Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are heading into the halfway mark of this 105-day session! We have reached both policy and fiscal cutoff deadlines and will now spend a good portion of our time voting on the House floor. There will be many long days and nights ahead of us.
Policy and fiscal cutoff are a fascinating component of the legislative process. All the bills we have been working on in committee these past few weeks have reached a final point: either they were approved to continue on their journey to move to the House floor, or, they are 'dead' and won't be considered this session.
Speaking of committee work, I am thrilled to serve as the Assistant Ranking Member on the Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs committee. This role puts me at the forefront to work on one of the most critical issues facing our communities today: affordable housing. We saw several good bills on affordable housing come through this committee. We are working hard to find bipartisan policy and accountability solutions for this issue. For more information on current affordable housing bills I am working on, please watch the latest edition of the 'Barkis Breakdown.' You can do so by clicking on the photo below. You can also listen to my podcast on this topic by clicking here.
Aside from committee work, all eyes are on education. This week, we voted on House Bill 1843. This is the House Democrats plan to finalize McCleary. Unfortunately, this bill does not address the fundamental issue of McCleary – the inequities in our funding system. If we don't solve this now, it could lead to McCleary 2.0. We are here this session to do our job, to fix this problem. We cannot set ourselves up for another court case down the road because we failed to solve the problem now. While House Democrats are proposing ample funding, they fail to show how they would pay for it. We are left to wonder which taxes would be raised to pay for this multi-billion dollar plan. You, as taxpayers, deserve to know how you will be impacted by our decisions. House Republicans offered seven amendments to help make this plan better. All but one amendment was rejected. During the floor debate, I had the opportunity to speak on the importance of career and technical education (CTE) and providing additional funding to this educational pathway. You can watch my speech my clicking the photo below.
Even though this bill passed on a party-line, 50-47 vote, we will continue to work hard with all four chambers of the Legislature to find common ground solutions. I am confident we will work together to come up with a hybrid plan and solve McCleary once and for all.
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As your voice in Olympia, I am most effective when I hear the issues, concerns and questions directly from you. I welcome you to share your thoughts with me on the information covered in this update, and any other issues important to you, your family, and your business. Please feel free to call my office at (360) 786-7824, or email me.
It's an honor to serve you.