Two bills supported by state Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, were signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia Wednesday afternoon.
The governor first gave his signature to HB 1813, expanding computer science education in Washington’s public schools. Muri said early training in computer science is essential for students.
“There are so many good-paying computer science jobs available in Washington, but we don’t have nearly enough qualified workers to fill them,” he said. “We can do a much better job of introducing kids to this field of study in elementary, middle and high school, so by the time they get to college they’ll have a solid foundation.”
The organization Code.org estimates there are currently 20,000 open computing jobs in Washington, while in 2014 only 1,200 people in-state received computer science degrees.
Also approved by the governor was SB 5079, the Senate version of a bill sponsored by Muri. Requested by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), it requires the state Department of Social and Health Services to notify the military of child abuse and neglect allegations involving children in military families.
“The defense department would like all states to enact this legislation, to ensure the military knows when serious allegations are made,” said Muri. “Washington is the first state to pass such a law. It will add one more layer of protection for military children.”