We live in an agriculturally intensive region. Farmers are important. We all like to eat. It's easy to go to the grocery store, grab a few items and leave, go home and cook a meal. But, how did the food get to the store? It all begins on the farm.
We need to do all we can to support farm business owners and ensure they are allowed to thrive and grow. That's why I've sponsored a bill that would put a permanent business and occupation tax exemption in place for custom farm hauling services.
House Bill 1881: Making custom farming and hauling farm products tax exempt.
Right now, this tax exemption is set to expire in 2020. These “custom” farming hauling services might not seem like much, but they are important to farm work. My bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee. I'm going to do all I can to ensure this bill gets a hearing, moves through the legislative process, and gets signed by the governor!
Helping to fix the teacher shortage
Over the past few years, Washington state has suffered from a shortage of qualified teachers. That's why I've sponsored a bill that could help open up the field to people looking to shift careers and become teachers.
When most people think of a new teacher, they think of someone young, possibly in their 20s, just out of college. Although it's true that a large percentage of teachers enter the field via traditional, college-based undergraduate programs, there is a growing trend towards more mature, older adults entering teaching as a second career.
House Bill 1621: Teacher preparatory skills assessments.
My bill would make some adjustments to the basic skills assessment requirements for acceptance into teacher preparatory programs. This would allow for a more holistic approach when a university, or college, considers whether to admit these returning-adults students into their programs. Instead of merely looking at a test score, universities and colleges can factor in GPA, past work experience, or a portfolio of work. This creates more flexibility for schools and students.
My hope is this change would attract more second-career adults into the teaching profession. My bill has been referred to the House Education Committee. It had a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
If you have questions on these bills or any others, please feel free to give me a call. Better yet, if you are planning a trip to Olympia stop by and see me! My door is always open.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia.