Washington State House Democrats


Legislative Update: TOWN HALLS COMING UP! Fair Chance Act / Car Tabs / Opioid Epidemic / Equal Pay

Two town hall meetings coming up

Please join me, along with Senator Marko Liias and Representative Strom Peterson at two town hall meetings coming up in a couple of weeks:

tele town hall


Thursday, February 15th at 6 PM

Calls will go out to thousands of homes throughout the 21st legislative district. When you pick up, you’ll be able to listen live and ask us a question.  If you don’t get a call but want to participate, please call 877-229-8493 and use ID Code 116357

You can also live-stream it at: https://vekeo.com/whdc21/


Saturday, February 17th at 11 AM at Meadowdale High School (6002 168th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98037)

We want to give you an update on the current legislative session, and we also want to take your questions–both over the phone on the 15th and in person on the 17th–on issues that matter to you, such as education funding, healthcare, public safety, transportation, the environment, the economy and the state budgets.

I hope you’ll join us!

Life is about second chances

The revolving door of prison can be hard to escape – once you have been arrested or convicted, there are far-reaching consequences that can make it hard to succeed. One of the barriers that people face is trying to get a job with a criminal record.

Ban the box

Under current law, most job applications include a box you have to check if you have a criminal record. The application doesn’t ask for an explanation or any details on the circumstances surrounding your arrest or conviction. When employers see that box checked, they generally don’t call the applicant back for an interview.

I believe everyone should get a fair chance to tell their story. Everyone should have the opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families.

That is why I sponsored the Fair Chance Act, which would prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal background until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. The bill includes exemptions, such as financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable people.

This legislation is good policy; it reduces recidivism and helps local economies. Currently, 29 states and over 100 local jurisdictions already have some version of this law in their books.

Car Tab Relief Passes House

After ST3 passed to expand light rail up to Everett, many of you reached out to me, shocked about the increased cost of car tabs. For many working families, that increase is a major burden.

Our region needs to move forward with light rail and it is important we uphold the projects that voters approved when ST3 passed. But we shouldn’t be taxing people unfairly. ST3 uses what is called the “1996 MVET” to assess car value and it is widely seen as unfair because it overvalues vehicles. We have a better valuation schedule, called the “2006 MVET” that is more fair and accurate, and closely tracks with Kelley Blue Book values.


I voted to pass legislation (HB 2201) that moves to the 2006 MVET and if the bill passes, drivers will see corrected car tab taxes this year.

This was the only bill to have bipartisan support and also keep light rail projects on track, while still returning $780 million to taxpayers.

Fighting the opioid epidemic

I am supporting a bill to help address our state’s opioid crisis. HB 2325  would require health care practitioners to review the controlled substance history of their patients before prescribing opiates or benzodiazepines.

The Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which has been in place since 2011, enables Washington practitioners to view a database listing the controlled substances each patient has been prescribed by other providers. However, 70 percent of Washington practitioners have failed to register for the PMP. This bill would make it mandatory for practitioners to check the PMP for cases of controlled substance overuse.

Equal Pay bill in the Senate

On January 17, we passed the Equal Pay Opportunity Act on a 69-28 vote. This bill will update the Washington State Equal Pay Act for the first time since its passage in 1943.

equal pay

On average, a woman makes around 80 cents to a man’s dollar for the same work. This wage gap is real (read our Debunking the Claims sheet) and it affects entire communities because women are either the sole or primary breadwinners in over 40 percent of families with kids.

So women are taking home smaller paychecks and many of them don’t even know it because many businesses don’t allow their employees to talk about wages with coworkers, effectively keeping them in the dark. This bill will empower women and reaffirm Washington’s longstanding pursuit of equality in the workplace by:

  • Banning pay secrecy policies
  • Allowing discussion of wages
  • Prohibiting retaliation against workers for discussing their pay, or for asking for equal pay and opportunities.

ask lillian

Ask Lillian

We need to ensure we have opportunities for people who don’t want to pursue a four-year college degree. In my latest Ask Lillian video I talk about my bill (HB 2685) to promote preapprenticeship programs for high school students. These education based programs focus on training students to meet or exceed minimum qualifications for entry into apprenticeship programs upon graduation.

As always, thank you for reading my newsletter. If you need more information on these or other issues currently under consideration in Olympia, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.


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