The 2011 Legislature began Monday, Jan. 10 and is scheduled to run 105 days.
Rep. Hope outlines 2011 legislative agenda
Legislative session began Jan. 10, and Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, provided information about legislation he is sponsoring this year. Three major bills drive his agenda; measures which he said were cost-effective methods to save money for state and local governments.
“This year more than ever we have to look at how we can provide flexibility for our local governments, schools and employers,” Hope said.
The first measure would require applicants to provide a Social Security or valid green card before receiving a driver’s license.
“It’s important to have a discussion about what the core functions of government should be, and I believe only Washington citizens should have access to state services,” Hope said. “A driver’s license is often required before getting any sort of assistance from government, and we should join the 48 other states in the union in requiring confirmation of citizenship.”
The second piece of legislation would require proof of insurance when drivers renew their vehicle registration tabs.
“This is a public safety measure,” said Hope, a Seattle police officer for 12 years. “It is Washington state law to have auto insurance, and we need to ensure we have safe, insured drivers on our roadways.”
The final piece of legislation deals with special education assessments, required in lieu of students taking standardized tests when they have physical or mental disabilities. Hope’s measure would provide flexibility for school districts to come up with individualized plans for showing progress made by the student.
“I completely support assessing student progress, but I have heard from many special education teachers that these assessments actually get in the way of learning for their students,” Hope said. “This will not only save money for school districts, it will make it easier for students who already have so much to overcome in their lives.”
Hope said his goal with the three pieces of legislation is to offer ideas that will save money and provide flexibility in a time when state and local governments, including schools, feel boxed in with regulations and requirements for how money is spent.
“We should be working to free up funds for the truly needy in our communities – not gutting assistance for the vulnerable simply because the system is too rigid,” Hope said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vet these ideas and discuss how we can balance our budget in a whole new way.”