Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's hard to believe we're already halfway through this legislative session. We've officially passed the policy cut-off point, which means House floor activity is really going to pick up. A lot has happened since this session began and we have hundreds of bills to debate over the next several weeks.
I want to discuss a few important bills that I've been working on recently and give you an update on their progress. But before I do that, as always, I want to say thank you to the many people who have reached out to me in the last few weeks to offer your input.
We may not always see eye-to-eye on policies and beliefs, but I do always listen and try to understand both sides of every issue. So, thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and concerns with me. I'm here to represent you.
Bills I'm Working on
Now let's talk about a few bills.
House Bill 2853 – as many of you already know, I'm a strong advocate of charter schools. I believe we're all unique and we all learn in different ways. That's why I think charter schools are an excellent resource for kids who learn differently than what's considered the norm. Charter schools have great potential, but like any other institution, they need to be set up for success. That's why I've introduced legislation this year to help charter schools run more effectively. House Bill 2853 would promote the effective and efficient administration of the Washington State Charter School Commission, thereby giving these important schools a better chance to succeed. This bill has been voted out of committee and now awaits its turn on the House floor.
House Bill 2660 – I'm very active and involved in education and I'm proud of the many good things our schools do, including offering free or reduced-price meals to kids from low-income families. However, it concerns me that there are many kids that are still going hungry. That's why I'm cosponsoring House Bill 2660, which would require each school with a school lunch and breakfast program to make those meals available to all students at no charge if the school or the school district meets specified thresholds for the number of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. I understand this is a controversial issue for some. But ultimately, I don't want to see innocent kids go hungry for no fault of their own. This bill was also voted out of committee, unanimously by both parties, and is now waiting to be heard on the floor.
House Bill 2834 – lastly, I want to tell you about a bill I'm sponsoring that would create an identicard program to provide homeless individuals in Washington a state-issued ID card at no cost on a one-time basis. Homeless individuals struggle with many things but having an identification card should not be one of them. Sometimes, just having an ID card plays a significant role in being able to move forward in life. It can be the difference in qualifying for a place to live. This program would be a small step in helping people struggling with homelessness. This bill is scheduled to have its final hearing in the Appropriations Committee this weekend.
I'm excited to see these bills move forward on the House floor and I'll continue to keep you updated on their progress. I feel strongly that each of these bills would have a very positive effect on the students, individuals, and families they're designed to help.
I'm also prepared to keep working on the causes and issues you've told me you care about the most this session. I'm grateful for the trust you've placed in me to represent you in Olympia. Washington is a great place to live, but we have many difficult issues that we need to resolve. And that will take bipartisan cooperation.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears on the Capitol
If you want to stay up to date with everything going on in Olympia, here are some great resources.
- Visit my website: You can keep up with me at RepresentativePaulHarris.com. Check in regularly for my email updates, news releases, and bills I have sponsored.
- Legislature's website: You can track legislation, get bill reports, view committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature. Click here: www.leg.wa.gov.
- The Ledger: This daily informative and comprehensive news aggregator is the House Republican Caucus's latest tool to keep you in tune with everything going on in Olympia and throughout the entire state. Click here: The Washington State Ledger.
- Capitol Buzz: This daily electronic clip service offers headlines and stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, television. Click here to subscribe for free.
- TVW: Tune into TVW, Washington's own version of C-SPAN. You can catch floor and committee action live at: www.tvw.org.
Please Keep in Touch
I hope you continue to reach out to me as this session progresses to keep having your voices heard. You can contact me by calling my office at (360) 786-7976 or via email at Paul.Harris@leg.wa.gov. I'm always open to hearing your input in person, as well. Just contact my legislative assistant, Toni Camp, to set up an appointment, or schedule your appointment directly by clicking here. I look forward to meeting with you.
I'm honored to be your state representative!