Tag Archive for Washington Legislature

Washington Legislature: What's alive, dead?

By By LISA BAUMANN OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — With the 60-day Washington state legislative session more than half over, one bill related to immigration has been sent to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. Both the House and Senate have given final approval to the measure, which would expand college financial aid to include students who were brought to the state illegally as children…. …read more

From: AP Washington News

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Washington Legislature studying hemp issue

By By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — With recreational marijuana use now legal in Washington, state legislators are discussing whether the state should also launch an industrial hemp industry…. …read more

From: AP Washington News

    

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WA Lawmakers Urged to Think Beyond School Day in Education Funding

Math, science and health are all part of Yakima Valley after-school programs, some of which focus on teaching kids culinary skills. Photo courtesy 21st Century Afterschool Program.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Legislature already has some marching orders, from the governor’s budget proposal to a bill by state School Superintendent Randy Dorn to raise sales taxes to fund education. A 2012 court ruling said the state must increase school funding and improve student outcomes – and advocates of after-school programs say they can help.

Lynne Tucker, education policy and advocacy director, School’s Out Washington, said research has proved that after-school and summer learning programs help kids who are falling behind academically, at a fraction of what it would cost to keep them in school longer.

“If we look at Expanded Learning Opportunities and summer learning programs as a tool and a strategy to closing the opportunity gap, it would be one of the more affordable and scalable options. And I think, given the times right now in Washington state, this would be one of our best options,” Tucker said.

Tucker pointed out that almost half of Washington’s public school students live in poverty, and said giving them safe after-school and summer options that keep them learning is critical to closing their achievement gap. At risk, she added, are kids whose families cannot afford specialized camps and private lessons, especially in the months between school years.

“By the time they get to ninth grade, two-thirds of the achievement gap is attributed to the cumulative, year-after-year impact from summer learning loss. So, it really sets them up for dropout, for not graduating – and down a different pathway,” she warned.

There aren’t enough of these programs around the state to serve all those who need them, however. Tucker said this session, after-school providers and children’s advocates will propose legislation to create what they’re calling an Expanded Learning Opportunities Council.

“They would talk about increasing access to Expanded Learning Opportunities, finding community-based organizations and working with them on quality programs and technical assistance, so they can create an opportunity in the community,” Tucker explained.

They are also working to implement quality standards for after-school and summer learning programs, she said, and to train more providers.

More information is at www.SchoolsOutWashington.org.

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Washington Legislature funds final push to rid Puget Sound of derelict fishing nets

 

“These legacy nets have been fishing the waters of the Salish Sea for decades,” du Pré said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to finish the job and to celebrate a true conservation success story in 2015.” Du Pré added that current fishing net loss is minimal and commercial fishers are now required to report any lost nets.

 

State Rep. Norma Smith of Whidbey Island led the legislative effort to fund the net-removal initiative.

 

“I am deeply grateful to my colleagues who helped achieve the goal of a $3.5 million appropriation for the Northwest Straits Foundation to remove the last of the legacy nets from the Puget Sound,” Smith said. “Lost in previous decades, they have had a devastating impact on harvestable natural resources and marine life. Once removed, because of the reporting requirements now in place, this challenge comes to an end. What an achievement!”

 

WDFW Director Phil Anderson said the new funding is specifically designed to support the removal of derelict fishing nets in areas of the Sound where historic fisheries coincide with bottom conditions likely to snag nets. The foundation locates those nets using sidescan sonar surveys, then dispatches recovery vessels with dive teams to retrieve them.

 

Few efforts have been made to remove nets from depths of more than 105 feet, because of safety concerns. However, the foundation recently completed an assessment of deepwater net-removal strategies that include the use of remotely operated vehicles, grapples, and deepwater divers.

 

“Working in conjunction with our partners at Northwest Straits and in the State Legislature, we have made enormous strides toward eliminating the risks posed to fish and wildlife by derelict fishing gear,” Anderson said. “This is difficult work, and it requires a real commitment from everyone to get it done. We look forward to celebrating the next milestone in 2015.”

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