Washington State House Democrats


Rep. Sells’ 2/23 Update: Gun Laws / #metoo Movement / Capital Budget

gun laws

Now is the time to consider common-sense gun legislation

After last week’s devastating shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, people across the nation are rightfully demanding more than thoughts and prayers to prevent future mass shootings. Many of you have been contacting me via email, phone calls, and the 38th LD telephone town hall, asking what the Washington legislature is doing to address gun violence.

Earlier this month, the House Judiciary committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 5992. This measure would ban the manufacture and sale of bump-fire stocks, which are trigger modifications that allow a semi-automatic firearm to replicate a fully automatic one. Essentially, it begins to close the machine gun loophole. This bill passed out of the House this afternoon, and I was glad to vote in support of it.

We’ve also made progress on other legislation to help prevent gun violence, such as Senate Bill 5553 and House Bill 2519.

SB 5553 authorizes a person to voluntarily waive their firearm rights. This would reduce the risk of harm for people in crisis who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. We passed this bill out of the House today, and I was proud to vote in support of it.

HB 2519 brings consistency between firearms returns and CPL license returns to ensure that only those who are legally eligible for a concealed pistol license will get them.

The House Judiciary Committee heard five bills to address gun violence this session, which is noteworthy progress from previous years. In the wake of so many mass shootings nationwide – in schools, in churches, in workplaces – Washingtonians are calling on lawmakers to help keep them safe from gun violence and ensure guns do not get into the hands of people determined to use them to kill or injure other people.

Responding to the #metoo movement

The #metoo movement has been in the national and local headlines for the last few months. This movement spread as a hashtag used on social media, highlighting the widespread prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.


This issue has been whispered about for too long – people are now raising their voices to demand change.

Over the last few months, I’ve listened to the women in my life tell their stories – my family members, my staff, and my colleagues have all shared powerful emotions around this topic. It’s clear: something must be done.

One of my colleagues, Senator Karen Keiser, has introduced a collection of bills to combat sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.

SB 5996 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee, as a condition of employment, to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prevents the employee from disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault.

SB 6313 addresses mandatory employment contracts and agreements that limit an employee’s right to file a complaint or cause of action for sexual harassment or sexual assault.

SB 6471 relates to developing model policies to create workplaces that are safe from sexual harassment.

These bills are all moving along in the legislative process. As Chair of the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee, I had the honor of scheduling these bills for a vote this week. They each passed out of committee with unanimous, bipartisan support, and I certainly hope to see them reach the governor’s desk to become law.

It’s about time.


Investing in construction

This week the House Democrats proposed a supplemental capital budget. These changes to the two-year construction budget passed last month would invest more in public school construction, access to broadband internet in rural areas, and mental health facilities.

The state capital budget pays for construction projects and infrastructure investments, including school buildings, mental health facilities, state park improvements, and other infrastructure that keeps Washington a great place to live, work and raise a family.

In January, the House and Senate approved a $4.2 billion two-year construction budget. This latest bipartisan proposal would modify that budget in response to changing conditions and emerging needs throughout the state.

You can find details about the projects included by visiting http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2018/hc2018p.asp.

Thanks for reading this newsletter. Give my office a call if you have questions or concerns. This Friday afternoon/evening we’re on the Floor discussing the operating budget. If you want to follow the action, you can do so on TVW.


Sells Sig