taking measures that will help prevent suicide and other acts of gun violence which all too often tragically interrupt our lives,” said Frockt. “The onus is now on the Legislature to take further action to address other aspects of the gun violence problem.

“I urge my colleagues in the Legislature to support our legislation creating the Extreme Risk Protection Order. This will give family members and law enforcement the legal mechanisms they need to protect loved ones from harming themselves or others with a firearm or other dangerous weapon.”

An Extreme Risk Protection order would be effective for up to one year. If the individual poses an immediate risk, an emergency order may be granted within 24 hours, effective for 14 days. The bill creates criminal penalties for knowingly filing a petition for an order based on false information.

Sen. Frockt is a long-time advocate for common sense gun safety legislation and is the Prime sponsor of the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill (SB 5727).