Rep. Morris lauds newer, safer ferry M/V Samish as it takes its place in WSF fleet

His 12-year effort helped make three new 144-car ferries a reality

ANACORTES – M/V Samish, the state’s newest 144-vehicle ferry, will take its place in the Washington State Ferries fleet at a ceremony on Wed., May 20, at the Anacortes ferry landing.

Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mt. Vernon) has been a driving force in advocating for funding on the Olympic Class ferries like the Samish.

“It’s been more than 12 years of advocating for new ferries, securing funding after passage of the $30 license tabs, and finding the right process to construct the vessels,” Morris said. “These new Olympic Class ferries are an important link to the San Juan Islands and Anacortes, not just for the people who live there, but for the tourism trade and commerce that keeps our small businesses and the island economy moving.” Continue reading

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Measure to test all rape kits signed into law today

This morning, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a measure sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall to test all rape kits.

Under House Bill 1068, law enforcement must submit a request for testing to the crime lab within 30 days of receipt of a sexual assault examination kit. The new law also creates a task force to review best practice models for managing all aspects of sexual assault examinations and for reducing the number of existing untested rape kits.

Read more about the new law in this News Tribune story.

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Health Care Cost Transparency Bill signed by governor

All Payers Claims Database bill signing with Governor Inslee and Representative Cody

Rep. Eileen Cody shaking hands with Governor Jay Inslee at signing of SB 5084 the All Payers Claims Database with bipartisan group of legislators.

OLYMPIA – Most people have no idea if the prices they pay for their health care are fair. Entering a hospital, medical examinations and procedures aren’t listed on the wall with a price tag. Finding out what you owe usually comes after receiving a bill, often after insurance has denied the claim despite the consumer having proper insurance coverage.

Patients need to know the upfront costs they’ll face when they are provided with care. With more access to care comes less reliance in the health care industry on premium heavy payment systems in favor of plans based on copays and cost-sharing.

This year, Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, and Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, introduced legislation to improve the All Payer Health Care Claims Database, at the request of Governor Jay Inslee. Today, in a ceremony in Olympia, the governor signed SB 5084, Sen. Becker’s bill.

“By passing this legislation, we’re taking another important step in improving consumer access to knowledge about their health care costs,” said Rep. Cody. “We’re moving forward, allowing people to know just how much their care will impact their wallet, and giving them the opportunity to compare health care facilities. The goal is to create competition in the industry, by empowering consumers with knowledge. Access to information is key to making important decisions about our health.” Continue reading

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Governor signs Joel’s Law to give families access to emergency mental health treatment

OLYMPIA – Today Governor Jay Inslee signed Joel’s Law, the mental health care reform bill that will allow families to get emergency mental health treatment for their family members in crisis.

Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D – Seattle) is the House sponsor of Joel’s Law, which is named after Joel Reuter, a young man from Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood who was tragically shot in his apartment after an armed standoff with police. Joel struggled with mental illness.

“We took a big step forward in improving the mental health care system in our state,” Walkinshaw said. “This gives families a voice when it comes to ensuring their loved ones are given the care they need when suffering from a mental health crisis.”

Continue reading

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Inslee signs DNA preservation bill into law

Gov. Inslee signs House Bill 1069 into law on Monday, May 11, 2015. Photo: Legislative Support Services

Yesterday, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Rep. Tina Orwall’s measure requiring that DNA products secured in connection with a felony violent or sex offense be preserved:

  • throughout the length of the defendant’s sentence when convicted in connection with the case;
  • for 99 years or until the defendant’s death when the defendant was convicted and sentenced to a determinate plus sentence in connection with the case;
  • for 99 years or throughout the period of the statute of limitations when the defendant is found not guilty in connection with the case; or
  • for 99 years or throughout the period of the statute of limitations in any case where the identity of the perpetrator is not known.

Listen to the radio report here, or read the Associated Press story here.

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