Taking Action to Put People First
Last week, Democrats in Olympia shone a light on how we are fighting for the families of Washington state. From empowering women with the Equal Pay Opportunity Act to making the dream of higher education more affordable by improving the College Bound Scholarship program, we highlighted the legislative solutions Democrats are championing in order to put people first and ensure a better Washington for everyone who calls our state home.
Helping end opioid abuse with the Drug Take Back Act
Opioid use disorder is an epidemic across the nation. Washington state isn’t immune—family members and friends are getting hooked on pills after surgeries, accidents, or other injuries. Thousands of lives are damaged, destroyed, or even lost because opioids are easily abused, sometimes before you even realize it’s happening. In Washington state, 718 people died from an opioid overdose in 2015, with over 400 of those deaths attributed to prescription opioids.
I’m proud to support the Drug Take Back Act to give Washington’s families a safe, convenient, responsible way to dispose of their unused and unneeded prescriptions. Drug companies need to be a part of the solution and that starts with requiring them to offer programs and services to take back unused prescription drugs, which often end up sitting in medicine cabinets that are accessible to family members. Getting those drugs away from our kids and communities when they are no longer needed goes a long way in putting people first and ending the opioid crisis.
Learn more in this video where my colleague, Rep. Strom Peterson of Edmonds, discusses the importance of the Drug Take Back Act.
Ending discriminatory housing practices
Washington is experiencing a housing crisis that hurts many of our families and friends. In this state, landlords can reject prospective tenants because they receive housing subsidies. For vulnerable renters, this just makes matters worse. Even those who have good credit, no criminal history, and full-time employment struggle to find a place to live.
No one should be denied a home because they are receiving rental or income assistance, whether they are foster youth, veterans, or lower-income residents. House Bill 2578, which I co-sponsored, bans discriminating against potential renters because they need a little help to pay for housing. The bill passed the House this week on a vote of 61-37.
Thank you to the people of Renton for being leaders in acting on and advocating for this issue!
Learn more about the importance of giving renters a fair shot at finding a home in this video of my colleague, Rep. Marcus Riccelli of Spokane, the sponsor of the bill.
Ensuring affordable, high-quality childcare
Giving every child a chance to succeed means providing educational opportunities, from pre-K to their chosen career. That starts with accessible and affordable childcare for middle class and working families. However, the high cost of childcare can be a burden on a family’s finances.
That’s why I am working to address childcare costs by supporting new legislation that will encourage partnerships with private employers to increase access to quality childcare, address the childcare shortage through higher education scholarships and loan repayments to students who want a career in early learning services, and by incentivizing employers to set up programs to lower the cost of childcare.
My colleague, Rep. Kristine Reeves of Federal Way, talks more about the fight for families and affordable childcare in this video.
The legislature has just reached house of origin cut-off, where policy bills that have not passed one chamber are now dead. I look forward to sharing with you—at my Town Hall this weekend or via my e-newsletter next week—some of the big wins coming out of the House.
Rep. Tana Senn