Monthly Archives: January 2017

Sen. Wellman’s Olympia update

January 31st, 2017|

Greetings from Olympia!

We are finishing up the third week of the 2017 legislative session here in Olympia and I wanted to take a moment to provide a brief update. I have been busy settling into my new office and taking on my roles on two committees – the Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee and the Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee.

I was also honored to be elected by my colleagues to serve as vice caucus chair this session. In that role, I will help foster the vision and values of Senate Democrats as we navigate the 105-day session.

I was sworn in during Opening Ceremonies in the Washington State Senate on Jan. 9.

‘Levy Cliff’ bill

The most pressing concern for our public schools is a $356 million shortfall facing the districts across the state next school year. The shortfall is created by the so-called “levy cliff,” which is an artificial limitation in state law on local districts’ ability to collect money that has been approved by district voters. Mercer Island will lose about $1.8 million next year if the Legislature doesn’t act.

My bill (SB 5023) has yet to receive a hearing in the Senate, but the good news is the House of Representative passed the companion bill with a bipartisan vote of 62-35. Now we are waiting on Senate Republicans to act quickly on passing this legislation so schools around the state aren’t forced to cut programs, lay off teachers and increase class size.

We should not be playing politics with school districts, superintendents, parents and teachers and, most importantly our (and their) children.

A sustainable education funding solution

While Democrats released a plan to address education funding before the session started, Senate Republicans finally offered a bill over the weekend. Now we can start finding compromise and deliver a solution that will reduce class sizes, increase teacher salaries, and give us the ability to build or renovate schools.

We are still digging into the details of the Republican bill, but we are very concerned that their proposal picks winners and losers. Many school districts in the Puget Sound region — including Mercer Island — would pay more in taxes and receive fewer educational services. I’ll share more details on both plans in the coming days.

Stay in touch

Thank you for the privilege of representing you here in Olympia. Please reach out to me via email, phone and en-gage on social media including Facebook and Twitter. I am here to listen and be your voice in Olympia.

Onward!

Lisa

Senator Lisa Wellman
41st Legislative District
Lisa.Wellman@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7641

Wellman: Education in prison is smart policy

January 31st, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, is urging Senate Republicans on the Law & Justice Committee to pass Senate Bill 5069, which would allow community and technical colleges to work with the state Department of Corrections to offer educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals. Read her letter below:

Wellman sworn into office to represent 41st District

January 9th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – State Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, was sworn into office to represent the 41st Legislative District today.

Wellman is serving her first term in the Legislature and is one of six new Democratic members to join the Senate in 2017.

“It’s exciting to join the Senate during a time with great challenges and even greater opportunity,” Wellman said. “I’m passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and eager to get to work.”

Wellman has already introduced Senate Bill 5023, which would delay the reduction in local levy authority that threatens to cut millions from school district budgets across the state in the 2017-18 school year.

Often called the “levy cliff,” the planned reductions would take money from school districts already struggling to meet the needs of students as the Legislature continues to debate a plan to boost funding and ensure a world-class education for all students across the state.

“Our first priority should be giving these schools the certainty they need to prepare for the 2017-18 school year,” Wellman said. “We certainly shouldn’t be pulling the rug out from under them as we try to find a long-term solution here in Olympia.”

Wellman will serve on the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development Committee and the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee.