This has been a busy week at the Capitol. We’ve reached the halfway point of the legislative session and have been busy with floor action, debating and passing bills out of the Senate Chamber.
As a member of the minority party in a 28-21 arrangement, I have found myself voting “no” on bills more than I am used to. Many of the bills that are coming up for a vote push our state toward larger bureaucracies, higher costs for families and small businesses, fewer choices for individuals and families, less community autonomy, and more restrictions on private enterprise. While I always look for ways to work across the aisle and find common ground, I am dismayed by the overall direction that the legislature is taking this year. I remain hopeful that we will still be able to find common ground solutions on key issues as the legislative session moves forward.
Our state offers students the opportunity to participate in the legislative page program. For one week at a time, teens get to come to Olympia and learn about their state government while distributing amendments and bill books on the floor, delivering messages and mail between offices, and performing the flag ceremony at the start of each day on the floor. Students attend page school to learn about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. Students also draft their own bills and engage in a mock session.
I was privileged enough to participate in this program when I was in junior high school. Recently, Q13 News interviewed me on my experience and how it has influenced me as a legislator. You can read more here.
So far this session, I have had the joy of sponsoring Carter Olney, a ninth-grader from Puyallup, and Abigail Bowerman, a 10th-grader from Tacoma.