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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The legislative session is past the midpoint, and while we have passed many bills, we have yet to tackle the current state budget deficit of the nearly $5 billion spending gap in the 2011-13 budget. I will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the budget, but in the meantime, below is an update on my bipartisan education bill and information on the town hall meetings Sen. Fain, Rep. Pat Sullivan and I are holding on Saturday, March 12.
Share your thoughts with your 47th Legislative team at town hall meetings
I hope you will join the 47th legislative team at either or both of the local town hall meetings. This will be a good opportunity to ask us questions and share your thoughts. The times and locations of the meetings are as follows on Saturday, March 12:
Cutter's Point Coffee
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
16739 S.E. 272 (next to Fred Meyer)
Auburn School District Board Room
2 to 4:00 p.m.
915 Fourth Street N.E.
This meeting will focus on education-related issues before the Legislature.
I am truly looking forward to meeting with folks and hearing their thoughts on what is happening in Olympia. I hope to hear a lot of questions and suggestions from you.
If you are unable to attend the meetings please feel free to call, e-mail or write any or all of us with your questions and concerns. Sen. Fain can be reached at email@example.com or 1-888-786-0598. Rep. Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 786-7858. And, I can be reached at email@example.com or (360) 786-7918.
Innovations Schools bill passes House
After a lot of work and a strong bipartisan effort, my first piece of legislation, House Bill 1546, passed the House of Representatives on Monday, March 7, with a vote of 94-2. This bill would allow local school districts the ability to create Innovation Schools to better address the achievement gap, underperforming schools and enhance student learning opportunities. This bill was a great start for me to improve my skills in the legislative process, and work toward a good compromise. I think this experience has made me a better legislator for the 47th District. There were legislators on both sides of the political aisle putting forward ideas to help the bill pass the House. It was a great effort and I am very appreciative to many legislators for their help. House Bill 1546 is now headed to the Senate for more public hearings and, hopefully a positive vote.
I am currently discussing the bill with Senators to see what ideas they have to possibly make the bill better. I also want to hear from you. The goal of this bill is to offer principals, teachers, parents and students more creative freedom. I believe that the folks closest to the ground in education know what will work best in the classroom. I hope you will let me know what I can do to make our education system work better for all involved.
Get the latest update from the House
Each week, I tape a brief video update so that constituents can hear the latest information from Olympia. You can always watch them on my Web site, but this week's edition is linked below, just click on the picture!
Students ages 14 to 16 can participate in the Student Page Program
Each year, students from around Washington come to Olympia to participate in the Student Page Program. This week, Alex Crouse, a homeschooler from Auburn, served as part of the week-long page program in the House. Legislative pages assist with delivering messages and documents to members, work on the House floor during debate and attend page school where they learn about our state government. If you have a child who is interested in the page program, please call my office.
I hope this brief update was helpful to you. I look forward to seeing you on March 12, but in the meantime, please feel free to call or e-mail me with questions, concerns and ideas.
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7918 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000