Fund Education First

2017 legislative session • January 27, 2017 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Letter from Leadership 

The Current 2017-18

Dear Friend:  

The big news from the Legislature this week was the resignation of Brian Dansel from the state Senate. The 7th District Republican accepted a position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This leaves the state Senate in a 24-24 tie until a replacement is chosen. We look forward to working with Brian's successor.   

Levy cliff

The state House passed levy cliff legislation on a 62-35 vote Monday. House Bill 1059 would delay changes to the formulas for school districts' maximum maintenance and operation levy authority, and corresponding local effort assistance, for one year.

Most of our members voted against the measure because it takes pressure off the Legislature to find a comprehensive education funding solution. However, some of our members voted for it because it would provide school districts more certainty as they begin their budgeting process. 

A comprehensive education funding solution

Regardless of how our members voted, we all agree this bill could have been voted on later in the legislative session, if needed, and a comprehensive education funding solution is paramount. A group of us met throughout the interim to discuss education funding. We vetted several related issues and continue to refine our solutions. We will share them when the time is right.

The Senate Republicans released their Education Equality Act earlier today. You can find more details here and will be hearing more about this plan next week.  

Prior to the legislative session, we were told by the Democrats they had a plan. However, as of today, they have only produced a two-page outline and have still yet to reveal which taxes they would raise to support their spending. 

Fund Education First

We have supported the Fund Education First solution since 2006. The concept is simple, but important: Require the Legislature to pass a separate K-12 education budget before any other appropriations. This would elevate K-12 education to the top of the budgeting process. Rep. Drew MacEwen is sponsoring this year's version through House Bill 1021.

The state House voted on its rules for the legislative session Wednesday. We introduced a Fund Education First amendment. Unfortunately, the majority party voted it down on a party-line vote. You can read our news release here.

While the House Democrats called it "bumper sticker politics," the reality is there is strong support for the idea in our state. In an Elway poll from January 4, 56 percent of responders supported this statement: "Fund public education first with the money available, then fund the rest of state government with the money remaining - even if that means cutting other programs and services."  

March for Life rally

Several groups come to the Capitol each year to advocate for their causes. Few groups are larger in size and more passionate than the March for Life folks. Thousands of supporters came to Olympia Monday and held a rally on the Capitol steps. Some of our members had an opportunity to give speeches. The group's energy and message were truly inspirational.  

In your service,

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader
39th District
(360) 786-7967

Rep. Morgan Irwin

Rep. Morgan Irwin of the 31st District  

When Phil Fortunato was selected by the King and Pierce county councils to replace Pam Roach in the state Senate on January 7, it created an opening in the state House. Those same councils selected Morgan Irwin of Enumclaw for the job. 

This isn't the first time Morgan has served his community. He was a member of the Enumclaw City Council and is an officer with the Seattle Police Department. Morgan grew up on a cattle ranch and studied agricultural business and economics at Washington State University. You can find his bio here.

Helping working families

Morgan is supporting legislation that would help working families. He is the prime sponsor of a bill that would create a sales tax holiday for back-to-school clothing and supplies. KIRO TV ran a story on it earlier this week. You can learn more about the measure in this news release

Pregnancy accommodations in the workplace

We are again sponsoring legislation that would ensure employers provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnancy-related or child-related health conditions. The measure is prime sponsored by Rep. Michelle Caldier.

Our bill is similar to an amendment we put forward that was rejected by the majority party and a measure that passed the state Senate 49-0 last year. We are hoping the bipartisan spirit of the state Senate on this issue carries over to the state House this year.    

Members in the news

Our members send out news release and are on radio programs each week. Below are some of the highlights from the last five days.  

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