Monthly Archives: February 2017

Sen. Pedersen’s legislative update

February 3rd, 2017|

Greetings from Olympia!

We are now a month into the 105-day legislative session. We have spent most of our time so far in committee, reviewing over 1,700 bills introduced so far. Our first major cutoff will come two weeks from today, giving us a much better idea of which ideas actually have support to proceed this year.

Amply Funding Public Schools

I continue to focus my energy on our top priority this session – increasing funding for our public schools. Senate Republicans finally released their education plan last Saturday. Although it makes major policy changes to how we run and fund public schools, they held no public hearing in the K-12 Education Committee. Instead, they held a Ways & Means Committee hearing on the 130-page bill Monday, passed the bill out of committee Tuesday, and passed it out of the Senate Wednesday on a 25-24 party-line vote. I spoke against the plan in committee and on the Senate floor. Here is why:

  • Compared to current school funding levels, families will pay significantly more in property taxes and in return, our schools would receive very modest funding increases.
  • The plan would result in larger class sizes, fewer school resources, lower teaching standards and a loss of local control.
  • The Republican plan fails to meet the Supreme Court’s order to provide ample funding for schools – the main objective of our work in Olympia this year.

House and Senate Democrats have released a plan that would lower class sizes, improve teacher compensation, and increase services offered to our students. Our plan will receive a public hearing on Monday in House Appropriations Committee at 3:30 p.m.

Hope for terminally ill patients

I am also working on legislation that would give patients who are facing life-threatening diseases the ability to access investigational medications that have cleared initial safety testing. Similar “right to try” laws have already been enacted in 33 other states.

This bill gives hope to those who have run out of options. One of our neighbors on Capitol Hill brought the issue to my attention. She is a courageous mother of two elementary school kids, battling an aggressive form of breast cancer that has spread to her brain. After being told she had just months to live and facing numerous barriers to trying medicines that are still in development but could save her life, she has put her energy into making sure that she and others have access to those drugs. The bill (SSB 5035) was unanimously approved by the Health Care Committee on Thursday and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Town Hall coming up March 11

I hope you will be able to join us for the 43rd District Town Hall on March 11 at Seattle First Baptist Church. I will join House Speaker Frank Chopp and Rep. Nicole Macri to provide an update on the legislative session and take your questions. The event runs from 1 p.m to 2:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

Please feel free to contact my office anytime about issues before the legislature. I am grateful for your support.

Best wishes, Jamie

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    VIDEO: Pedersen speaks against Senate Republican education proposal

VIDEO: Pedersen speaks against Senate Republican education proposal

February 2nd, 2017|

Sen. Jamie Pedersen spoke out against the Senate Republican education funding proposal Thursday during the floor debate on the bill. Pedersen, a parent with four children in Seattle Public Schools, highlighted how Senate Bill 5607 would cause real harm for the 53,000 students in Seattle. Families will pay $174 million more in property taxes and in return, schools would receive a $30 million cut. The bill passed on a party-line 25-24 vote.