Monthly Archives: February 2014

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    Sen. Ranker: “Our work on K-12 education funding must continue.”

Sen. Ranker: “Our work on K-12 education funding must continue.”

February 28th, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, the No. 2 ranking Democrat during the budget writing process, released the statement below following the passage of the 2014 supplemental operating budget on Thursday afternoon:

“I want to first thank Sen. Hargrove for his leadership throughout this process. His knowledge and experience were invaluable every step of the way.

“I supported this budget, not only because I helped write it, but also because there is a sound Democratic imprint contained within its pages.

“We held firm in this budget. We protect seniors and the disabled and we ensure that women’s health care choices are their own.

“Many of my Democratic colleagues also supported this budget, but they did so while making clear that we are far from finished when it comes to answering our constitutional obligation to K-12 education in this state.

“While we made a small investment in K-12 education with this supplemental budget, I agree that we did not go nearly far enough.

“We must continue to discuss the K-12 funding question this year. We must invest in smaller class sizes, updated textbooks and technology and ensure that we retain and recruit the best teachers by funding cost of living increases.

“We must continue that discussion this year in the little time we have left.

“Earlier this week my Democratic colleagues put forth a proposal – which I cosponsored – that will put us on track to fully fund K-12 education in our state by 2018.

“That proposal is not an ultimatum. It is an idea. And it’s an idea that I encourage all of my colleagues – Democratic and Republican – to come together and advance for the sake of Washington’s one million school kids.

“Our work on K-12 education funding must continue.”

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    Sen. Ranker: Dream no longer delayed for hundreds of Washington college hopefuls

Sen. Ranker: Dream no longer delayed for hundreds of Washington college hopefuls

February 26th, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the statement below following Wednesday’s signing of the Dream Act by Gov. Jay Inslee:

“Today was a historic day for our state and for everyone who truly cares about equality and opportunity.

“With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Inslee fulfilled a promise to hundreds of students in our state who were unfairly paying for the decisions made by their parents years ago.

“Their parents came to our country, to our state, seeking a better life for their children and today that promise was delivered on.

“The passage of the Dream Act allows students to be judged solely on their academic accomplishments. All these kids have ever asked for is the same opportunity as their classmates. Now they have it.

“A wrong has been righted and that is something we can all celebrate.”

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    Sen. Ranker: Education funding “not only of deep financial concern, it is a moral concern.”

Sen. Ranker: Education funding “not only of deep financial concern, it is a moral concern.”

February 25th, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, issued the statement below following the release of a plan by Senate Democrats on Tuesday to fund K-12 education:

“It has become abundantly clear that we must commit to a thoughtful and realistic plan if we are going to meet our constitutional obligation to Washington’s more than a million school kids by 2018.

“We must recognize that we face a multi-billion dollar issue and if we are going to address this issue responsibly, revenue must be part of the solution.

“Because of this, I joined my Senate Democratic colleagues in sponsoring legislation which will help our state fulfill its paramount duty to our kids and fully fund education.

“We have some very difficult choices to make and a very short time in which to make them. This is why I’m so pleased that my Senate colleagues took a critical step in moving the conversation forward today with the introduction of SB 6574.

“This is not only of deep financial concern, it is a moral concern.

“We shouldn’t ask another kid to go through another school year in an overcrowded classroom.

“We must not have another child go through another year with out-of-date textbooks or not enough classroom supplies to get by.

“We shouldn’t ask another teacher and their family to scrape by for another year without fair pay.

“We need to act now and this plan we’re putting forth today is a first step in what will be a difficult journey over the next three years.”

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    Sen. Ranker: Supplemental budget strong, but more needs to be done

Sen. Ranker: Supplemental budget strong, but more needs to be done

February 25th, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, and the No. 2 Democrat on the Senate’s budget writing team, released the statement below following the rollout of the supplemental operating budget Monday afternoon:

“I was honored to be a part of this process. It’s reassuring to see what can be accomplished when partisan differences are put aside. This budget is an example of that effort.

“Where we were able to find limited resources, we prioritized Democratic priorities such as ensuring no cuts to family planning and the social safety net.

“Although we do put limited resources toward K-12 education, we have much more to do.

“We have a lot of work to do toward living up to our constitutional obligation of fully funding our state’s classrooms. The conversation must continue and the conversation must include new revenue. We cannot simply move money from other critical programs to pay for education.”

Sen. Ranker honored for championing on-line learning

February 21st, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker has long promoted the idea of matching up the right learning experience with the right children. 

The Digital Public Schools Alliance recently thanked the Orcas Island lawmaker for his years of advocacy on behalf of Alternative Learning Experiences (ALE) by naming him a 2014 Pioneer Educator of the Year.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to educating our kids,” Ranker said. “Our students and their families must have options and those options should include a wide array of solutions. That includes on-line learning.”

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    Ranker bill supporting future farmers receives unanimous support

Ranker bill supporting future farmers receives unanimous support

February 18th, 2014|

The legacy of small farms in Washington will be passed on to future generations with help from legislation passed unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 5123, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, would extend a pilot program that allows farms with gross sales of less than $250,000 annually to create internship programs for future farmers.

“The average farmer is 57 years old and young people are not exactly lining up to enter the agriculture industry,” Ranker said. “This bill would make sure opportunities for internships exist for those young people who want to pursue this opportunity to build on our state’s farming heritage.”

The program allows farms in certain counties around the state to employ up to three interns who are not enrolled in classes to work on farms throughout the state. Farms will be required to submit an application to the state’s Department of Labor and Industries and complete an agreement with the intern that includes a description of the work and any wages to be paid.

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    Ranker highlights connection between outdoor recreation and a strong economy

Ranker highlights connection between outdoor recreation and a strong economy

February 13th, 2014|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, joined Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday for the governor’s announcement of an initiative to promote the outdoor recreation and tourism sectors in Washington State.

During his introduction of the governor Ranker said, “I am excited to see the governor launch this effort to highlight the important role outdoor recreation plays in our state’s economy. It is critical that we protect our great outdoors and natural resources and the jobs that depend upon them.”

Ranker and Inslee joined a group of businesses, non-profit groups and public agencies in Olympia to discuss the initiative with the The Big Tent Outdoor Coalition, a collection of three dozen Washington for-profit, non-profit and government organizations.

A recent study concluded that $22.5 billion is spent annually in Washington on outdoor recreation, supporting 227,600 jobs and generating $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue.

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    Ranker bill will provide critical information to emergency personnel in a time of crisis

Ranker bill will provide critical information to emergency personnel in a time of crisis

February 6th, 2014|

During the nearly two-week telecommunications outage in San Juan County last November, two horrible situations occurred because first responders could not respond to the most vulnerable in their time of need.  With no 911 service available and the life alert systems not working, the only way for our first responders to make sure our vulnerable were ok was to go door to door. 

The fire department requested locations of life alert customers recognizing that these individuals would be the most vulnerable without help. Unfortunately, internal rules prevented the companies from revealing the locations of their subscribers and two people who had been in serious need of medical attention went without help.  One of these individuals went without help and was unable to move for two full days and tragically, the other passed away.

Senate Bill 6554, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, will remedy this situation in the future. The Bill passed out of the Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee today with strong bipartisan support.  Specifically the bill will ensure the location of life alert subscribers will be required to be provided to emergency personnel in a time of crisis. Further, the bill goes into specific detail to in order to fully ensure the privacy of the life alert customers during and after the emergency situation.

“This is about public safety and making absolutely sure our first responders have access to the critical information they need to do their job in a time of crisis,” Ranker said. “I’d like to thank Orcas Island Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien for traveling all the way down to Olympia today to testify on this bill. His insight and first-hand experience was crucial.”

Life alert customer information is confidential and may only be used by first responders in responding to the emergency that prompted the information request. Any first responder receiving the information must destroy it at the end of the emergency and give written notification of such destruction to the company.

Life alert services allow persons in need of emergency assistance to contact a call center through the activation of a wearable device, such as a pendant or bracelet.

The bill now awaits action on the Senate floor.