Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP), which would allow non-violent felons to regain career licenses, continues to be a statewide concern that stalled the last two seasons but continues to have support from Columbia Legal Services and the Association of Washington Businesses. Libertarian candidates who have made it past the Top-Two Primary on to the November ballot have further expressed a need to have an expiration date on non-violent criminal records, and a more streamlined process to record blocking and expungement. Common Core and its related SBAC test continue to frustrate parents and educators alike. The SBAC requires as many as 17 unpaid man-hours in teacher preparation, and violates state employment laws as a result. The Washington OAI Outreach Coordinator (who is both Native American and holds an advanced degree in Education) has provided several pro bono hours to office of the Washington State Department of Hispanic Affairs, to assist the Executive Director in fighting what he has accurately called “the school-to-prison pipeline” in Washington State where minorities are concerned.
Other concerns on the table for the upcoming legislative season include full restoration of medical marijuana, a flat sales tax rate to increase sales—so-called ‘sin tax’ items included, and turning around our continued lagging economy by simplifying of business licensing to open employment opportunities—even in such perceived ‘minor’ areas as classifications, which directly impact available grants and loans. For example: Indigenous minorities from Central and South America are not currently recognized by the state, and cannot receive cultural funding for any businesses they want to start. This excludes trades businesses that focus on cultural designs or supplies from bidding on projects within their expertise due to their classification status.
Additional immediate and long-term concerns are increased involvement with state and tribal governments to improve the community at large in areas of housing, clean water, and the access to basic rights and needs of every human being, realizing that we all have a similar struggle and real improvement will not happen unless we are literally all in this together. Tolerance (which is just a polite way of putting up with something) and division among ethnic and socioeconomic groups continue to impede an atmosphere of comradery and inclusiveness, stonewalling learning from each other’s expertise and cultures. We all have something to contribute that can move our state forward and improve the quality of life for every resident. Every Washingtonian matters. Not one should be left behind or forgotten. Education reforms will secure quality leaders across the board for our future, and the other reforms will quickly put every resident to work, creating a solid foundation of liberty for our bioregion.