Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’ve completed the first week of the 2023 Legislative Session and I’m pleased to welcome my colleagues back to our district for an in-person session. After two years of calling in, voting, and legislating from our homes, we’ve been meeting in person in committees and will prepare soon to pass bills on the floor.
I returned to chairing the Senate State Government & Elections Committee and have sponsored a number of bills in other committees. Here are the highlights:
On Your Radar
In our committees we heard a number of bills last week and we’ll prepare to hear more this week. Over the next few weeks, I will testify on legislation I’ve sponsored. Here are just a few of the creative ideas for legislation I’ve introduced:
Teacher Mobility Compact
This fall, the Council of State Governments, of which I am Immediate Past National Chair, convened for a national conference. Attendees exchanged ideas across states and shared policy proposals that could benefit our communities. One such idea is the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. In this proposal, SB 5180, other states participating would allow teachers to be granted licensure in their state. In other words, teachers could more seamlessly transfer their accreditations to another state.
We already have various compacts around the country. For example, physical therapists and emergency medical service officials have compacts. This process would expedite teacher certification and remove barriers for teachers seeking certification. With a sliver of JBLM in our district, we have many military families connected to Thurston County schools. Military spouses who are educators face difficulty transferring their teaching eligibility requirements. At the same time, we have a teacher shortage in Washington state, and we need to start considering new remedies to a persisting problem. We are the first state in the nation to introduce a teacher compact and I’m looking forward to getting this conversation started.
Voting, and the right to vote, is the cornerstone of our democratic form of government. It is essential to accurate representation. This session, we’re exploring universal voting with SB 5209. Universal voting is a concept in which Americans would be required to vote, just like getting a driver’s licenses, paying taxes, or serving on juries. This concept isn’t new. Countries like Australia have implemented universal voting and saw a 91.9% voter turnout in their 2019 election. Imagine if we empowered everyone to vote and do their civic duty? Now there might be some people who don’t want to vote, but under this proposal, voters can turn in a full, partial, or even blank ballot. The measure will stifle voter suppression laws as well, ensuring the right to vote isn’t a privilege, but a right.
Gas Cost Transparency
When you fill up your vehicle, have you ever noticed the price listed at something like $4.29.9 a gallon? There is always that .9 cents. Most people look at the price and say the price is $4.29 when it is actually $4.30. That is a small difference, but not factual. The current pricing scheme—which has been with us for years—is not truth in packaging. And when one considers that over 3.5 billion gallons of fuel are sold in the state each year, that pricing gimmick amounts to a lot of money. That’s why I sponsored SB 5195. This bill would require that fuel prices be listed in full dollars and cents, no more .9 cents. I believe in transparency, not just in government, but at the pump too!
Page Program Returns
We have our first page in two years! Lucy Clinton joins us from Olympia High School where she is a freshman. When she isn’t in school or paging for the senate, she is in her school orchestra and enjoys playing soccer and swimming.
The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to learn about state government. The week-long interactive learning experience includes classes on the Legislature.
We were pleased to welcome Lucy as our first page since the beginning of the pandemic. She even shared her hopes to become a civics teacher when she is older to teach another generation about the importance of being involved politically.
Ways to stay connected
I appreciate your thoughts and advocacy and I hope you’ll keep in touch.
Get involved in the process
- Learn—How a bill becomes a law, from start to finish, is explained here.
- Find—Look up legislation on the issues important to you here.
- Watch—Visit TVW.org for broadcasts and archived videos of your democracy in action.
- Reach out—If you do not live in the 22nd Legislative District, you can find and contact your legislators here.
As always, please reach out to my office for any questions or comments. You can also find me on Facebook to receive updates about the work we are doing for you.