Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are finishing up the tenth week of the legislative session. Wednesday, March 11, was House of origin cutoff, meaning bills that did not pass out of their respective chamber are now dead for the session, unless they are deemed necessary to implement the budget. You can watch my video where I discuss the floor action, legislation on the minimum wage, and provide an update on our town hall meetings by clicking here.
Senate Bill 5954 would cap tuition to a percentage of the state's average income and also reduce tuition by as much as 30 percent at state-run research institutions. As you know, one of my goals as part of the House Higher Education Committee is making higher education more affordable and accessible.
Senate Bill 5111, also called the Community Prosperity and Revitalization (CPR) Act, would help local communities create jobs by speeding up the permitting process for large-scale projects of statewide significance.
We are hearing a lot about Senate Bill 5748, the measure clarifying the teacher and principal evaluation process. This bill would help us regain a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and restore district control of Title 1 funds. It would also restore flexibility for districts to use these funds in the way they believe best serves disadvantaged kids.
The Senate also passed a measure called the Early Start Act, Senate Bill 5452, which would provide parents with access to early learning programs that are compliant with state standards. It passed the Senate with bipartisan support. It is currently in the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee.
The House Technology and Economic Development Committee has a public hearing scheduled on Sen. Doug Ericksen's measure to provide incentives for carbon reduction investments. This is a market-friendly alternative to “cap-and-trade' and other carbon reduction proposals under consideration. In its current form it makes minor changes to I-937, aims to boost jobs and prevent steep increases in electric bills. Senate Bill 5735 is scheduled for a public hearing next week.
Another issue we continue to hear a lot about is rules and regulations surrounding the marijuana laws, including medical marijuana. Since the initiative passed, the state has worked to implement a legal framework for the recreational and medical marijuana industries. The Senate passed the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, Senate 5052, which relates to the medical marijuana industry. We will be debating its merits in the House.
I would be interested in your thoughts on these measures and any other legislation of interest to you.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who participated in the telephone town hall Rep. Melanie Stambaugh and I held last week. We had more than 400 people on the line at one point, and at least 1,200 people listened to part of the call. It is a great outreach tool we like to utilize so you can receive a legislative update from the comfort of your own home.
Keep in touch.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000