Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2016 legislative session began on Monday, and I am honored to continue the work we started last year on behalf of the 25th District. The session is scheduled to last 60 days, and we have much to address in that short time frame.
My first priority remains education. Although the Legislature invested an additional $2.9 billion in K-12 education last year, the state Supreme Court ruled during the interim that we are still not adequately funding public schools. Since that ruling, a bipartisan, bicameral group has been working hard on a solid, long-term plan — one I am hopeful will satisfy the court.
In September, the state Supreme Court also ruled voter-approved charter schools unconstitutional. This dealt a major blow to thousands of parents who have been relying on the public charter school system to educate their children. Fortunately, there is bipartisan support for a legislative fix. Parents deserve choices within our public education system. I hope we will be able to pass legislation that preserves the structure and governance of public charter schools to the greatest extent possible.
Bills I've introduced
During a supplemental budget year, bills that did not pass during the prior legislative session still have an opportunity to become law. I am continuing to work on House Bill 1974, which would establish a pilot program to create regional school safety and security centers in three educational service districts. School personnel are often the first responders in emergency situations, so I believe it is vital for them to be properly equipped with ample support and training to handle crises successfully.
HB 2451 would require the Washington Campus Compact, a statewide coalition of public and private higher education institutions, to develop a statewide program to map, track and improve partnerships between identified postsecondary educational institutions and K-12 schools.
HB 2680 would establish the Washington open education pilot grant program at state universities, regional universities, and The Evergreen State College. The cost of textbooks is too high for our college students, so my bill would create a competitive grant program to encourage faculty to accelerate the adoption of lower-cost, high-quality open educational resources. These resources would be freely available online for students to use.
New committee assignment
During interim, I was appointed to the House Transportation Committee, which considers the transportation budget, revenue sources for transportation funding, and issues relating to transportation policy and agencies, including WSDOT and the Washington State Patrol. My other committee assignments have remained the same. I continue to serve as assistant ranking member on the House Education Committee, and also serve on the House Higher Education and Rules committees.
Celebrating Korean-American Day in Olympia
Earlier this week, I attended the 9th Annual Korean-American Day reception here in Olympia. The event gave attendees the opportunity to recognize the achievements of Korean-American community members throughout Washington state. In 2007, Senate Bill 5166 was signed into law declaring Jan. 13 Korean-American Day. The day is meant to commemorate the arrival and first pioneer immigrants from Korea to the United States on Jan. 13, 1903.
Coffee town hall on Jan. 23
Rep. Zeiger and I always enjoy meeting with people from all over the 25th District, which is why we're excited to host an upcoming coffee town hall on Saturday, Jan. 23. If you would like to meet with us to ask questions or share your ideas for legislation, we'll be at the Poodle Dog restaurant in Fife from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Address: 1522 54th Ave E, Fife, WA 98424
We hope to see you there!
Other ways to contact me
As always, I encourage you to email me any time or call and make an appointment to meet with me at my office in Olympia. You are always welcome, and I look forward to meeting with you!