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Making a difference in the 2023 Legislative Session

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Jana Dean_students

Taking Action in Olympia 

2023 Legislative Session Preview

Take action now!

Coming up this week

  • Governor Inslee presents his State of the State on Tuesday at noon, which you can see on TVW.
  • Both chambers are having hearings on the Governor’s proposed operating budget.  WEA President Larry Delaney will be testifying on the budget Wednesday at 4pm at Senate Ways and Means and Thursday at 4pm in House Appropriations.
  • A bill to eliminate the fee for college in the high school (SB 5048) has a hearing in Senate Higher Ed & Workforce Development on Wednesday at 8am.
  • A bill increasing funding for adequate student transportation (SB 5174) is being heard in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee on Thursday at 1:30pm.

If you’re interested in testifying on these bills, please contact WEA Lobbyist Simone Boe.

Making a difference for our students and families in the 2023 session

When educators unite and speak out, we make real improvements that impact our students’ lives and our lives.  For months, WEA members have been preparing to make sure our lawmakers know what schools and educators need.  When Legislative Session begins on Monday, January 9, WEA members will be there to share our stories and advocate for the changes we need.

WEA members set the stage for a successful session this fall when, united in WEA-PAC, we elected more education champions who committed to working with us this session to meet our students’ needs. 

After surveying the WEA membership, leaders on the WEA Legislative Strategy Committee crafted the 2023 legislative agenda to reflect the urgency and complexity of what’s happening in our schools.  While the needs are diverse, a few issues emerged as the highest priorities:

  • Increasing pay to at least keep pace with inflation
  • Ensuring every educator, especially ESPs and higher-ed faculty, make respectful wages
  • Adequately funding supports for students with disabilities

Already, educators are sharing our stories about why these priorities are critical to our students’ success.  We’ll be emailing, calling, and visiting our lawmakers and educating the public to ensure success on our legislative priorities.

Educator raises insufficient in Governor’s proposed budget

We can’t give our students our best if we’re struggling to support our families.  That’s why we’re sounding the alarm on educator wages that have barely kept pace with inflation and for some of us are inadequate to meet our families’ needs.  In short, our pay should not be falling behind.  Our WEA President Larry Delaney will be in the capitol next week to testify about this problem.

The Governor’s proposed budget, released in December, had small Cost of Living Adjustments but nothing further.  While each of our local unions bargains for raises with our districts, districts need funding to back those raises.  We need a budget that includes a COLA plus raises that bring ESP pay to a level where every educator can support our families and where our jobs are competitive.

The House and Senate will release proposed budgets in March and we need to make sure those include sufficient raises.  Now is the time to speak out and share our stories.  Share your experiences about why we need respectful pay that rewards our important work

Meet the lobby team

United in WEA educators have the resources to ensure we have full-time, expert voices in Olympia to advocate for us and our students.  The WEA Lobby Team is made up of experienced lobbyists who know the people and policies that are shaping our work.

  • Julie Salvi is the Lead Lobbyist and she focuses on issues of competitive pay, school operating funding, school bargaining laws, WA Cares, Paid Family Medical Leave, Worker’s Comp (L & I), Unemployment, Department of Health, mental health supports and partnerships, and gun safety.  Like many of us, Julie is a regular at her kids’ sporting events, including gymnastics and baseball.  She has an adorable ½ golden retriever, ½ Australian shepherd pup.
  • Simone Boe is a Lobbyist focused on higher education, school nutrition, homeless and foster youth, simple majority – bonds, election laws, union rights, and revenue.  She’s an avid rower and a talented baker who donates bread loaves to local food banks.  Her adorable dog makes frequent and welcomed appearances in online meetings.
  • Jared Mason-Gere is a WEA Lobbyist on health care, pensions, school construction, student behaviors and discipline, and attendance laws.  Jared serves as the office plant dad, has a cat, and has a unique sense of style that embraces everything from camo jogging suits to pink sneakers. Ask him about Baywatch.
  • Nasue Nishida is the Lobbyist on certification and evaluation, professional development, educator workforce development and diversity, graduation pathways, Paraeducator training, dual language programs, curriculum including ethnic studies and inclusive curriculum, mastery-based learning, educator prep programs, and transitional Kindergarten.  Nasue has two daughters in college and almost feels like an empty-nester except for her two crazy dogs and two seemingly immortal cats.   
  • Cassie Carrillo is the Administrative Assistant in the Government Relations office who coordinates legislator meetings and makes it all possible.  Cassie always has the most awesome hair color of anyone in the office (purple and teal right now), enjoys rugby, and is a chihuahua parent. 
  • Djibril Diop is the WEA Director of Government Relations who coordinates the work of the Lobbyists and manages key relationships with lawmakers. 

Get the news as it happens…  Follow WEA Advocacy on Facebook and Twitter, plus subscribe to the Advocacy blog.

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