Letter from Olympia, week 6

Senator Hans Zeiger 25th District Letter from Olympia
women in red

Legislative update from Olympia

Dear Neighbor,

It has been a busy time here in Olympia as we have passed the halfway point of the 2018 legislative session. In addition to floor action that has sometimes carried into the night, I have enjoyed meeting with student leaders from the Future Business Leaders of America and DECA, labor union members, local car dealers, retired public employees, Second Amendment supporters, advocates for the arts, and members of the League of Women Voters. After meeting with local participants in the Latino Educational Achievement Project, we took a moment for a photo on the Senate floor, shown above.   

On Saturday, Rep. Joyce McDonald, Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, and I will be hosting a town hall meeting at Pierce College Puyallup. You can find all of the details below. It would be great to see you then!



Senate passes bills for dyslexia, career and technical education, and homeownership

Wednesday was the “house of origin” cutoff, the deadline for bills originating in the Senate (that are not necessary to implement the budget) to pass in the Senate. Likewise, policy bills originating in the House of Representatives had to be passed by the House in order to remain active or "alive" following Wednesday’s deadline.

I want to mention three bills that I am prime-sponsoring that passed in the Senate prior to the cutoff.  

Senate Bill 6162 would define dyslexia as a learning disability and require early dyslexia screenings for elementary-school children. The Senate unanimously approved this bill on Wednesday, and it now moves to the House for consideration. SB 6162 also would reestablish an advisory committee on dyslexia issues to make recommendations on how best to conduct screenings and reading interventions.

Senate Bill 6133 is request legislation from the state Superintendent of Public Instruction that would expand options for career- and technical-education courses to count toward high-school graduation. Students who take CTE courses can currently earn equivalency credit in science, technology, engineering, and math classes; this bill expands course equivalencies into other parts of the curriculum. In a time when there is a growing public demand for vocational learning to prepare students for trades directly after high school, this bill will make it easier for students to enter and complete CTE programs. SB 6133 passed in the Senate unanimously and is now moving through the House. You can see coverage of this bill at The Lens here. 

The Senate also passed my Senate Bill 5143, a property-tax exemption for low-income housing development. SB 5143 extends the exemption to property owned by a nonprofit for developing or redeveloping housing for sale to low-income households. This is a great opportunity for those who are struggling to find affordable housing to be able to purchase their own home. I believe that government should incentivize home ownership as a pathway to self-sufficiency.

Many of us in the Legislature are also working to reduce your property-tax burden. Since the Legislature enacted a balanced budget last June, the continued growth of our economy in the Puget Sound region means new revenue projections for the state will likely exceed $1.5 billion. This gives state government more than enough resources to provide tax relief in 2018, when there will be a brief, uptick in state property taxes for education, before local property-tax levy rates decrease in 2019.

Are your car tabs too high?

For the past year, many constituents have contacted me to express their frustration, even anger, about the dramatic increase in vehicle-tab costs since the passage of the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure in 2016. Many feel that they were misled and did not know how much their tabs would cost. Many have shared stories of the hardships they have faced because of the car-tab increase.

We want to hear from you. If you are concerned about your rising car-tab prices and are willing to share your story, contact my office at (360) 786-7648.

Recognizing former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton

Last Friday, the Senate recognized Slade Gorton, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday. I sponsored the resolution to recognize all the work he has done for Washington as a state legislator, state Attorney General, United States Senator, 9/11 Commissioner, and as a member of the 2011 Washington State Redistricting Commission. Click here to view my speech honoring this great Washingtonian. 

25th District Delegation

Town hall at Pierce College Puyallup on Saturday, Feb. 17

  • WHO: Senator Hans Zeiger and Representatives Melanie Stambaugh and Joyce McDonald.
  • WHAT: Join me, along with my colleagues from the House of Representatives, for our 25th District town hall. Hear an update on the issues and participate in a Q&A on the 2018 legislative session.
  • WHEN: Saturday, February 17, at 10 a.m. doors open at 9:30 a.m.
  • WHERE: Pierce College - 1601 39th Avenue SE, Puyallup, WA 98374