SAVE THE DATE
Town Hall Meeting this Saturday!
Please join Senator Karen Keiser, Representative Mia Gregerson and me at our 33rd district town hall meeting this Saturday, February 17, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. At LiUNA! Laborers Local 242, 22323 Pacific Hwy S, Des Moines, WA 98198.
We want to give you an update on the current legislative session, and we also want to hear what’s on your mind, so be sure to bring your questions and concerns.
Note: Live Spanish-language interpretation will be available.
I hope to see you there!
House of Origin Cutoff
Each session, a legislative cutoff calendar is released providing cutoff dates that serve to funnel and narrow down the number of bills considered. In this short 60-day session, our offices are working hard to move bills though the legislative process before the various cutoff deadlines.
This week is the House of Origin Cutoff. House bills that don’t pass the House and Senate bills that don’t pass the Senate are likely dead for this session and will not will become laws. An exception to these cutoff dates are bills directly related to the budget.
These cutoffs are essential for the effective operation of the Washington State Legislature but it makes for a high paced and sometimes tense period for legislators, lobbyists, and the citizens we represent who closely watch if their bills pass or die.
Update on my bills
I am glad to report that several of my bills are still alive and moving through the legislative process:
- HB 1169, The Student Opportunity, Assistance, and Relief (SOAR) Act, will bring much needed student debt relief to Washington professionals. If you have a professional license and you miss a student loan payment, our state can revoke your license, taking away your ability to pay your loan. Also, 25 percent of your income can be garnished, making it even harder to pay your rent and support your family. This bill takes care of these issues by allowing you to keep your license so you can continue working, and it reduces the amount that can be garnished so you can pay your bills and your loan. The SOAR Act bill passed out of the House on January 31 on a 79-15 vote.
- HB 2057 addresses services and processes for foreclosed and abandoned residential homes. It addresses the method and amount of remittances into the Foreclosure Fairness Act, and establishes processes for loan servicers to enter, inspect, secure, repair and/or maintain abandoned properties. The House unanimously passed my bill on January 18 and is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions & Insurance this Wednesday.
- The use of DNA is an important tool for law enforcement to identify persons who have committed a crime and to exonerate the innocent. HB 2331 is about treating city misdemeanors the same way state code misdemeanors are treated. It authorizes municipal jurisdictions to submit previously collected biological samples to the Washington State Patrol for DNA analysis under certain circumstances. HB 2331 is eligible for a vote on the House Floor.
- In the face of trauma, some victims have a fight or flight reaction. However, we’ve learned that there is also a common third response called tonic immobility, where victims are unable to resist or express lack of consent (they freeze, in effect). HB 2465 modifies the offense of rape in the third degree by removing the language requiring that lack of consent was clearly expressed by the victim’s words or conduct. The House gave this bill its unanimous support on February 8, and the Senate has scheduled it for a public hearing in the Committee on Law & Justice this coming Friday.
- HB 2466 is a technical fix to the legislation enacted last year that created no-contact orders for trafficking and promoting prostitution cases. This change allows law enforcement to make warrantless arrests in these cases. On February 7, HB 2466 passed the House unanimously and will also be heard in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice this Friday.
- HB 2485 would remove barriers for landowners and the state to employ water-efficient landscaping. The bill is eligible for a vote on the House Floor.
- Poor school attendance has far-reaching effects on academic and personal performance, achievement, and development for youth. HB 2848 modifies school and court processes that reduce truancy by better educating school board members and making crisis residential centers more accessible. This bill is in the House Rules Committee for review.
- My bill relating to implementing a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and behavioral health in post-secondary institutions, with specific enhanced services for student veterans, HB 2513, did not make it out of the House Appropriations committee, but its identical Senate companion, SB 6514, is still alive and will be the vehicle for this policy.
Safe drug disposal bill in the Senate
Last week, mine was one of the 86 votes that sent the statewide Secure Drug Take Back Act to the Senate. Overdose deaths have surpassed car crashes as the most common cause of accidental death in our state. According to the Washington State Department of Health, of the almost 700 opioid overdose deaths in 2016, over 400 were attributed to prescription opioids. A majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the medicine cabinet.
The Secure Drug Take Back Act will require drug manufacturers to implement systems for the safe, secure collection of unused, expired, and leftover medications. I believe this might be the most important bill we pass this year. You can read this Everett Herald story to learn more about this legislation.
Thank you for reading this update. As we near the conclusion of this session, it is important that I hear from you, so please contact my office with your comments and feedback, or take advantage of our town hall meeting this Saturday to let me know what’s on your mind.