Northwest NEWS

May 31, 1999

Local News

Legislators meet informally with Woodinville City Council

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe and Rep. Jeanne Edwards from the 1st District, and 45th District Representatives Kathy Lambert and Laura Ruderman summarized major issues from this year's legislative session, after dinner with Woodinville's City Council and staff members.

   Before dinner, the reps were offered a guided tour of Woodinville's major capital improvement projects, such as newly-completed Wilmot Park.

   Ruderman said she is pleased with transportation improvements, such as the extended HOV lanes on I-405 which seemed to steer more people toward carpools. She favors total access to HOV lanes during non-peak hours.

   McAuliffe thought the legislature did well for teachers but complained about low wages for healthcare workers. She said four billion dollars for transportation was not enough. "Without paying for roads, we won't get them," said McAuliffe.

   McAuliffe stressed the need for equality in statewide academic standards, citing the problem children face if they move from a district with lower standards to one with higher. She said the year 2000 will mark the first year statewide standards will be assessed across the board, so parents should feel confident that students will all have the chance to read, write, and think creatively.

   "By 2006, today's fourth-graders will have to pass assessments, and all schools must have the same standards," said McAuliffe. "Until then, it's up to each district to voluntarily raise standards. Some states already have assessment standards in place."

   Kathy Lambert said usurping of authority by larger government agencies over local agencies is a big national and statewide problem. "City governments must claim their responsibilities and tell legislatures what their responsibilities are," said Lambert.

   She said job training for underprivileged, single mothers has not only empowered them, it has saved the state $256 million in welfare payouts. "The child healthcare bill we passed ensures that people with incomes up to 250 percent of the poverty level, whose employers don't supply adequate insurance, can now get affordable healthcare for their children, " said Lambert. "That income level is $30,000 for a family of four."

   Lambert favors opening HOV lanes in off-peak hours. "When 405 did a trial opening of HOV lanes, there was much less congestion," she said.