Rep. Mary Helen Roberts responds to a constituent email on foster care programs in Washington state.
In less than a decade, over 30 percent of Washington state’s population will be over the age of 65. This rapid demographic shift is being called the “age wave,” and Rep. Steve Tharinger (D – Dungeness) thinks the state needs to focus on preparing to meet the needs of this population. Yesterday, the state House of Representatives approved Tharinger’s bill setting up a select committee tasked with preparing the state for an increasing number of aging residents, including those with … Continue reading
By Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, Rev. Paul Benz and Sr. Sharon Park The United States is the only country on earth that sentences children to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Washington is one of 29 states in which life without parole is a mandatory sentence for some children. However, recent United States Supreme Court rulings require that Washington reevaluate the way we sentence children for crimes and change our laws. Over the last several years, the U.S. … Continue reading
Dear Neighbors, It has been another busy week in the legislature, but also a week with moments of reflection and remembrance. On February 13, members of the House and Senate joined together for a Joint Legislative Session in the Senate chambers to honor former legislators who have passed away in the last two years. A poignant moment for me was memorializing my friend and former colleague, Sen. Scott White, who passed away in 2011. It was a time to contemplate … Continue reading
Do you remember the horrific story of Hana Williams, an adopted Ethiopian girl living in Sedro-Woolley? A couple of years ago her adoptive parents starved her, abused her, beat her repeatedly and left her outside on a cold night, which ultimately killed her. Hana’s story is not unique. A recent DSHS report on severe abuse of adopted children recounts 15 cases of adopted children who found anything but loving homes. Two of these children perished and the thirteen survivors … Continue reading
Last week, House Early Learning & Human Services Committee chair Rep. Ruth Kagi went on TVW’s The Impact to discuss the issue of drug testing TANF recipients. You can view the entire segment here, but she makes her main points in the clip below. A recent HDC blog post about this issue was also picked up by the Associated Press.
A bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives introduced a pair of bills to address the needs of Washington’s aging population. The so-called “Age Wave” bills, SB 5519 and HB 1631, would create a joint select committee on aging and disability issues. “This will be the defining demographic shift of the future,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-24th). “We need to take meaningful steps to prepare so that our growing population of older people and people with disabilities have access to the … Continue reading
On January 14th, Representative Roger Freeman took the oath of office and was officially sworn in to serve the citizens of the 30th legislative district in the Washington State Legislature. “I am excited to represent the people of the 30th Legislative District and be their advocate in Olympia. I am grateful to have so many people supporting me on this journey,” said Freeman. During their reorganization in late 2012, the House Democratic Caucus selected Freeman to serve as the Vice … Continue reading
Over the summer, State Representative Mary Helen Roberts traveled to Denver to attend the National Conference of State Legislature’s Opportunities for Working Families Leadership Forum. During the forum, four legislators from three states were interviewed on the challenges facing working families. Rep. Roberts, former vice chair of the Early Learning and Human Services Committee, weighed in on job creation and workforce development. “We know there are jobs available, but often times people don’t know they are available or how to … Continue reading
Legislative leaders from each caucus spoke with reporters earlier this week during the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview. The leadership panel answered questions from reporters on several issues that will face the Legislature over the next 105 days. After opening his remarks by stating, “Our caucus is organized and energized,” Speaker Frank Chopp outlined the top five priorities for House Democrats this session: Support basic education Expand health care through the Affordable Care Act and the Basic Health Plan Strengthen … Continue reading
Rep. Ruth Kagi (D – Shoreline) has been reappointed to chair the House Early Learning and Human Services committee for the 2013 session. Since first coming to the state legislature in 1999, Kagi’s focus has been on improving early learning opportunities and quality child care options for children and families, strengthening the state’s foster care system, and reducing child poverty. She was recognized this year as a “Champion for Children” by the non-profit Children’s Alliance, and was presented with a … Continue reading
OLYMPIA – Three separate measures that give child welfare caseworkers new and better tools to help the state’s most troubled families were signed into law today. Together, these reforms allow caseworkers to focus on the core mission of protecting children, while also setting up the state’s application for a waiver to reinvest federal dollars into services that bring positive results. State Rep. Ruth Kagi (D – Lake Forest Park) championed the reforms this legislative session as innovative strategies that improve … Continue reading
On April 7, 2011, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, spoke on the House floor in support of Senate Bill 5364, dealing with public water systems to ensure safe drinking water. Jinkins sponsored the House companion bill, HB 1468.