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Tag: Christine Rolfes


Attempt to extend student financial aid to illegal immigrants stalls bill

A political fight over illegal immigrants receiving student financial aid has stalled a bill in the Senate.

Senate Bill 5195 would extend the college State Need Grant to students at Western Governors University Washington, the state’s nonprofit online university. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, is the bill’s prime sponsor.

However, the proposal stalled after Democratic Senator Ed Murray of Seattle introduced an amendment to the bill. Murray’s amendment would add language to state law regarding who can receive the State Need Grant, making the aid available to some illegal immigrants with a

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Lawmakers want to put expelled kids back in school

Several state lawmakers are trying to reduce dropout rates in Washington schools by changing the way students are punished for misbehavior.

Dozens of parents and students showed up in Olympia Monday to testify on proposed laws that aim to reduce the length of public school suspensions and expulsions, as well as create plans for expelled students to get back into school.

Right now, students fall behind on schoolwork when they are expelled or suspended, and may not be able to catch up, parents and teachers testified Monday before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

Additionally, getting a student back into school after he or she has had disciplinary issues can be difficult, parents and students said.

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Senate Republicans poised to take over Environment, Higher Ed, Parks, Trade, Human Services; remaining question marks include Sens. Hobbs, Hatfield, Eide

Washington will get a new Democratic governor this week with a green-energy agenda, but Republicans are preparing to take the helm of the Senate committee that would consider such proposals — along with other panels dealing with colleges, trade, parks and prisons.

The Legislature officially returns to session today at noon with the specifics of how the Senate will work still up in the air. After several Democrats turned down its offers to lead committees, the Republicans-plus-two-Democrats majority in the Senate has issued a new proposal to the minority.

As described in an e-mail that was circulated among Democratic senators

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Christine Rolfes picked for Senate seat

State Rep. Christine Rolfes of Bainbridge Island has been tapped to fill a vacant state Senate seat, The Kitsap Sun’s Steve Gardner reports.

Kitsap County commissioners picked her this morning to fill out the term of her fellow Democrat, retiring Sen. Phil Rockefeller.

At least four Democrats are angling for Rolfes’s House seat, the Sun reports.


Measuring the drapes? Nah, Rep. Rolfes just moved on in

If Rep. Christine Rolfes is chosen for a Senate seat, she won’t have to go far. Her stuff is already moved into the Senate office she hopes to take over.

It may seem like extreme overconfidence — until you realize House members are pretty much homeless right now.

With the House office building under construction and temporary trailer office space carted away, they’re squatting anywhere they can.

Some have relocated to home districts. Others found vacant spots in the Legislative Building. Rolfes is unusual in that her aide has set up shop in the Senate office building — specifically, at a

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Gov. Chris Gregoire signs bill to strengthen oil spill response on anniversary of BP spill

On the one-year anniversary of the BP well rupture and rig explosion that led to a multi-million gallon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill into law in Washington Wednesday to enhance the spill response program here.

The new law, which relies on the Ecology Department to make new rules, should make it easier for crews respond to oil spills in stormy conditions and at night and help ensure volunteers and fishermen are on hand to help, actions supporters said would institutionalize lessons Washington’s learned from local spills and the BP disaster.

“My real goal with this is when we have a spill, and we will, that we all know we did the best we could to be prepared for it,” said Rep. Christine Rolfes, a Bainbridge Island Democrat and the primary sponsor of House Bill 1186.

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Shortened school year weighed

With school closures and program eliminations threatened as more state cuts hit already battered school districts, (see Debbie Cafazzo’s weekend story for an overview) one alternative under consideration is holding fewer days of school.

The idea of reducing the mandated 180-day school year, perhaps by three days, is getting some attention in the Legislature. Rep. Kathy Haigh, the top budget writer for education in the House, said it’s the best of many bad ideas.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily the right thing to do, but it might be the fair thing to do,” said Haigh, D-Shelton. “There are those

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Rep. Christine Rolfes announces oil spill response plan

Rep. Christine Rolfes said today that she wants to improve oil spill response in Puget Sound and she wants industry to pay for it.

Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, announced that she already has support from other House Democrats for a bill she plans to introduce by the end of the week to require tanker companies establish a volunteer coordination system, invest in more advanced oil spill response equipment and contract with local commercial vessels to help should a spill occur.

“My biggest concern was watching the BP spill,” said Rolfes, who serves as vice chairwoman of the House Environment Committee. “I would like our state and our industry working together to make sure that if a disaster like that happens here we’ve done everything we can.”

Rolfes said she had secured the support of 14 other representatives to be co-sponsors of the bill including Rep. Zack Hudgins and Rep. Dave Upthegrove, chairman of the Environment Committee.

She said Upthegrove had assured her that the bill would get a hearing in committee.

Curt Hart, a spokesman for the Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program in the state Ecology Department said the program had long supported the initiatives proposed in Rolfes’ announcement, including the idea that industry help pay for oil spill preparedness.

“They’re hitting the nail right on the head with this one,” he said.

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