Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This is the second week of session, and already things are moving fast in this short session.
With the Supreme Court’s recent order to the Legislature that it is still not adequately funding education, there has been much discussion about the topic and the court’s balance of powers with the Legislature. I believe education funding is of paramount importance – that’s why I supported last year’s budget that included $1 billion in additional funding for education.
However, we need to ensure we are very strategic with how we fund education so we are not simply sending more money to schools and not expecting results with your hard-earned tax dollars. In a supplemental budget year, we should only be making minor adjustments to the budget – not making major policy decisions.
Watch this video where I describe my most influential teacher growing up:
Flexibility for rural school districts
This week in the House Education Committee, we heard a bill to provide flexibility for small, rural school districts. House Bill 1492 would allow (not require) just five school districts in the state to apply for a waiver to the state’s 180-day requirement for schools. This would help rural districts, with the support of the community, to save money and adjust to sports schedules. Unfortunately, opponents to the bill are blowing the provisions of the bill out of proportion. Currently, two school districts in Southwest Washington are using these waivers – the students’ test scores are good, and the community has embraced the new schedules.
Teleforum – please note phone number has changed
Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry will be joining myself and Rep. Matt Manweller for our telephone town hall on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. The phone number for you to join the live event has changed – please call (877) 229-8493, then enter pin number 112393. Press star(*) 3 to ask one of us a question. I look forward to talking with you.
Recovery for fire damages
There is a concerning trend around the country where those negligent for wildfires are being sued for far above fair market value of the land destroyed. I’m co-sponsoring House Bill 2103 to require responsible parties pay for a reasonable standard of compensation for the land. National appraisal standards would apply, which includes looking at the value of timber, habitat, water resources and recreation – but intangible qualities of the land would not apply and allow people to sue for far more than a piece of land could be sold or condemned. This will help prevent lawsuit abuse by third-party groups against private landowners. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing today.
I appreciate hearing from you while I’m in Olympia. Please contact me anytime with questions, comments or concerns. It’s an honor to serve you.