Fain, Sullivan talk legislative shop at Good Eggs gathering

District 47 lawmakers discuss some key issues facing Olympia this session

Sen. Joe Fain, left, and Rep. Pat Sullivan. FILE PHOTOS

Sen. Joe Fain, left, and Rep. Pat Sullivan. FILE PHOTOS

A better way to fund public education. Helping the homeless. Supporting mental health. Passing a construction budget. Dealing with carbon emissions. Taking on gun control and disclosure laws.

Controlled by Democrats, the Legislature has much to resolve as it continues the busy, bill-packed, 60-day session in Olympia that began Jan. 8.

As guests last week at King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer’s Good Eggs breakfast at Valley Cities Phoenix Rising Café in Auburn, Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, and Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, touched upon some of the challenges the Legislature faces.

Fain and Sullivan – state District 47 lawmakers – shared their insights and expectations for the new session and how legislative actions may affect South King County communities.

Last year’s contentious gathering at the capital took three special sessions to complete, with a chunk of the impasse spent trying to solve the riddle over court-ordered education reforms. Fain and Sullivan hope that isn’t the case this year.

Although representing different parties, Fain and Sullivan have a history of effectively working together to move the peoples’ business forward. And as both sides grapple with the state’s complex problems and over Gov. Jay Inslee’s agenda, the two are urging that bipartisan approach again.

“It’s the only way to get things done,” Sullivan said without hesitation.

Fain added: “We need to get out of the courtroom and back into the hearing room in all of these issues.”

Regarding how to more equitably distribute money to school districts throughout the state, Fain and Sullivan don’t expect any significant adjustments to the funding formula the Legislature adopted in 2017. Both did say they are willing to entertain Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal’s proposal that would revise the current legislation and provide school districts more funding flexibility.

One area that concerns some districts is the loss of flexible funds to support students.

“The changes benefit most, but some districts are struggling to adequately provide programs that are not considered basic education,” Reykdal said last week.

In the past, school districts could make up deficits in state funding through local levies. But, in addition to increasing education funding, the Legislature reduced the amount of money school districts can raise through local levies, leaving some districts in a bind.

“To solve this problem, districts need more funding, and they need more flexibility in their local levies,” Reykdal said.

Elsewhere, Fain and Sullivan hope to find more help for mental health services and boost programs and resources for the homeless.

They also acknowledge that passing a reasonable, responsible construction budget – better known in Olympia as a capital budget – is a priority after lawmakers failed to approve one last year.

At the Good Eggs breakfast are, from left: Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus; Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn; King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer; Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington; and Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. COURTESY PHOTO

At the Good Eggs breakfast are, from left: Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus; Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn; King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer; Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington; and Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. COURTESY PHOTO

More in News

City of Kent, KOA plan property swap to keep campsites

Land needed for Green River levee expansion

City of Kent hires media consultant to bring attention to aerospace industry

Goal to attract more businesses, travelers to town

School’s out Friday in Kent because of storm

Too much slush, ice in parking lots; winter break next week

New teen campaign, DREAM BIG, kicks off

Russell Wilson and Ciara unveil limited edition library cards featuring the duo

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Property taxes to rise slightly in Kent for 2019

Less than 1 percent hike compared to 15 percent jump in 2018

Most Read