Washington State House Democrats


Rep. Orwall’s 4/19/17 Update: Transportation / Air Quality / Suicide Prevention / Helping Service Members and Veterans

Transportation Budget

Last week the House passed a bipartisan transportation budget that will allocate approximately $8.7 billion in much needed funding to Washington state’s transportation network.

The construction portion of the budget helps maintain our transportation infrastructure, supports jobs, and addresses key traffic and transportation problems that affect working families all over the state.

It secures over $3 billion for highway projects including maintenance and preservation of the system, additional funds to continue removing culverts to improve fish passage, funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects across the state, and completing a fourth 144-car ferry.

transpo map

The transportation budget also includes an operating portion that provides funding for ferries, Washington State Patrol trooper training, Department of Licensing operations, investments in information technology upgrades, and fully funds the state employee contracts.

Click on this interactive map for information on all the transportation projects statewide, or you can also check out this map and list of projects in and around our district.

The budget passed by House Democrats moves our state economy forward by addressing our transportation needs and taking into account Washington’s population growth.

Update on my bills

Air Quality

You may recall in my February 10, 2017 e-newsletter, I discussed my bill relating to an air quality study.


A decision was made to not move the bill through the legislative process; instead, a more effective approach was to seek the funds through a budget proviso.

I am very pleased that the House budget does fund the substance of the bill—the completion of a study of environmental impacts, including ultrafine particulate matter air pollution, associated with aircraft traffic at Sea-Tac Airport.

Sea-Tac is the fastest growing airport in the country.  People living near the airport are more susceptible to disease and have been shown by public health data to be among the most impacted communities by environmental pollution. Residents deserve to know about the risks that they face, and on how to reduce those risks where possible.

Please know that I will continue to strongly advocate for this funding to be included in the final budget.

Suicide Prevention

My bill to create a fund for a Suicide-Safer Homes public education platform is on its way to the governor’s desk. This legislation will support prevention efforts and develop strategies for reducing access to lethal means.

Every year Washington loses 1,100 individuals to suicide.  HB 1612 will, among other things, implement community outreach pilot programs in counties with high rates of suicide, with specific strategies to support veteran suicide prevention work.

Standing up for our service members and veterans

Veterans, service members, and their families sacrifice so much in order to protect our state and our nation. We are recognizing that sacrifice, and have prioritized legislation that helps the thousands of military members and families that call Washington home.  I was pleased to support these bills with my “yes” vote in the House.


HB 1055 provides free legal services to our service members, veterans, and their families. When deployed around the world or given change of station orders on the other side of the country, it’s hard for our service members to drop everything and return home to deal with a legal issue. By offering these free legal services through the office of the Attorney General, we’re providing a little peace of mind.

HB 1056 protects our active service members from unfair contracts. When a service member receives a change of orders, he or she may be forced to break a contract. This bill would provide military service members and their families with consumer protections from the penalties of breaking a contract. Unfortunately, HB 1056 did not come up for a vote on the Senate floor.  I hope it will pass next year.

The Wounded Warrior Shared Leave Act, HB 1802, helps service members transitioning to civilian life.  It will grant veterans, military service members, and their spouses employed by the state government access to a shared leave pool. For those in the traditional six-month probationary period, paid leave isn’t available, so if you’re a service member or veteran who needs to go to Veterans Affairs or the doctor, you have to take unpaid leave. Our service members and their families deserve better than that, so this gives them access to leave that didn’t exist before.

The regular session ends on Sunday, April 23rd.  On Monday we will be moving back to our district office at 22525 Marine View Dr. S., Suite 205, in Des Moines. Our phone number there is (206) 824-5097.

I hope you will continue to be in touch!