Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, issued the following statement after voting on several pieces of legislation on the Senate floor:
“Today we took three critical votes on bills that will help us finish our business for the 2015 Legislative Session. The challenges faced by our state legislature have been some of the most difficult in state history. Our work was extremely challenging and we have worked incredibly hard to get to this point.
“The first vote we took today on House Bill 2266 will delay the voter-approved class size initiative for the next four years. I voted against the delay of Initiative 1351. Instead of addressing the need for new revenue to meet all of the state’s obligations, including I-1351, it became far more advantageous to put forward a budget without new revenue, then it was to craft a budget that includes new revenue and adequate funding to meet all of our responsibilities. Already in contempt of a State Supreme Court order, I believe that delaying the initiative could lead to yet another Supreme Court decision that could force legislative action in the future.
“I supported the second piece of legislation, Senate Bill 6145, which will help up to 2,000 high school students who will now be able to receive their diploma and graduate. Withholding a high school diploma over a failed biology assessment when all other graduation requirements have been met is unfair to our students, especially when the legislature changes testing requirements every few years. This bill is the beginning to a larger conversation. We need to continue to work to find a better long-term solution for this situation.
“The final bill, House Bill 1166, will allow the many wonderful projects included in our capital budget the ability to be funded. In particular, the Waterfront Development Project in Vancouver received $4 million in the capital budget and will bring jobs and economic investments to the city. This project was my top priority this session.
“Now that the work is in Olympia is coming to a conclusion, I will be able to turn my attention back to the interim work of meeting with constituents and developing policy bills for the 2016 session.”