Your Top Priority, Controversial Bills Survey, and Survey Results

Housing/Homelessness is Your #1 Priority

Thank you to those who participated in the survey I sent out in my last newsletter! I asked you to share your opinion on issues being considered this session, and your responses told me that the issue of greatest concern for our district is affordable housing and homelessness. Other top priorities are transportation, climate change, and K-12 education.

For more information, check out the 2019 Session Priorities Survey results.

Housing and Homelessness

Every community has felt the impact, as affordable housing continues to be out of reach for many and homelessness has surpassed a crisis level across Washington. This issue is pervasive, and I believe this session will see many bipartisan solutions moving through the legislative process.

Legislation that has already been introduced include:

  • House Bill 1219, which would allow cities and counties to support affordable housing and homelessness projects by using real estate excise taxes;
  • House Bill 1377, which would allow increased density for an affordable housing development on property controlled by a religious organization; and
  • House Bill 1406, which would allow cities and counties to use sales and use tax dollars toward investments in affordable and supportive housing.

All three of these bills received a hearing in the House Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee last week. I’ll continue to update you as they, and other legislation aimed at addressing housing affordability and accessibility, move through the legislative process.

Expanding behavioral health workforce and capacity

The demand for behavioral health services has far outpaced the capacity in our state. For the past few years, legislators have been working to find solutions to our state’s behavioral health crisis, such as beginning the process of integrating our physical and behavioral health care systems.

Already this session, legislators have introduced a range of bills to expand access to quality care and to increase capacity. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp introduced one such piece of legislation, sponsoring a bill for the first time in over two decades.

House Bill 1593, which I co-sponsor, would help increase the behavioral health workforce and service capacity by establishing a behavioral health innovation and integration campus within the UW School of Medicine. The new campus would incorporate training to work with rural and underserved communities and an expansion of the telepsychiatry consultation program. It would also include capacity to provide inpatient care for up to 150 people.

Controversial bills survey

Every session there are controversial bills and issues that generate a great deal of calls and emails from the public, and this year is no different.

While I have already heard from some constituents on these issues, I want to get a broader picture of where our district stands. Click here or the button to take the survey, which should take less than five minutes of your time. Thank you and I look forward to your responses.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have comments, questions, or ideas.

Bergquist Signature
Rep. Steve Bergquist