Our paramount duty, Navy Day and more!

 Update from Olympia

April 11, 2017

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Greetings from Olympia!

The 2017 legislative session is scheduled to conclude April 23, leaving just a couple of weeks for us to work on approving legislation that will fully fund education in our state and address other pressing public-policy issues.

I have sponsored several bipartisan bills aimed at improving and expanding health-care access and coverage. The Democrat-controlled House has yet to approve Senate Bill 5179, which expands insurance coverage for hearing aids to low-income citizens and public employees.

Thankfully, two of my bills were approved by the House, yesterday. Senate Bill 5022, known as the Student Loan Transparency Act, would require higher-education institutions to provide simple and concise information about the costs of borrowing when financial awards include loans. The notification must include an estimate of the:

  • Total amount of student loans;
  • Potential payoff amounts;
  • Monthly repayment amounts, including principal and interest; and
  • Percentage of federal-loan limits a student has reached.

Senate Bill 5691, which was approved unanimously, would require a court to consider less-restrictive alternatives to guardianship such as power of attorney or a trust to provide for the needs of impaired individuals.

Both bills were amended in the House and now come back to the Senate where we will consider those minor changes.

Funding Education

You may have read news-media criticisms of the Senate Education Equality Act, which is our plan to fully fund education in Washington.

Some in the press claim that we are putting less “new money” into education than we originally said and that less of it will be from local sources.

It’s important that you have the facts about what our plan does and does not do with your money, and how the House’s inadequate proposal compares:

  • The House proposal relies on an unconstitutional funding method, namely local levies, to pay for basic education, which the Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional because it creates severe inequity across school districts. And, we do not plan to use any local money for basic education as the McCleary decision requires that the money be state funds.
  • The House’s over-reliance on local levies would mean they would collect $852 million more in property taxes than our plan would according to the governor’s budget office.
  • Under the Senate plan, 83% of taxpayers in the state would pay LESS taxes to support schools. This is based on our proposed levy rate of $1.55 per $1,000 of the assessed value of your home. This would be the same across the state, which means areas with lower property values would see dramatic decreases and only a few school districts in areas with the highest property values would see modest increases.
  • The amount of state money per student goes up significantly under our plan even without any local levies. Funding per pupil would increase nearly $1,500 which would completely cover the current funding provided by local levies plus an additional $1,460 per student.
  • While the press has implied that the numbers we’ve provided can’t be trusted, let me be clear that this is not the case. Our numbers are based on projections, but they have been developed jointly by the Senate, the House and the staff in the governor’s budget office. 

If you have any questions about the Education Equality Act, go to www.FullyFundEducation.org. Click here to see how the Senate’s education proposal would affect students and taxpayers in our district.

Navy Day Celebration

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Through my years in the state Legislature, I have been a tireless advocate for veterans and military issues in the state, including funding for county veterans’ assistance funds, and access to higher education for military members, veterans and their families.

This past Thursday, I sponsored Senate Resolution 8649 celebrating April 6 as Navy Appreciation Day. The resolution recognizes the many contributions of the United States Navy to Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

Our state and the Navy have a long and rich history. Service members and their families contribute so much to our communities and it is fitting that the Senate recognize their service to our state and country.

I joined Admiral Gary Mayes, Commander of Navy Region Northwest, for an award ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda recognizing distinguished “Sailors of the Year.”

It is always an honor to host our Navy in Olympia. As a Navy wife and mother of sons who are serving our country, I understand the challenges and joys that these sailors face and I am working to do all I can at the state level to support them.

A new way to communicate

Senate rules have recently changed, allowing me to have a legislative Facebook page. Please follow me (@SenatorBarbaraBailey) to receive updates on my work here in Olympia.

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

Contact me

Olympia Office:

407 Legislative Building

P.O. Box 40410, Olympia, WA 98504

Olympia Phone:

360.786.7618

Email:

Barbara.Bailey@leg.wa.gov

Website:

Click Here