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    KIMA-TV coverage: Local educators talk school safety with state senator

KIMA-TV coverage: Local educators talk school safety with state senator

May 23rd, 2018|

YAKIMA, Wash. – Washington Senator Lisa Wellman is speaking with local educators about ways to improve school safety.

Wellman said she wants to find out what’s working, what isn’t and what else needs to be done.
“It is about guns and physical safety but it is also about the fact that we have 30,000 kids in the United States committing suicide,” she said.

Wellman said they want teachers to be aware of the kids who are feeling like outsiders in their schools and what can be done to help them feel included in the community.

Read more of this report from KIMA-TV in Yakima here.

Wellman’s statewide tour to focus on school safety

May 21st, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, began a tour of all nine Educational Service Districts in the state on Monday to meet with educators and discuss strategies to improve school safety, student outcomes and digital parity.

Wellman, chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, met with school officials in Pasco Monday. Over the next two weeks, she will make stops in Yakima, Wenatchee, Vancouver, Tumwater, Bremerton, Renton, Anacortes and Spokane. Local officials and Senate staff will join Wellman at each ESD.

“Obviously, school safety is paramount in everyone’s mind right now and these meetings will give the Legislature valuable insight into what’s working and what can be improved in each unique area of our state,” Wellman said. “We also plan to focus on kindergarten readiness, career connected learning and broadband access. Our schools need to work for each and every child.”

Earlier this year, the Legislature increased K-12 funding by nearly $1 billion, the final step to bring Washington into compliance with a state Supreme Court mandate on basic education funding. In January, the Legislature also made the largest ever investment in school construction through the passage of the 2017-19 Capital Budget. Wellman said she is excited to now focus her committee’s work on key emerging needs in the state’s classrooms.

“We have made significant progress with our funding levels, but we are always concerned with continuing to hear directly from our districts on ways to improve the quality of education in our schools. I look forward to listening to the views of all the dedicated educators around the state.”

Here is the full schedule of ESD visits:

  • May 21: Pasco – ESD 123
  • May 22: Yakima – ESD 105
  • May 22: Wenatchee – ESD 171
  • May 24: Vancouver – ESD 112
  • June 4: Tumwater – ESD 113
  • June 4: Bremerton – ESD 114
  • June 11: Anacortes – ESD 189
  • June 13: Renton – ESD 121
  • June 14: Spokane – ESD 101
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    Wellman to serve on new Washington State Women’s Commission

Wellman to serve on new Washington State Women’s Commission

May 10th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, has been appointed to the newly established Washington State Women’s Commission.

Created with the passage of House Bill 2759 during the 2018 legislative session, the commission will focus on solutions to address inequality for women in the workplace and in society overall.

“It’s a true honor to be selected to work with my colleagues on such important challenges. Women are still less likely to be elected to public office or serve in corporate and non-profit leadership positions,” said Wellman, who sponsored companion legislation in the Senate. “Whether it’s pay inequity or sexual harassment, women still face unfair obstacles in the workplace. I look forward to working with the Women’s Commission to break down these barriers.”

The Women’s Commission is responsible for:

  • Reviewing best practices for sexual harassment policies and training, and providing recommendations to state agencies;
  • Identifying and defining specific needs of women of color;
  • Consulting with state agencies regarding the effect of agency policies, rules and practices on the unique problems and needs of women;
  • Staffing the Interagency Committee for State Employed Women;
  • Preparing for a 2020 statewide commemoration of women’s suffrage;
  • Holding public hearings to gather input related to the unique problems and needs of women;
  • Advocating for the removal of legal and social barriers for women; and
  • Reviewing and recommending strategies to increase the number of women serving on for-profit boards.

The commission will also make regular recommendations to the Legislature and to the governor. It will consist of 13 members: four state lawmakers (one from each caucus) and nine members appointed by the governor to provide a balanced and diverse distribution of ethnic, geographic, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status and occupational representation.

The new commission is expected to have official meetings on the calendar by July 1. For more information, click here.

Wellman to serve on new student career-readiness committee

April 9th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, will serve on a new state task force responsible for recommending policies to increase the career and college readiness of public school students in Washington state.

Wellman, the chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, will serve on the new Work-Integrated Learning Advisory Committee responsible for supporting the state’s goal of increasing the number of students who pursue good-paying jobs after high school through career-ready education.

“We know that there are many family-wage jobs that are going unfilled throughout our state and I’m excited to have the opportunity to help connect our students to these exciting careers,” Wellman said.

The committee will be responsible for helping develop a framework for the development of successful work-integrated learning programs throughout the state. These could include internships, externships and apprenticeships with public and private sector employers.

The task force includes lawmakers, educators and representatives from the state’s community and technical colleges and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“We know students from every part of our state would benefit from more work-integrated learning opportunities,” Wellman said. “Our challenge will be to integrate these additional pathways to success into the existing K-12 system.”

A historic 2018 session ends on time!

March 10th, 2018|

Greetings from Olympia!

The final gavel fell on the 2018 legislative session last night and I couldn’t be more proud of what our new Democratic majority accomplished this year. We started 60 days ago with big goals and we were able to deliver legislation that will improve lives in communities across the state. I have a lot to share!


The biggest investment we made this year was in education, and as chair of the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, I spent a bulk of the session focused on improving schools and education policy. Our final budget fully funds teacher salaries by the start of the 2018-19 school year, as ordered by the state Supreme Court. We were also able to make needed adjustments to the sweeping education legislation (HB 2242) passed in 2017. Our schools will see more funding for special education, and levy capacity will grow at a more accurate inflationary rate, which will help maintain local support for enhancements we value in our Eastside schools.

I was also proud to sponsor the Breakfast after the Bell legislation in the Senate this year. The idea is pretty simple — hungry kids have a hard time paying attention and learning. This common-sense legislation will result in more kids starting the day with a nutritious meal, a dynamic that has been proven in the schools that already had this program.

I will have another update soon highlighting all the other great investments made this year in the supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets.

Keep Washington Working Act

I was proud to again sponsor the Keep Washington Working Act (SB 5689), which would safeguard our thriving economy, protect the state from the lack of federal immigration action, and recognize the important role of immigrants in Washington’s workplaces. I believe we have a responsibility to stand up for Washington businesses and protect our economy. From Puget Sound tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft to our agricultural producers across the state, our economy depends on the energy and talent of immigrants. While the legislation did not pass this session, I will not give up on all the workers who are the engine of our economy. I plan to introduce the bill again in 2019.

Eliminating dangerous chemicals

One of the measures I worked on this year concerned perfluorinated chemicals, which are found in fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, and butter wrappers, among other everyday items. These persistent chemicals get into our food and from there into our bodies, where they build up to increasing levels. The chemicals have been linked to health concerns ranging from cancer, to developmental toxicity, to the disruption of hormones. The House companion legislation to my bill passed the Legislature and will lead to our food being packaged in safer materials. Washington also became the first state in the nation to ban perfluorinated chemicals in firefighting foam. For years, firefighters have sprayed the foam around Washington’s military airstrips and fire-training facilities, including the facility in Issaquah. The state Department of Ecology will now study these chemicals so we can take a comprehensive approach to creating a toxic-free environment.

Making progress in 2018

2018 Washington State Senate Democrats.

When Democrats won control of the Senate last November, we identified several key priorities as part of a session-long focus on “putting people first” and completing the people’s work on time with a balanced budget. We passed landmark legislation with bipartisan support throughout the 2018 session, putting the needs of people first in a wide range of areas.

We passed a statewide property tax cut to give households relief from the Republican Property Tax of 2017. In 2019, property taxes will be lowered by $0.31 per $1,000 of assessed value.

We banned bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas massacre to give a semi-automatic rifle the rapid-fire capability of a machine gun.

We required equal pay for equal work to close the wage gap between women and men who do the same work with the same experience.

We passed The Reproductive Health Equity Act to make sure women have the option of choosing the healthcare choices that are best for them and their families. We also passed legislation to require health care providers to cover the cost of 3-D mammograms and to require doctors to inform and assist patients who have high breast density, to better detect early signs of breast cancer.

We strengthened health care coverage for all Washingtonians, addressing health care needs such as disease screening and contraception access in the event the Trump administration continues to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

We expanded high-speed broadband access to rural communities through actions to increase internet access throughout our state, regardless of where you live.

We took action to create more family-wage jobs in rural areas by: directing the state to assess thousands of acres of trust lands that could be harvested without harming endangered species; requiring the state to explore ways to make common-sense land swaps to boost our timber industry; and creating a stronger market for wood products by updating the building code to include cross-laminated lumber.

We increase funding in the capital and operating budgets to help stem the opioid crisis. Much of the funding is directed toward behavioral health and crisis care.

We protected Washingtonians from unfair fees charged by financial institutions to freeze and unfreeze credit accounts when information is breached as in the notorious Equifax debacle.

We expanded voter access to Democracy on several fronts. We passed The DISCLOSE Act to expose hidden money in elections; same-day voter registration, automatic voter registration, and voter pre-registration; and The Washington Voting Rights Act to provide representation to disenfranchised voters.

We passed Net Neutrality to protect Washington households from receiving slowed or reduced internet service.

We protected college students from fraudulent and predatory practices by lenders that saddle students with spiraling debt by passing The Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect.

We reformed juvenile justice to reduce recidivism by increasing access to evidence-based rehabilitative services for certain youth who would otherwise be tried and sentenced as adults. We also gave prosecutors more discretion to divert less serious cases so youth can access the services and help they need to get back on track.

We passed The Dream Act 2.0 to expand access to higher education for students who are DACA recipients.

We fought to limit the disclosure of people’s religious affiliations to protect them from federal authorities who would use the information to arrest or apprehend law-abiding Washingtonians.

We banned conversion therapy, the practice of applying physical and mental discomfort to try to force LGBTQ minors to conform to a gender identity other than which feels appropriate for who they are.

We phased out Atlantic salmon net pen farms that threaten the health of our water and native finfish populations such as salmon.

International Women’s Day

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and we marked the occasion with a video message. Please take a minute to watch the video on my new official Facebook page.

Stay in Touch!

I am proud to be a member of a caucus that prioritized legislation to make our households healthier and our communities stronger. As a result, our state provided a national example for what can be done when Democrats are united and put people first. Please continue to reach out to me with any questions. It’s a true privilege to serve the 41st District.


Sen. Wellman’s statement on ESB 6617

March 2nd, 2018|

Last night Governor Inslee vetoed ESB 6617, the Legislative Public Records Act. After hearing from the people of the 41st district, I believe it was the right decision.

I initially supported the bill because I believe in the positive transparency reforms it would have enacted. However, I recognize the process through which the bill came to be was flawed and did not adequately provide for public input.

I’m glad the media and Legislature were able to come to an agreement to jointly request a stay of Judge Lanese’s decision, to give all parties the time needed to sit down and find a workable solution. I look forward to an open process where all stakeholders, including the public and media, have the opportunity to share their concerns on this important piece of legislation.

For now, we can continue focusing on issues that impact the people of Washington, including efforts to reduce gun violence, improve women’s health, lower property taxes, increase affordable housing, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.


Video: Wellman discusses education on the Eastside

February 13th, 2018|

Sens. Lisa Wellman, Manka Dhingra, and Patty Kuderer, who each represent legislative districts in King County’s Eastside, discuss education funding, levies, and taxes.

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    Senate approves Wellman’s ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ legislation

Senate approves Wellman’s ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ legislation

January 19th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Legislation to expand the successful “Breakfast After the Bell” program to more students across the state passed the state Senate today with bipartisan support.

The program would ensure more students — especially those with limited financial means — have access to a nutritionally balanced meal after the first bell of the school day.

“We know students who get quality nutrition have improved concentration and academic outcomes in the classroom, and this bill will ensure more students have that opportunity,” said Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, prime sponsor of the bill.

Under the legislation, schools would have the flexibility to choose a delivery model that works best for their individual needs, whether it is a quick nutrition break in the morning, breakfast in the classroom, or grab-and-go style during the walk between classes.

“It’s a common-sense bill that will have an impact,” Wellman said. “We’ve already seen this program implemented across the country. Now it’s time to make sure more kids here in Washington start their day with a healthy breakfast.”

Read more about Senate Bill 6003 here.

Sen. Wellman’s Olympia update

January 8th, 2018|

Greetings from Olympia!

As 2018 begins, I’m happy to report some exciting changes in the Legislature. After five years of Republican control, Democrats gained a one-seat majority after winning a special election last November in the 45th Legislative District. With Senate Democrats back in the majority, our caucus now has the power to set the agendas of committees and floor action, determining which bills will be heard and brought up for vote. This change in power gives us opportunities to pass important legislation that puts people first!

I recently visited Enetai Elementary to learn more about ECEAP.

New year, new responsibilities

The Legislature convenes today in Olympia and I will have the honor of chairing the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. As a former educator, I am thrilled to have the chance to focus on improving outcomes for the more than one million children in our public schools. As you know, the Legislature passed a broad package of legislation in 2017 related to the McCleary school funding case. When this passed after lengthy special sessions, there was uncertainty as to exactly how these policy changes would play out in each school district. In our first public hearing in the education committee on Jan. 9 we’ll hear from school districts about ways we can improve and refine that legislation so that we move closer to our overarching goal – ensuring every student receives a world-class education.

I recently sat down with the League of Education Voters to discuss the upcoming session. You can listen to the podcast here.

In addition to my Senate committee assignments, Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib recently appointed me to his International Trade and Economic Development Commission.


One of my first priorities early this session will be passing legislation to expand the successful “Breakfast After the Bell” program to more schools around the state. The program ensures more students — especially those with limited financial means — have access to a nutritionally balanced meal after the first bell of the school day. We know the traditional before-school breakfast program doesn’t always work for every student, and this bill will give our districts more options to put students in a position to learn.
I’m also focused on expanding access to high-speed internet across the state, especially ensuring access in every classroom and public library. Several school districts still lack access to a reliable internet connection, and that must change. If we expect our kids to attain the skills they will need to compete in our current global economy, we must have digital parity across all 295 school districts.

Capital budget

When the long 2017 session finally ended last summer, Senate Republicans left town and refused to bring up the bipartisan capital construction budget for a vote because of an unrelated dispute with the House over rural water wells. Their actions have delayed important projects throughout the state, including school construction and important environmental cleanup projects. They blocked hundreds of family-wage jobs and many state employees have been laid off. As we resume work to resolve this standoff, I have renewed hope that we can pass a capital budget early this session and get these crucial projects re-started.

We toured the Yakima watershed, learning about the need for infrastucture projects critical to our economy across the state.

Closing the book on 2017

Last year was tough for many of us due to the constant chaos coming from our nation’s capital, but we also saw a surge in citizen participation and engagement – which gives me hope for 2018. For me, it was a year about learning as well as doing. As a freshman, I had the chance to focus on issues that impact people here in the 41st Legislative District and across the state. The past few months have been full of learning opportunities:

• I joined Principal David Staight and other leaders to celebrate the grand opening Bellevue’s Bennett Elementary. It’s exciting to think of all the learning that will take place in that beautiful facility for years to come. Go Bulldogs!

• I had a great visit to Enetai Elementary (photo above) to visit with students in ECEAP (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program). I learned a lot about this innovative program for our littlest learners. There are many children still waiting to get into this program – we have more work to do!

• I had the chance to travel east of the Cascades to learn about Yakima watershed’s integrated management strategy. This partnership is all about sustainability – water for today and water for tomorrow.

• I travelled to Moses Lake to discuss rural jobs, tour local manufacturers and visit a data server farm. It’s always exciting to see great examples of economic development in rural Washington up close. I was also interviewed by the local paper about my ideas on how to improve infrastructure financing.

Stay in Touch!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office this year. I always love to hear about the issues important to you. It’s a true honor to serve you in the Legislature.

Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and productive new year.



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    Wellman introduces bill to expand ‘Breakfast After the Bell’

Wellman introduces bill to expand ‘Breakfast After the Bell’

December 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, introduced legislation in Olympia this week that would expand the popular “Breakfast After the Bell” program to more schools around the state.

The program would ensure more students — especially those with limited financial means — have access to a nutritionally balanced meal after the first bell of the school day.

“This bill is about being responsive to the needs of students and educators,” Wellman said. “We know the traditional before-school breakfast program doesn’t always work for every student, and this bill will give our districts more options to put students in a position to learn.”

Under the legislation, schools would have the flexibility to choose a delivery model that works best for their individual needs whether it is a quick nutrition break in the morning, breakfast in the classroom, or grab-and-go style during the walk between classes.

“The evidence is clear – students have improved concentration and achieve higher academic outcomes when they are learning after a healthy breakfast,” said Wellman, the incoming chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. “We’ve already seen this program implemented successfully across the country. Now it’s time to give the same opportunity to more students across our state.”

Click here for more details on Senate Bill 6003.