State legislators work to address homelessness, school funding

Reeves, Pellicciotti, Miloscia share priorities this session.

Homelessness and school funding are among top issues District 30 legislators are hoping to address during the current legislative session, which wraps up in early March.

State Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way, said finding a real solution to homelessness and the opioid crisis is crucial.

“The growing problem in Federal Way is not going to be solved with a few dollars,” he said. “We have to address affordable housing and get people into services. … I am hoping that we focus better on quality treatment versus having a growing and expanding problem.”

State reps. Mike Pellicciotti, D- Federal Way, and Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way, supported a request from the city of Federal Way for $100,000 to help fund a shelter for homeless women and children, which they hope will receive funding.

“We are definitely working on some other broader issues on resolving homelessness and addressing the challenges along with things like the opioid crisis and mental health challenges,” Reeves said.

The House passed a bill dealing with opioid treatment and the development of more initiatives to address the growing problem, Pellicciotti said.

School funding

Pellicciotti co-sponsored a house bill introduced by Reeves that would address an imbalance in teacher pay in the current education funding model.

“I am upset about how the education bill that passed last year did not treat Federal Way fairly when it comes to the regionalization funding model. I voted against the bill and property tax increase (last year),” he said.

Under the current model, teacher salaries are funded based on property values in the area surrounding the district. Since Federal Way is bordered by areas with lower property values, as well as the Puget Sound, the district will not receive as much money as districts to the north that are surrounded by higher property values, Pellicciotti said.

“I want to make sure, that when it comes to how our schools are funded, that the Federal Way school district is getting a fair shake,” he said. “I still think there are some tweaks to make in the way schools are funded to make it more fair to the district and Federal Way residents.”

Miloscia said he is supporting a similar measure in the Senate but wasn’t sure it would make it out this year.

Miloscia and Pellicciotti both said they support a request from the city of Federal Way, Federal Way Public Schools, Highline College and the University of Washington-Tacoma for $800,000 to help with costs associated with bringing a higher education center to the city. Last year, officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding with that goal in mind.

Other bills

• Miloscia said his focus this session was on the repeal of the state’s death penalty; election reform, including moving the presidential primary from May to March and automatic voter registration through state agencies; and social justice issues, such as health care for children and investing in education for DACA students.

• Reeves’ priorities included helping working families get access to affordable child care; supporting Veterans and military families; and relieving the property tax burden on middle-class families.

• Pellicciotti supported legislation to increase penalties for corporate crime; combat sex trafficking by increasing penalties for those buying sex; closing a loophole that allows candidates and initiatives to accept funding without knowing the source; and addressing airplane noise, health and abatement concerns.

Mike Pellicciotti

Mike Pellicciotti

Mike Pellicciotti

Mike Pellicciotti

Kristine Reeves

Kristine Reeves