Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have reached the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session. Our focus has shifted from committee work to House floor action and passing the bills that are most important to our district and state. Here are some key highlights I would like to share with you.
Join me for community town halls: Saturday, March 11
As a public official, I've always believed that the more you engage the constituency in the legislative process, the more effective, and more balanced, the resulting legislation will be. I try to take every opportunity I can to involve you in the process. I am proud to say since I have been appointed in 2014, I have hosted more legislative town halls than the majority of the lawmakers in the state House. We face many challenges in Olympia, but I am fighting hard on your behalf. I look forward to sharing the first legislative update of the new biennium with you on Saturday, March 11. Please join me in Gig Harbor and Port Orchard at the following locations:
- Pierce County
Gig Harbor City Council Chambers
3510 Grandview Dr.
- Kitsap County
Port Orchard City Council Chambers
216 Prospect St.
Each event will begin with a brief update on the legislative activity in Olympia, and then we will have an open Q&A session. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!
If you are unable to attend these events, or would like to submit your questions or comments before March 11, please click here, or on the photo below. Thank you!
Supporting career and technical education
I have been a strong advocate for career and technical education (CTE) – think hi-tech and shop class being combined – since I took office. Unfortunately, the status quo continues to hurt our children. It's long past time that we prioritize our children's best interests above party agendas. We have had several opportunities to achieve truly bipartisan solutions in education funding, instruction and available pathways. It is disappointing to see party politics get in the way!
Look, we know every child's learning style is different. Sometimes the standard “book learning” doesn't work for all children. We need different pathways to ensure all students are successful – either to head into higher education or to go right into the workforce. Career and technical education (CTE) is the pathway to give children, parents and teachers a choice.
There have been several opportunities for bipartisan support toward CTE education. Seven amendments were introduced to the Democrats education plan, House Bill 1843. These amendments would have provided students with greater funding for, and access to, CTE curriculums. Access to CTE is crucial for preparing our kids for 21st century jobs. Unfortunately, all but one amendment were rejected. You can trust I will continue to lead in bringing CTE education to our students.
Keeping my promise to protect our economy and environmental systems
You may remember last year, I partnered with the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) to protect human health and the environment. SHB 2357, which was signed into law, ensured small gas stations and other family-owned businesses dealing with leaking underground storage tanks didn't go out of business, and were able to procure insurance and specialized enforcement from PLIA.
This session, I am proud to have taken leadership, again, on a bipartisan bill supporting PLIA and the services they provide. House Bill 1266 was unanimously approved by the House. This bill would expand PLIA's scope of advice and technical assistance services on petroleum storage tank systems. Great things happen when we work together across the aisle to rightfully build our economy, create jobs and protect the environment.
Giving employees greater flexibility and freedom within the hiring process
I am happy to share that the House passed SHB 1298. This hiring process empowerment bill would give employers greater flexibility and freedom within the hiring process. It also would allow those who are working towards an improved life a greater chance to secure work. This “ban the box” bill would alter the initial employment application paperwork and questioning process. It removes the “have you been convicted of a crime” check box on hiring applications. It is critically important to give employers the right, immunity and protection against inquiring about criminal history during an interview.
I will always support employer's rights to maintain oversight over applicants who they seek to hire, especially since there are legitimate reasons to not hire someone with a felony. I support giving qualified applicants a better chance to prove their value and land an opportunity. This bill provides a good middle ground. You can watch my floor speech in support of this bill by clicking here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. I encourage you to forward these updates to your friends, family and neighbors and ask them to subscribe.
I'm here to answer your questions, listen to your ideas and help you navigate problems with your state government.