This Thursday was Suicide Prevention Education Day in Olympia. We had a Ceremony of Remembrance and Hope for a Suicide-Safer Homes Memorial, installed by Forefront volunteers on the Capitol lawn, to recognize the lives lost to suicide in 2015.
The colors in the visually striking memorial reflect different manners of death: red for firearm, white for suffocation, yellow for poisoning or prescription overdose, green for jumping or cutting and blue for other means of ending one’s life.
It was very moving to hear the stories of survivors and to see so many people there supporting the work we’ve done at the Legislative level with Forefront to make Washington state the leader in the nation in suicide prevention.
This year, to further our vision to make Washington a model suicide prevention state, I’m sponsoring HB 1612 to create a fund for a Suicide-Safer Homes public education platform, and HB 1379 to support comprehensive suicide prevention initiatives on college and university campuses statewide. And I am also supporting HB 1047, a drug take-back program to protect public health through safe storage and disposal of medications, and HB 1122 to encourage the safe storage of firearms.
DNA biological samples
My bill related to DNA collection from sexual assault offenders, HB 1111, was passed out of the House Public Safety Committee and was heard in the House Appropriations Committee a couple of days ago.
This legislation is a powerful tool for law enforcement in helping to solve crimes, including cold cases and homicides, and to exonerate those who were wrongly accused. The bill will be known as “Jennifer and Michella’s Law,” named for Jennifer Bastian and Michella Welch, two young girls who were abducted, sexually assaulted and killed in Tacoma in 1986 – crimes that remain unsolved.
Pattie Bastian (center) and Detective Lindsey Wade (right) stopped by my office on Wednesday. You can watch their testimony in support of the bill in the Appropriations Committee here.
My legislation requires DNA collection from convicted indecent exposure offenders and persons charged with or having a prior violent offense conviction. It allows law enforcement to submit DNA samples obtained from certain deceased offenders; and expands the crime of Refusal to Provide a DNA sample to apply to any person lawfully required to provide a sample, rather than only persons required to register as sex or kidnapping offenders.
A fair deal for foster kids
All kids deserve the opportunity to reach for their dreams. Children and young people in foster care need our support to help them succeed.
Foster kids already have it tough. Nationally:
The state is morally and legally responsible for taking care of foster kids, and it is not keeping up with its end of the bargain. That is why lawmakers are considering a number of reforms to help foster kids, including:
Thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. I hope you found its content informative. If you have questions, would like more information on any of the issues discussed above, or have feedback, please call or email me.