Monthly Archives: March 2017

Wellman bill to avert levy cliff signed into law

March 15th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed legislation that will delay the so-called “levy cliff,” averting $358 million in cuts to K-12 schools in the next school year.

Senate Bill 5023, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, delays a scheduled reduction in the money school districts can collect through local property taxes already approved by voters. It also includes provisions intended to clarify how districts spend local levy dollars.

“This legislation offers relief to our students, teachers and administrators who no longer have to brace for substantial budget cuts next year,” Wellman said. “Compromise on this issue should provide hope for further cooperation in the Legislature on the larger McCleary school funding issue.”

In recent weeks, uncertainty surrounding the levy cliff created difficult scenarios for school districts budgeting for the next fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1, with the budgets facing imminent deadlines. Many districts faced multi-million dollar cuts that would have triggered layoffs and program cuts.

“Now that this distraction is behind us, we can focus all of our attention on a final budget that substantially increases funding and outcomes for our public schools,” Wellman said.

Sen. Wellman’s Olympia Update

March 13th, 2017|

Levy cliff averted with passage of my bill

We used many strategies in recent weeks to try and convince Senate Republicans to pass the levy extension, including this sign. After the bill passed, I was happy to celebrate with one of our Senate staffers, Victor Rubio Rivera, who diligently updated our message for more than 40 days.

I am thrilled to report that this week the Senate passed my bill (SB 5023) to avert the levy cliff and prevent a massive budget cut to our school districts next year. The bill allows school districts to collect the levies approved by the voters, but Senate Republicans refused to act for 43 days while administrators were put in the impossible situation of deciding who to lay off and what programs to cut. And then on Wednesday night, we finally struck a deal with Senate Republicans to end this needless uncertainty and allow our public school employees to do what they do best — educate our children. My bill was quickly approved by the House on Thursday and I expect the governor to sign it into law early next week.
I want to thank all the parents, teachers, students who spoke up and helped move the needle on this important issue. We persisted together and it paid off! Now, we need to tap that same energy as we work to find a solution on the larger education funding challenge.

Town Hall March 18

I hope you will be able to join us for the 41st District Town Hall on March 18 at Somerset Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I will join Reps. Tana Senn and Judy Clibborn to provide an update on the 2017 legislative session and answer any other questions or concerns you may have. I look forward to seeing you!

Legislative session hits the halfway mark

We are now more than halfway through the 15-week legislative session and this week marked the “house of origin” cutoff – a deadline for all non-budget bills to move from one chamber to the other. Senate Democrats fought hard to advance progressive ideas that provide real help to people in our state. We will now shift our focus to and debate the 750 bills that are still “alive” and work on finding compromise on a plan for amply funding public schools.

Help decorate our office!

We have been so busy with policy and legislative work, we haven’t been able to put any work into decorating our bare office walls. We are hoping you can help! We love all the furry creatures of the 41st District and we thought it would be fun to create a collage of “Dogs of the 41st”. Please send us a picture of your pup and we’ll add them to our collage.

Thanks for the help, Sophia and Paige!

I had the pleasure of hosting two exceptional students from Mercer Island High School last week. Sophia Kershaw and Paige Fisher served as pages for a week here in Olympia, helping out and learning about the legislative process. If you want to learn more about the page program, click here.

Stay in touch!

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email, phone or social media including Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for the honor of serving you in Olympia.

Onward!

Lisa

Senator Lisa Wellman
Lisa.Wellman@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7641

Senate approves Wellman’s bill to avert levy cliff

March 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – The Senate on Wednesday approved a one-year delay on what’s commonly called the “levy cliff,” averting a $358 million cut to K-12 schools.

Senate Bill 5023, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, would delay by one year a scheduled reduction in the money school districts can collect through local property tax dollars already approved by voters.

“This is a big victory for all the parents, teachers, and administrators in our state. Thanks to this bill, schools no longer have to wrestle with impossible decisions about whether to cut critical staff and services,” Wellman said. “I’m glad we were able to find bipartisan consensus on this important measure for the state’s 1.1 million students.”

In recent weeks, many school districts across the state were forced to develop two separate budgets in anticipation of the levy cliff. Districts officials had been preparing to send lay-off notices to teachers and classified staff.

“Now that this distraction is behind us, we can continue to work on a compromise on the larger issue of school funding and make sure the final solution substantially increases funding for our public schools,” Wellman said.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.