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October 17, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The election is upon us, and ballots for local elected offices and levies will be delivered to your homes this week. There are many talented and hardworking folks competing to help run and guide our local governments and schools, and I’m personally grateful for all who have stepped forward. Ballots need to be post-marked or dropped in a box by 8:00 p.m. on Tues. Nov. 7. For all voting drop-boxes in Kitsap County, please click here.

This fall I’ve been working with school leaders and visiting classrooms to continue outreach on the education funding and policy reforms that the Legislature passed in June. I’ve presented legislative updates to the Bainbridge Island and Kingston Rotary clubs, and the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, and have been working with constituents and community groups from around the region on policy proposals in preparation for the upcoming legislative session.

In this newsletter I highlight a few things that I thought might be of general interest. Thank you for taking the time to read this update, and, as always, stay in touch.



Vote flag

On Your Ballot: Advisory Votes

There are three Advisory Votes on the ballot this year, two of which are related to the school funding lawsuit that the Legislature has been grappling with for the past five years. While legislators are not permitted to offer advice on ballot issues, we are allowed to answer factual questions, so let me take this moment to clarify a few items. The links provided can give you more information about each bill.

  • House Bill 1597 is related to a fee collected on commercial fishermen to help cover the costs of managing the fisheries.
  • House Bill 2242 is the McCleary plan that the Legislature submitted to the State Supreme Court. It includes the reforms and spending plan for education funding improvements over the next four years. It is on the ballot because it also includes a state property tax increase to pay for the bulk of the funding improvements combined with a change in levy policy that will lower levies in many school districts.
  • House Bill 2163 references three taxes that the Legislature agreed to raise to help pay for school improvements – the B&O tax refers to taxes on oil refineries, and the sales tax refers to the collection of sales tax on bottled water and on out-of-state internet sellers.

The format for these advisory votes in the voter’s pamphlet is laid out in statute by an initiative passed years ago. The advisory votes are just that, advisory – they do not impact the outcome of the legislative action. One important outcome is that voters become better informed about tax policy coming out of Olympia, and can refer to the list of final votes to see how their legislators voted.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

No one should fear losing their job because they need to take care of a newborn, a sick child or an aging parent – and yet this happens every day in our state. This will soon be a thing of the past, however, as the Legislature recently passed a groundbreaking paid family and medical leave insurance program (PFML). Ten years in the making, this bipartisan bill was one of the most significant but least known policies to pass in the 2017 legislative session.

The insurance program will be paid in part by the employer and in part by the employee and covers everyone working in our state. Small businesses (those with less than 50 employees) are exempt from paying the employer share of the premium, although they can opt-in.

When the bill went through committee, we heard a number of stories that highlighted the devastating consequences of having no universal paid family leave in our state. One of those stories was told by a young mom who had to go back to work just three days after giving birth to a premature child who remained in intensive care. Thanks to the hard work of legislators on both sides of the aisle and the courage of Washingtonians to share their stories of struggle, workers across our state can take paid time off when their family most needs them.

For more information, please click here.

PFML employer and employee share

Opioid crisis in Kitsap

Opioid crisis and New State Rules

To combat the growing opioid crisis in our state, the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) is implementing new rules regarding opiate prescriptions. As of Oct. 1, 2017, new opiate prescriptions for individuals age 20 or younger will be for no more than a three-day supply, while prescriptions for adults 21 and older will be prescribed for no more than seven days. This policy will not affect individuals being treated for cancer, or palliative or end of life care. Exceptions are also provided for chronic pain treatment. The goal of this policy is to provide broad discretion to the provider while also tightening standards to reduce abuse.

If you have been prescribed opioid medication for long-term use, this policy probably won’t affect you, but you should talk with your doctor about your specific situation. HCA is ensuring doctors are able to make exceptions when they think it is necessary for a patient’s care.

For more on local efforts to combat the opioid crisis, please click here.

WA Business Alliance CTE Award

Career and Technical Education

I was honored to receive three awards this summer for my work to increase state support for career and technical education (CTE) in public schools. I was named 2017 Legislator of the Year by the Washington Business Alliance, the Washington Association of Career & Technical Administrators and the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education (WA-ACTE).

Ridgetop Aviation Classroom

Kitsap schools have some of the best CTE programs in the state, helping students in both middle and high school stay engaged in learning and gain skills for their future. I had the pleasure of getting a tour of the aviation CTE class at Ridgetop Middle School in Silverdale before receiving the award from the Washington Business Alliance (pictured). This program is one of the state’s most unique middle school CTE programs, where students learn about the science of aviation and flight as well as aviation manufacturing. We watched a classroom full of young teens working with flight simulation software – it was wonderful!

News you can use305 Information nightsKingston Transportation Forum

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Serve Your State on a Board or Commission

Gov. Jay Inslee is seeking skilled and experienced individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds to participate in state boards and commissions. Below is a list of current opportunities that are vacant or past due and ready for immediate appointment, as well as positions with a term set to end in the next three months. The boards and commissions are grouped by issue area: