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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are currently in a short 60-day legislative session and I am excited to be back in Olympia serving you.  Yesterday, January 31st, was policy cutoff for Senate bills originating in the Senate and House bills originating in the House.  Any bills that did not make the cutoff are considered “dead” for this legislative session.  The bills that have survived cutoff must be voted off the House Floor by Tuesday, February 13th.  Legislative session ends on March 7th.

Rep. Caldier testifies on legislation she sponsored.

This year, I introduced three important pieces of legislation in response to concerns I heard throughout the district:

HB 2175: Eliminates the enrollment limit for special education funding.  According to our state’s constitution, K-12 education funding is our paramount duty.  The McCleary decision clearly defined basic education, which included special education funding.  Unfortunately, fully funding special education has not been a priority of our state’s budget writers and children are only funded up to 15% of enrolled students in a school district.  This disproportionately hurts smaller school districts and school districts in military regions, as many military families who have children with special needs request to live in Washington due to access to specialists in our state.  HB 2175 would remove the 15% cap so school districts would receive funding for every student with special needs. 

HB 2264: Excludes certain home-based childcare providers from licensure and regulation.  Our state is in a childcare crisis due to the number of onerous rules and regulations that childcare providers must follow.  The short supply of childcare providers has increased demand and the cost of childcare has outpaced most family budgets.  HB 2264 would allow an exemption to licensure and regulations for a person to watch up to three children in their home.

HB 2315:  Requires in-person CPR and AED training prior to high school graduation. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators are two proven methods that save lives.  In addition, their training is required for many jobs as high school students enter the workforce. 

Six initiatives to the legislature have been certified by the Secretary of State

  1. House Initiative 2117: Repeals the Climate Commitment Act, which increased the gas tax and energy costs
  2. House Initiative 2109: Rolls back the tax on capital gains
  3. House Initiative 2111: Bans state and local governments from imposing an income tax
  4. House Initiative 2113: Loosens restrictions on when law enforcement officers can engage in vehicular pursuits
  5. House Initiative 2124: Allows people to opt out of the WA Cares Act
  6. House Initiative 2081: Strengthens parental involvement in schools

Initiatives to the legislature are different than an initiative to the citizens because the legislature has the opportunity to enact or reject the initiative, but we are not allowed to amend or change the language. If the initiative is rejected, it will go to the vote of the people.  The legislature can, however, pass an alternative option, which would also be presented to the people with the rejected initiative. In contrast, initiatives to the people bypass the legislature and go straight to the ballot.  According to the Washington State Constitution, “such initiative measure shall take precedence over all other measures in the legislature except appropriation bills and shall be either enacted or rejected without change or amendment by the legislature”.  Unfortunately, hearings were requested on all six initiatives and the majority party did not prioritize these initiatives and rejected the requests for hearings.  I believe legislators should listen to the public, especially during the initiative process. 

Bills that received hearings over initiatives

There were many bills, however, that were prioritized over the initiatives and given public hearings.  Here are three examples of bills that that were given higher importance over the initiatives.  

HB 5910: Creating the state department of natural resources’ Smokey Bear special license plates. 

HB 2177: Concerning the membership and operation of the sex offender policy board. This bill would allow a convicted sex offender to be a voting member on the Sex Offender Policy Board.

HB 2030: Revoking a person’s voting rights only when convicted of a state crime punishable by death.  This bill would restore voting rights to prisoners and allow them to serve on a jury and run for public office while they are still incarcerated, including serial murderers like Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Murderer.  I encourage you to watch this brief clip from the public hearing.    

You can also click here to hear the public hearing on HB 2030 in its entirety.

House of Representatives Page Program

It’s an honor to sponsor amazing young people in our community to experience the House Page Program.  Please contact my office for any additional information in November 2024 to apply for the 2025 legislative session.

Reps. Caldier and Hutchins with Page Payton Bleich, January 2024

Rep. Caldier with Page William Harper, January 2024.

A personal note

On a personal note, I have had many constituents inquire why I am wearing sunglasses this legislative session.  Seven years ago, I lost a majority of my vision overnight and began wearing a prosthesis on my left eye in 2020.  I was embarrassed of how the public would view me, so I did not disclose the extent of my vision loss until now.  This last October, my left eye was amputated and I am waiting for the surgery site to heal so I can get a new prosthetic fabricated.  I have always been an advocate for empowering the lives of others, especially individuals with physical and mental challenges.  My journey has equipped me with the tools to strengthen my advocacy for this population.

Stay informed, stay in touch!

I have received thousands of emails, messages and phone calls from you on a variety of issues. I urge you to stay engaged. We will be debating and voting on important issues affecting our communities and state. Please continue to contact me with any questions, concerns or comments you have. I appreciate your input and feedback. It is an honor to proudly serve you and the 26th Legislative District.

Sincerely,


Michelle Caldier

State Representative Michelle Caldier, 26th Legislative District
RepresentativeMichelleCaldier.com
122H Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
michelle.caldier@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7802 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000