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    A statement from Sen. Wellman on school closures in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties

A statement from Sen. Wellman on school closures in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties

March 12th, 2020|

Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) released the following statement today regarding Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to close public schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Wellman serves as chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

“Our number one concern is keeping our students, staff and their families safe. We know many people who attend or work in our schools have compromised immune systems, existing medical conditions, elderly relatives and other concerns. We’re keeping those concerns in mind as we move forward. We’re also taking into account the financial and academic concerns that school closures cause.

In the last several weeks, we’ve been working closely with the Governor’s Office, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and local school districts to anticipate their needs and ensure that we have policies in place to lessen the burdens placed on students and school employees.

As adequate access to healthcare is one of our best tools for addressing this pandemic, we have approved a measure that allows school employees to maintain health insurance eligibility for the remainder of the school year during the COVID-19 state of emergency, even if the employees would otherwise lose eligibility due to a school closure or changes in school operations. The idea is that all school employees who had insurance prior to this emergency – including hourly employees – will maintain that coverage.

We have also adopted a policy that gives the State Board of Education the authority to establish an emergency waiver program to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on high school graduations. Students who were on track to graduate prior to the governor declaring a state of emergency on Feb. 29 could receive a waiver.

Again, our priority is helping our communities stay healthy. I thank the Governor, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Legislature for taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and taking steps to help our state.”

Kai Thomson serves as page in Washington State Senate

February 7th, 2020|

Kai Thomson, 15, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of January 31.

Pages are typically sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) sponsored Thomson’s week in the Legislature.

The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. The interactive learning experience includes classes focused on topics like budget writing and how a bill becomes a law, which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers.

“The most interesting thing that I did this week was meeting so many different people in the government and hearing about all of their different roles.  From meeting different senators to the (state) treasurer, to the lieutenant governor.  They were all very nice and took time to answer questions,” said Thomson.

Pages also have the opportunity to work on the Senate floor. Their maroon coats and credentials allow them access to all parts of the Capitol Campus.

“The most fun thing that I did this week was working on the Senate floor passing out notes and bills and it felt like we were a part of the process and in a way help in our own small way to help create the laws,” added Thomson.

“I am very interested in working in public service in the future because I’ve been so inspired by listening to the Senators talk about their constituents and how they reference them during their floor speeches.  It really shows how people are a part of the bill/law writing process,” remarked Thomson.

Thomson is in 9th grade at Sammamish High School. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing the French horn, and Civil Air Patrol.

For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov.

Isabella Syverson serves as page in Washington State Senate

February 7th, 2020|

Isabella Syverson, 16, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of Jan. 24.

Pages are typically sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) sponsored Syverson’s week in the Legislature.

The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. The interactive learning experience includes classes focused on topics like budget writing and how a bill becomes a law, which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers.

“The most interesting thing that I have done is sit on the (Senate) floor and listen to my sponsoring senator speak in favor of a couple of bills.  Listening allowed me to formulate my own opinions about the issues,” said Syverson.

Pages also can work on the Senate floor. Their maroon coats and credentials allow them access to all parts of the Capitol Campus.

“I’m really passionate about the environment and I really enjoyed watching Senator Wellman lead the Environment, Energy & Tech committee.  I could see myself doing that.” added Syverson.

Syverson is in 10th grade at Eastside Preparatory School. In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding, playing violin, and the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra.

For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov