This memo will provide a brief overview of relevant legislative activities (year to date) for the 2019/2020 school year.
Washington State PTA (WSPTA) Legislative Assembly
Rebecca and I attended the WSPTA Legislative Assembly October 26-27, 2019 at Bellevue College. We have briefed the Board on this event in the past, so I don’t have much to add. Having said that, here is a link to the Assembly Recap, as presented by WSPTA Advocacy Director Sherry Rudolph.
Please note, here is a link to the 2020 WSPTA Legislative Priorities finalized during the Assembly. We have also previously briefed the Board on these priorities, so I don’t have much to say other than that this document was presented to lawmakers during the 2020 Focus Day.
Focus Day & Advocacy Week
The Washington State Legislature convened a 60- Day “short session” on Monday January 13, 2020. This session is particularly historic in that Democratic Rep. Laurie Jenkins of Tacoma was sworn in as not only the first female speaker of the House of Representatives (succeeding Rep. Frank Chopp), but also as the first gay lawmaker to take the presiding role in the House.
Most lawmakers in both the House and Senate are focused on writing a supplemental budget to make changes to the current two-year state budget. Obviously public education needs to be a significant part of that discussion. A great way to keep track of the issues most relevant to Adams PTA is by following the WSPTA blog. Here is a link.
Many lawmakers took time out of their schedules on Monday January 20, 2020 to meet with
constituents as part of the WSPTA Focus Day. As I believe you know, Rebecca and I attended Focus Day along with Sarah Rutherford-Bundy and Megan Haddock. I believe Rebecca also sent you some photos of the event! As a brief re-cap, we were able to meet with Senator Reuven Carlyle (D- 36 th District), Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-36 th District), and staff for Rep. Noel Frame (D-36 th District). Several of these meetings were “piggybacked” with other advocacy groups including the North Beach Elementary PTA (Sen. Carlyle mtg) and the Washington Education Association (Rep. Frame mtg).
In addition to Focus Day, the WSPTA will also be asking members to take action during Advocacy Week, February 24-28, 2020. In order to participate and learn specifically what opportunities are available, it’s necessary to register with the WSPTA Action Network. See this link for more information.
2020 WSPTA Convention
The WSPTA will be holding its 107 th Annual Convention May 15-17, 2020 in Lynwood. I’m planning to attend on behalf of Adams Elementary PTA, but I believe all are welcome. So, if anyone else wants to attend please let Rebecca or I know. I must admit I dropped the ball a bit in terms of passing along relevant information about the Convention. The WSPTA put out a “call for sessions and presentations,” however the last day to submit a proposal was February 1 st.
Nevertheless, if you still want to be involved in serving on the Leadership Committee to help plan and execute the Convention or support presenters in the various sessions, there’s still time to contact Shelby Reynolds, WSPTA Leadership Director by email. While I won’t be able to participate in the Leadership Committee, I will continue to pass along information to the Board as it becomes available.
Other Issues of Interest
As many of you may have heard, Rep. Gael Tarleton will not be seeking re-election to the State House of Representatives. But rather, Rep. Tarleton is running to become the next Secretary of State on a platform largely build around election integrity. Having said that, Rep. Tarleton will be serving as our Representative for the remainder of the current session. She and I have spoken several times about having her address our Board after the conclusion of the legislative session and she is very open to the idea. Stay tuned for additional information.
As I believe most of you also know, Dan Strauss was elected to represent District 6 in the Seattle City Council. From what I understand, Councilmember Strauss is also Adams alumni! I will be working in the coming months to have Councilmember Strauss meet with the Board at one of our monthly meetings. Please stay tuned for more information on that as well. In the meantime, if you want to connect directly with Councilmember Strauss, learn about his biggest issues, or connect with staff I’d encourage you to check out his website and register for updates.