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  • E News- Committee days & K-12 funding update

E News- Committee days & K-12 funding update

Dear friends and neighbors,

Last week was what they call in Olympia “committee days” — the time of year when the Senate gets together to plan for the upcoming legislative session. This year’s committee days went a little differently than last year’s because Democrats have reclaimed the majority of the Senate, which means we get to set the agenda and assign committees for next session. We successfully secured a one-seat majority this election cycle after a special election victory in the 45th Legislative District.

With this new majority, I have new responsibilities. I will serve as vice chair on the Energy, Environment & Technology, Local Government, and Higher Education & Workforce Development committees. I will also serve as a member of the Ways & Means committee which handles the state’s operating and capital budget.

K-12 Funding Update

Last session we passed a historic $7.3 billion K-12 funding package in response to the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling that the state was not meeting its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education.

Last week, the court announced that while we have made significant progress to remedy the McCleary ruling, the Legislature is not out of the woods yet. The main component for the court’s decision to retain jurisdiction of the case is that they found that the state remains out of full compliance because updated basic education salaries will not be implemented by Sept. 1, 2018.

It is also clear that, as passed, the McCleary legislation is causing some serious difficulties on the ground in our school districts. I am committed to working with those on the ground to make the policy and funding changes necessary to provide a world-class education for our children. A top priority for me is to also lower the new property tax levied to pay for schools. I voted against the property tax because our district gets absolutely hammered under this plan. I would like to find a more responsible and progressive tax plan that does not hurt working families and those on fixed incomes.

Stay Tuned

Thanks for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. Remember, I am able to do my best work when I hear from you and know your priorities. As we head into the 2018 session, please do not hesitate to contact me to share your concerns for our community and the state.

Have a pleasant Thanksgiving, everybody! This year, I am truly grateful for the opportunity you gave me to represent you in the Legislature. It’s an honor and privilege to serve you.