IN REGARD TO MY “CALL TO ACTION” FROM EARLIER TODAY, I WANTED TO REMIND YOU OF A CRITICAL PUBLIC HEARING ON SENATE BILL 6130, WHICH REPEALS ALL THE PROVISIONS OF THE 2007 VOTER-APPROVED INITIATIVE 960, THE TAXPAYER PROTECTION ACT. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE PEOPLE'S VOICES BE HEARD!
- WHEN: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 9:00 AM
- WHERE: OLYMPIA, JOHN L O'BRIEN BUILDING, HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to communicate with you on the issues I am working on in Olympia. As we deal with the budget crisis, there are many important issues before the Legislature that must be addressed. More than halfway through the legislative session, I thought I would take the opportunity this week to give a brief update on education and public safety:
I wanted to touch on the recent King County Superior Court ruling in favor of those claiming the state is not providing adequate funding for basic education in Washington state. This has been a concern of mine not only as a legislator, but as a parent and former member of the South Whidbey School Board. Article IX of the Washington State Constitution clearly states: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders…”
Last year, I co-sponsored House Bill 1657 which would have created a separate education budget, and required we fund education first in the budgeting process. While the legislation was not given a vote in committee by the chairperson, I assure you I will continue looking for new and creative ways to improve our basic education funding structure. Rep. Skip Priest, the lead Republican on education issues, made this statement I invite you to read.
Public Safety Update
Public safety is an essential service of government that keeps our families safe and secure in their communities. In light of the recent police officer shootings, it was high time we addressed some obvious flaws in our system.
House Joint Resolution 4220, which I voted in favor of, is the one piece of legislation that would have given a judge the ability to keep Maurice Clemmons in prison. Four police officers would still be alive today. With this change, the presumption of innocence still exists, the right to a speedy trial is protected, but judges will have greater flexibility to keep violent offenders off the streets. I know personally the pain these tragedies cause for the families and friends of our fallen heroes, and am not willing to let this kind of preventable tragedy happen again.
Amending the constitution is something no one takes lightly. There were many stakeholders involved in crafting the original legislation, which would have given far greater discretion to judges to deny bail than the final version that passed the House. The stronger version was drafted by, and unanimously endorsed by a law enforcement work group brought together by the governor to look at the circumstances surrounding the Lakewood police officer murders. The goal of the group was to glean the lessons that could be learned and what improvements we could make to our public safety system.
The version of the legislation that passed the House was much more narrow and restrictive on the ability of judges to deny bail, but I remain confident the bill we passed is a step in the right direction. I do not believe it is prudent to wait while more violent offenders are released on bail to re-offend. I do believe it is right thing to do to send this important proposal to the voters for consideration.
Please keep in touch on the statewide issues of importance to you. As always, it's an honor to serve you.