South County Politics: Reps. Kagi and Ortiz-Self look back on ‘productive’ legislative session

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Democratic State Reps. Ruth Kagi and Lillian Ortiz-Self describe the 2018 legislative session as productive.

Kagi says she leaves after “positive” session

Kagi, who announced in March at the end of the session that she will not run for another term, recently sent this statement:

“It has been a tremendous privilege and pleasure to represent the 32nd District in Olympia for the past 20 years.

“ I went to the legislature to reform foster care, increase the quality and funding for child care, and reform our drug laws. With the passage of one last bill this session, providing predictability and stability for child-welfare funding, I feel like I have done what I came to do and it’s time to move on.

“It was gratifying to end my service with such a positive and productive session. This year, our budget continued to invest in public schools. While the McCleary case may be in our rear-view mirror, the legislature’s work to provide educational opportunities for all children is far from over. The legislature will need to adopt progressive revenues in the future as our economy slows. Relying on property-tax increases to fund our schools is not good policy and is driving people out of their homes.”

(Editor’s note: McCleary is the State Supreme Court decision that requires the legislature to provide full financial support for the state’s public schools.)

“We passed many progressive bills this session including equal pay and a number of bills to protect people from harassment, including a prohibition on non-disclosure agreements. We changed our juvenile justice laws to allow 17- and 18-year-olds to be tried in juvenile court rather than adult court. The legislature greatly expanded voting access.

“The Washington Voting Rights Act ensures that communities cannot be systematically disenfranchised in local elections. Automatic Voter Registration, election-day registration, and motor voter preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds will increase voter participation and representation. Finally, the Disclose Act requires the reporting of “black money” in elections to be reported.

“We were able to pass a range of other important measures including banning source-of-income discrimination in renting, and becoming the first state to require net neutrality. Finally, we passed my bill to put History Day into law and fund it. This is a national educational program that will engage and inspire many students, and teach them valuable skills.”

She added that her biggest disappointment during the 2018 session was the legislature’s inability to pass more significant legislation on responsible gun ownership. She said that while the Legislature did take some steps, such as banning bump stocks and adding domestic-violence harassment as an offense that triggers the loss of rights to a firearm, it could have done more.

“My child-access-prevention bill never received a vote, and a bill to increase the allowable age to purchase guns did not move forward. I want to thank the many passionate advocates from Moms Demand Action, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, the Alliance Against Gun Violence and others, particularly the growing number of youth, for speaking up and showing up. Progress has been slow, but the tide is turning because of your insistence that we pass responsible gun laws to keep our communities safe. If there is one thing I have learned during my legislative career, it is the importance of persistence.”

Kagi represents Lynnwood, Woodway, south Edmonds and the rest of the 32nd Legislative District.

Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self

Ortiz-Self ‘pleased’ to vote for budget with full support for schools

Ortiz-Self sent this statement:

“I was pleased to be able to vote for a budget that fully funded education. Although there’s always work to do in this area we took a significant leap this year in meeting our mandated obligation to our children. In addition I was able to pass my student mental-health bill; informed-trauma child care bill, the Ban-the-box bill; the college-bound bill; the pre-apprenticeship bill and the high-school-and-beyond bill. These bills affect our most vulnerable children adults and families.

“In addition, we will continue to bring jobs into our area through school construction, transportation projects and school employees.

“It was a tremendous help having the majority in both houses!”

(Note: A 2017 special election gave Democrats a one-seat majority in the State Senate to go with a two-seat majority in the House of Representatives.} 

Ortiz-Self  represents the 21st Legislative District, including most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, Mukilteo and part of south  Everett.

–By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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