By Evan Smith
Democratic State Rep. Ruth Kagi says that her priorities for the legislative session that started Jan. 13 include providing additional money for public schools, passing a transportation package, improving pre-schools and child care, improving youth opportunities through clearing records of juvenile offenders and finishing the 60-day legislative session on schedule.
Kagi said at the end of the first week of the session that she hopes that the Legislature will pass a supplemental budget that provides additional money for K-12 education, and that the Legislature will pass a transportation package.
She said that she also hopes to pass two bills that she considers important priorities.
“Over the past year, I have worked with Rep. (Ross) Hunter and Sen. (Steve) Litzow on an early learning bill that will prioritize integration of pre-school and child-care programs to improve outcomes for children,” she said. “The bill (HB 2377) will also provide incentives and requirements for providers to achieve high quality in the state’s quality rating and improvement system. With strong bi-partisan support in both the Senate and House, I am hopeful that it will pass.”
She said that she also hopes that the Youth Opportunities Act (HB 1651), which passed the House unanimously last year, will make it through the Senate this year.
“Forty-two states close the records of youth when they turn 18 so they can move on with their lives and become productive adults,” she said. “Washington’s records of both arrests and convictions are open, assuring that mistakes made by teens will follow them the rest of their lives. This bill would make records confidential except for serious violent offenses and sex offenses.”
She said that she also hopes and expects the session will end March 13 as scheduled. Kagi, chairwoman of the House committee on early learning and human services, represents the 32nd Legislative District, including Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway, unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County near Edmonds and Woodway, Shoreline, and part of northwest Seattle.