There’s one more week left before we adjourn “Sine Die” on Thursday, March 10. We’ve passed some great laws in education, public safety, and mental health—but there’s still more to do. We have supplemental budget negotiations for both operating and capital budgets, important policy bills in both the Senate and the House, and only a week to get it all done. I’m working hard to try to get policies passed to try to improve conditions for our local communities.
I made a short video for you on the House Democrats’ supplemental operating budget and how we’re trying to address the homelessness, mental health, and school classroom problems facing our state. Please watch the video below.
The story of Sheena Henderson has been one that I have shared with you a lot the past year and a half. I prime sponsored legislation last year that came to me from Sheena’s father, Gary, her family and close friend Kristen. We passed it in the House, twice, and yesterday the Senate passed the bill as well. There are amendments we’ll work out to reconcile the two bills, but I’m very happy we’ve made progress on moving forward on this bill. While it isn’t perfect, this is a step forward in getting law enforcement the tools they need to get people help when they’re suffering from a mental health crisis and prevent future tragedies.
I had the opportunity to preside over the House on Wednesday morning as the Speaker. The procedure that governs the House is built upon rules we set for ourselves and a tradition of respecting one another and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to proceed with calling the roll call and votes for the morning.
In addition to releasing the operating and transportation budget proposals this week, the House also released a supplemental capital budget proposal. The capital budget proposal invests $312 million into Washington state’s infrastructure – creating jobs and supporting the needs of our local communities.
Our plan will spend up to $1 billion to build classrooms for our kids to lower class sizes over the next ten years. We need more teachers and are making investments to hire those teachers, but where will we put them? We need more classrooms too, which is why we need to start building now—so when we start hiring new teachers next year, we have a place for them to teach. I also passed out of the House by a vote of 93-2 a common sense temporary fix for the classroom crunch some of our school districts, like Mead face, and you can read more about that here.
We’re also adding more money into mental health programs that will fund critical repairs and upgrades at state mental health facilities and hospitals. And our homeless youth will be getting help to get off the streets and into warm homes.
While there’s not much time left in this session, I’m always interested in knowing what questions or concerns you have. Please don’t hesitate to call or email my office. It is an honor to serve you.
Representative Marcus Riccelli
3rd Legislative District – Spokane