Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It has been a big week around the Capitol campus. Two major focuses were education and public safety.
We are hard at work finding the right solution to solve the final component of McCleary. Several plans have been brought to the table. Let's talk about these plans.
The first plan proposed was House Bill 1059. This would extend school levy cliffs for another year. I voted against this plan. Why? Rather than a permanent solution, a bill set to extend school levy cliffs for another year takes the pressure off state lawmakers. We need pressure on the Legislature. There needs to be a sense of urgency to work on a long-term solution promised to our students, teachers and schools for decades. It is about moving forward, not backward.
The second plan was House Bill 1021, also known as Fund Education First. I fully supported this plan. This is a budget solution House Republicans have supported since 2006. It would change the state's budget process, through an amendment to House rules. It would require the Legislature to pass a separate K-12 education budget before any other appropriations. This approach would elevate K-12 education to the highest priority in the budgeting process. Democrats rejected the amendment on a party-line, 50-48 vote.
The third plan came to us from the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC). This is a comprehensive plan that would provide ample, dependable and equitable funding for all students in our state. Although this plan is in the beginning stages, it is good news as we move forward. This plan passed the Senate floor on a party-line, 25-24 vote. It has been moved to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration. House Republicans will soon bring forth our plan. The end result will be a hybrid of the proposals. I will keep you posted, especially on how these proposals will directly impact our district.
On Tuesday, the House Public Safety Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 1529. This is the bill structured around the recommendations made during the interim by the Joint Legislative Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force in Community Policing.
The recommendations of this group were contentious and divided with 10 of the 24 members voting against key provisions. The most troubling element includes:
- Striking the malice and in good faith standard from use of force language in current statute. This leaves only a reasonable standard in place that is designed to be objective and not subjective in intent. Proving malice is a very high standard; however, these protections are in place for law enforcement officers forced to make split-second decisions. The malice and in good faith components of our statute make Washington state unique by giving us the strongest protection for those who protect us.
I had the privilege of testifying in opposition of this bill. You can watch my testimony by clicking on the photo below.
This bill should be split into separate bills. Each recommendation should be a stand-alone bill to ensure all details are combed through properly, so the best outcomes are achieved. As with many other issues this session, the conversation on the use of deadly force has a long way to go until common ground solutions are found.
Please feel free to contact my office with any questions, issues or concerns. I am your voice in Olympia and I want to hear from you.