It’s been a busy few weeks as we close in on the mid-point of the 105-day legislative session here in Olympia. We are starting pass bills out of the Senate, including my first bill to safeguard the privacy of college sexual assault victims by protecting their conversations with campus advocates from public disclosure laws. Victims who seek help on campus should know their personal histories will be confidential. I’ll continue to work with students from all the major state universities and colleges as this bill moves to the House for consideration.
GOP’s levy cliff ploy hurts our schools
It’s been a month since the House passed a bill to allow school districts to continue collecting local levy dollars at the current rate. Without action from the Legislature, our school districts will have to prepare for what’s called the “levy cliff” — and lose millions of dollars in funding. Senate Republicans are refusing to address the crisis, creating chaos and uncertainty for schools. In just a few weeks, districts will have to start sending out layoff notices. This is completely unacceptable and Democrats will continue to urge action to prevent this unnecessary disruption to classrooms across the state.
Standing up for Washington values
Like many of you, I remain extremely concerned about the policy and rhetoric coming from the Trump administration. I was proud to stand in support of Gov. Inslee on Thursday as he signed an executive order reaffirming our state’s commitment to tolerance. I’m especially proud of the governor’s action this week because his staff used language from my bill: SB5689 – Keep Washington Working Act. My bill is aimed at protecting the state’s economy by prohibiting hostile work environments for the thousand of immigrants who contribute to our economy. Immigrant advocates, religious leaders, business owners and educators all testified in support of my bill, but Senate Republicans refused to bring it up for a vote. Thankfully, the governor came through with “Plan B” – and signed the executive order. Watch the event here.
Funding education takes compromise
Democrats and Republicans in Olympia have approved their respective education proposals. It’s now time to sit down and start negotiating. Our budget negotiators this week formally requested meetings with Senate Republicans so we can improve education outcomes for our 1.1 million K-12 students.
I have serious concerns with the Republican plan, as do many educators in our school districts. The Republican proposal looks more like a property tax redistribution scheme than an education plan. I will not support a final package that undermines our quality teachers, redefines poverty, and shortchanges our kids.
Sen. Murray visits
Sen. Patty Murray visited Senate Democrats this week to give us an update on what she’s doing to hold the Trump Administration accountable. She told us how inspired she is by the thousands of Washingtonians speaking up for our values and shared that she received 55,000 letters opposing the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. I’m so proud of our state and the grassroots energy we are creating together.
It was pleasure to host Abraham (Brahm for short)Schenck this week as a Senate page. Brahm, 14, spent the week helping out our office and learning about civics first-hand in Olympia. I hope he returns to Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences with a lot of knowledge to share with his classmates. If you know someone who is interested in page program, more information is available here.
Stay in touch!
Senator Lisa Wellman Lisa.Wellman@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7641