Washington's 2024 Legislative session in full swing

State Representative Julia Reed held a meeting with her youngest constituents where she got to hear firsthand what is and is not working in public schools.

State Representative Julia Reed held a meeting with her youngest constituents where she got to hear firsthand what is and is not working in public schools.
Laura Marie Rivera

Washington State’s 36th Legislative District has three elected champions in Olympia for the 2024 legislative session: Senator Noel Frame, Representative Liz Berry, and Representative Julia Reed. 

While working on issues for the state and local communities, they also try to remain accessible and accountable to the public. On Saturday, the trio hosted a combined Town Hall Event at the Nordic Museum in Ballard.

Members of the community came out to hear from the legislators and were given an opportunity to ask questions. Even though this year’s session is a short one, all three have been busy in Olympia advancing the priorities of our district.

Liz Berry is the LD36 State Representative elected in 2019. She is a champion for gun safety, protecting our environment, and standing up for working families. Last week, Berry hosted a rally on the Capitol steps to support one of the bills she is sponsoring this session: HB 2049 the reWRAP Act.

Since many Washingtonians lack access to convenient recycling and even knowing what to recycle can be difficult, this bill creates an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program for packaging and products to shift some of the burden from the public. This bill will join four other states (ME, CO, CA, OR) in bringing manufacturers and brands together to fund statewide recycling services, reduce packaging and paper, and help ensure that materials are effectively recycled. The reWRAP Act will reduce the burden of cities and counties while increasing recycling access and education for residents throughout the state, especially the underserved rural and unincorporated areas.

Representative Julia Reed was elected in 2021 and has been working on worker’s rights and public safety. She recently introduced HB 2025, a bill that will pay college students to work as “near peers” in their communities and local high schools. And is working with Senator Noel Frame on a bill to increase worker and public safety in construction zones, five years after four people were killed while crews were dismantling a crane on Mercer Street.

Last week, she took the time to sit down with some of her youngest constituents. The Washington State PTA Advocacy Day brought students and families from all over the state to take a closer look at how our laws are made and to raise awareness for the issues that students face in Washington’s public schools.

Rep Reed started by offering the kids a seat at the table. Then she asked them to share their favorite things about school and something that they might want to improve. The disparities in PTA spending were clear even from such a small sample group: one student said she liked getting two books from the library each week and another wished they had a librarian so their class could go to the library more often. With the current lack of funding, PTAs are left to fill the gaps and pay for the staff to provide library time, tutors, nurses, and other specialists.

There will be a lot going on in this short 60-day legislative session. The public can learn more about the representatives and the bills currently being considered at https://leg.wa.gov/. Residents and members of LD36 can find more information about upcoming Town Hall Meetings and how to get involved at https://36th.org/.