Thursday, February 04, 2016

Legislative Updates from Senator Jamie Pederson

Senator Pederson is from my district, the Fightin' 43rd.

From his latest newsletter (partial:)
Today is our first big cutoff, when bills that have not passed out of committee will die for this year.
Please attend our 43rd District Town Hall on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Erickson Theater at Seattle Central College. House Speaker Frank Chopp and I will discuss the legislature’s work and answer your questions on various issues before the state.

I wanted to update you on some issues that I have been working on. I also wanted to invite you to attend our 43rd District Town Hall on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Erickson Theater at Seattle Central College. House Speaker Frank Chopp and I will discuss the legislature’s work and answer your questions on various issues before the state.

Funding Public Education
My top priority this year, as usual, is increasing funding for our public schools. As the father of four students at Stevens Elementary on north Capitol Hill, this issue is personal to me.

The Supreme Court has directed the state to reduce its reliance on local property tax levies to fund teacher pay and other aspects of basic education. At the request of the Gov. Inslee, a small group of legislators worked to develop a bipartisan plan to address this issue. The House has already passed the plan; Senate Republicans, unfortunately, have amended the bill to remove our deadline for compliance and disclaim responsibility for school construction. Although disappointing, that is not surprising -- 19 of the 26 members of that caucus signed a letter last summer urging the legislature to commence federal litigation to overturn the McCleary decision. I fear that we will resolve this issue only with a change in control of the Senate or a more drastic intervention by the Supreme Court. 
Because of the rapid enrollment growth in Seattle Public Schools and direction from the Supreme Court and the voters to reduce class sizes, we also need to increase state support for school construction. I am proud to have introduced SB 5859, which would revise the formula for state school construction funding. For many years, the formula has underfunded school construction across the state; it especially disadvantages Seattle Public Schools. Last year, I helped lead efforts by the Seattle delegation to secure $25 million in extra funding that will help to reopen two closed elementary schools to address overcrowding. This year, we are working together again to request about $7 million to expand West Woodland Elementary School.* Both of these items await action by the Senate Ways & Means Committee, which handles the operating and capital budgets for the state.
*Editor's note; this money would go to build an addition at West Woodland and was briefly mentioned at today's Executive Committee meeting
 

Pedersen Family

9 comments:

Teacher Greg said...

I've been trying to follow the Senate Charter Bill closely, and am also not 100% up to speed on the rules and regulations of the State Legislature -- but I believe that the cut-off is for bills in the chamber of origin? Meaning that the Senate Charter Bill is still alive in the House? If I read the rules right I think the House has until February 26th to either move it out of committee or let it die. Am I correct on this?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Greg, I am not good at this either but I know there is an accompanying House bill for each Senate bill. I think the House still has a chance to bring forward their charter bill but Chopp may not let it see the light of day.

Anyone else?

Watching said...

"Senate Republicans, unfortunately, have amended the bill to remove our deadline for compliance and disclaim responsibility for school construction. Although disappointing, that is not surprising -- 19 of the 26 members of that caucus signed a letter last summer urging the legislature to commence federal litigation to overturn the McCleary decision. I fear that we will resolve this issue only with a change in control of the Senate or a more drastic intervention by the Supreme Court. '

I'm finding it odd that some in the Senate seek to commence federal litigation to overturn McCleary.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, that shows you just how desperate some in the legislature are. They want to drag this out for years and years.

I hope the courts side with the children.

Patrick said...

The Republicans seeking the Federal courts' help on a state constitution matter. Strange bedfellows.

Steve said...

I hadn't heard anything about funds for expanding West Woodland. Can anyone shed light on this? We're in neighboring B.F. Day, and we have room in our school. I wonder if it is more cost-effective to expand the BF Day boundary and do more to make the school more attractive to neighborhood parents. A fully-enrolled BF Day helps West Woodland (and other nearby schools) with their capacity problems.

(And by the way, we're really happy at BF Day. School tours on Feb. 10 & 17 beginning at 9:30. Come check us out!).

- Steve

Patrice Griffith said...

Cutoff for bills passed in the opposite house is Feb. 26. The companion bill for the senate-passed 6194 is HB2367 sponsored by (who else?) Rep. Pettigrew of the 37th district. 2367 has not been scheduled for a hearing. If you are in the 37th, you might want to let Pettigrew know your dissatisfaction.
Don't know the outcome of the hearing this morning on the constitutional amendment to delete OSPI from being an elected office. I understand it might be a hissy-fit by those tired of Dorn's outspokennes of funding McCleary. Or it could very well be charter advocates who want more power over selecting a person to oversee OSPI. If appointed the Senate would have to confirm.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Steve, I only know this from what I heard at the Ex Ctm meeting. Why West Woodland, I don't know.

Thanks, Pat. Yes, I see some behind-the scenes meddling as a reason for a lot of this.

NO 1240 said...

Patrice,

Chad Magendanz claims HB 2367 will be heard on Feb. 19th. Keep an eye on this bill.

Meanwhile, Lisa MacFarland and charter supporters are making threats:

"Behind the scenes, they (the WEA) know there needs to be a fix," said Lisa McFarlane, state director of Democrats for Education Reform.

"If the Democrats don't get on board with this, they're going to get rolled over," Michael Orbino, chairman of Summit Public Schools Washington, said on a panel at Roanoke. Orbino, a self described liberal voter, is a Bryant backer.

http://www.billbryantforgovernor.com/seattle_pi_charter_schools_tricky_dangerous_issue_for_gov_jay_inslee

Those with deep pockets are so lovely and charming....;)