Washington State House Democrats


2017 Session Update: Breaking Down Barriers

Breaking down barriers

Washington leads the way in many ways, but one of the most important is by standing up for equality and against discrimination. While there is always more we can do to protect and support ALL Washingtonians, we continued to make progress this year.

Democrats fought to set our behavioral health system moving in the right direction by expanding access to care in the community, improving services to divert people in crisis from the criminal justice system, investing in supports for those leaving institutional settings and addressing critical needs in our state hospitals.

As a former foster parent, I know that our state has struggled for too long to live up to our obligation to children in need. In a small victory that came in just under the wire, the Legislature approved a demonstration project on providing attorneys to foster kids. This was my top policy priority this session, and through bipartisanship and sheer determination, we are one step closer. In other states, we’ve seen improved outcomes for foster kids provided with an attorney, and this project will give us the data for to help us make our case for a big investment here in Washington.

Students with disabilities often face obstacles in pursuing higher education. I am proud to say that my bill, HB 2037, was passed into law in 2017 to continue the workgroup focused on removing those obstacles.

When given the chance and proper support, youth in the juvenile justice system can succeed in life after their release. Since the beginning of the year, I have been serving on the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice, which focuses on advocacy for at risk youth. I will continue to fight for these young people and to promote preventive and rehabilitative programs that can improve their chance at a better future.

Thank you for following along with my updates on the 2017 legislative session. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions feel free to get in touch. I look forward to serving you in 2018!