With the Christmas season upon us I hope you’re enjoying time with family and friends. I’ve been making as much time for that as I can myself as the Legislature’s 2016 legislative session approaches.
The Legislature alternates between long (105 days) and short sessions (60 days). This year is a short session, but that doesn’t necessarily mean less work, usually just less time to get our work done!
Below you can read about my selection to deliver the State of the State response as well as a quick preview of the 2016 session that starts January 11. I also encourage you to watch the moving testimony of charter school students trying to preserve their schools.
Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy the holiday season!
Responding to the State of the State
The official start to each legislative session is the State of the State address by the Governor to a joint session of the House and Senate. This speech serves to start the debate on the session’s major policy issues and priorities. This year I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to deliver the response to the State of the State.
The response to this speech is a key moment to define our priorities and show where our vision for the state differs from the Governor’s. I’m thrilled to be given the responsibility of speaking on behalf of my Majority Coalition Caucus colleagues and presenting a vision for all of Washington that puts jobs, education and fiscal responsibility first. You can catch it all by tuning in to TVW on January 12.
2016: Looking Ahead
In 2015, we made major progress on giving our children a great education, supporting economic growth and living within our means. We made some historic changes including reducing college tuition for the first time in state history, increasing education funding by $1.3 billion and making needed changes to our mental health system. You have been clear that these are your priorities for our state.
2016 will be about building on those results.
I am working on several bills to improve the efficiency of government, support small businesses and provide for our honored veterans. I’ve heard countless ideas and concerns from so many of you that have led to bills and solutions to improve our quality of life. Your suggestions and issues are important to me and I am acting on them.
It is humbling and an honor to do this work in Olympia. That’s why I need to hear from you. How can our government serve you better? As we begin another legislative session, please keep in touch and let me know how I can help you make our community even better.
Preserving Charter Schools
As many of you know, the state Supreme Court recently ruled that funding for charter schools in Washington was unconstitutional, forcing charter schools across the state to scramble for other funding so they can remain open for their students. The Court’s ruling is particularly puzzling as it relies on a legal argument from over one hundred years ago. Senator Joe Fain explains why their ruling is problematic here.
One of my priorities this year will be fixing the problem created by the Court and preserving these schooling options for the many children and families who depend on them.
Please take the time to hear directly from the students themselves about why this is important by watching their recent testimony in Senate committee above.