Sen. Bailey’s E-newsletter – March 7, 2017

Update from Olympia

March 7, 2017

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

Things are picking up here in Olympia. We have spent the past week working late into the evening casting votes on policies that have significant impacts on our communities.

The Senate has already approved a funded education proposal that puts students first. Very simply, the state will drive more money to schools, guaranteeing a minimum level of per-student funding with additional funds to meet individual needs such as low-income, English Language Learners, and homeless students.

Visit www.fullyfundeducation.org to read more about our plan.

The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus is also leading the way to address water access in our rural areas. Late last year, the state Supreme Court issued what is known as the Hirst decision, which puts property owners in rural Washington in jeopardy. The decision turns decades of water law on its head by requiring very costly studies before a building permit is issued. Even then, there is no guarantee that someone who has committed his or her life savings to build a home can drill a well for household use.

Senate Bill 5239 is the fix for this problem. It was approved with some bipartisan support, but when we voted it off the Senate floor the opposing Democrats were vague about what they thought would be a better solution. I am hopeful that the House will take up this legislation because there are hundreds of families all across the state in need of a solution. During the committee hearings on the bill, many people came to Olympia pleading for relief.

International Connections

This past Friday, I was honored to host the Consul from Mexico, Mr. Roberto Dondisch Glowinski, for a reception in Olympia. We discussed many issues including trade and economic development and the many services the consulate provides to members of our community. As the Majority Caucus Whip, I am fortunate to be involved in many meetings like these that serve to promote and expand our community’s profile around the state.

Students and protecting our state’s vulnerable

This past week I had several bills approved by the state Senate. They include Senate Bill 5022, known as the Washington Student Loan Transparency Act. This legislation requires higher-education institutions to provide students with financial information on the real costs of repaying student loans. I have been a strong advocate for investing in our state’s college students. I led the Senate Republicans’ tuition-cutting College Affordability Program in 2015 to tackle the impending student-debt crisis. Nationally, student debt tops $1.2 trillion, and the debt of an average college graduate exceeds $25,000. Before students sign financial-aid forms and take on debt, they should have the information up front to make the best decision. That’s what my legislation, approved in a unanimous vote, would do. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Another is Senate Bill 5099, also approved unanimously by the Senate. The legislation would stiffen penalties for crimes committed against vulnerable adults. The National Council on Aging estimates that one in 10 Americans aged 60 or more have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as five million elders are abused each year. One study estimated that only one in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities. The bipartisan proposal encourages counties to develop written protocols for handling criminal cases involving vulnerable adults.

You can see a complete list of bills that I have sponsored by clicking here.

Getting your input

My house seatmates and I will be hosting in-person town halls later this month. Please keep an eye out for future updates for more information. I will also be hosting a Telephone Town Hall and will send out an update when details are available.

Staying in touch

It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with questions or concerns regarding your state government. Please note that my office location in Olympia has changed.

Sincerely,

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Barbara Bailey,

10th District Senator