2019 Legislative Report to the 32nd District
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are excited to share this update following a busy and successful 2019 legislative session! We made significant policy and budgetary gains for our district, and our achievements reflect our commitment to provide opportunity and hope by putting people first.
Here are some brief highlights, and inside you’ll find additional information about this year’s legislative session.
Improved our behavioral health system
We expanded access to mental health services, made reforms in the state hospital system, and added more assistance for those struggling with substance use disorders.
Expanded higher education access
We increased financial aid and student success programs – including free higher education for low- and middle-income families – to give more people the opportunity to grow and thrive.
Improved our K-12 education system / property tax relief
In addition to historic investments in our public school system, we increased special education funding and local levy flexibility to give districts more local control for local needs, while increasing property tax exemptions for seniors.
Strengthened our safety net
We increased funding for homeless outreach and support and bolstered the Housing and Essential Needs program to help transition people off the streets.
Protected our environment
We passed innovative legislation to combat climate change, help heal environmental degradation and protect orcas and salmon.
Thank you to everyone who wrote, called, emailed, and visited our offices to share your thoughts, concerns, and priorities during this past legislative session. Hearing directly from constituents is the best and most important part of our jobs.
Sen. Jesse Salomon
Rep. Cindy Ryu
Rep. Lauren Davis
Our state’s capital budget lets us build public schools, colleges, state parks and infrastructure.
Projects in the 32nd Legislative District ($59.4 million total)
- Lynnwood Sea Mar Behavioral Health expansion – $1,000,000
- Richmond Highland Recreation Center repairs – $500,000
- Shoreline Maintenance Facility – Brightwater Site – $500,000
- Volunteers of America Lynnwood Neighborhood Center – $3,000,000
- Repairs and maintenance at Edmonds Community College – $5,013,000 Shoreline Community College, Allied Health, Science & Manufacturing Building – $39,544,000
- Repairs and maintenance at Shoreline Community College – $3,084,000
- Maintenance, repairs, and upgrades at the Department of Health Laboratory – $1,450,000
- Fircrest School repairs, maintenance, and upgrades – $4,240,000
- Fircrest Campus underutilized property study – $250,000
- South Lynnwood Park renovation – $827,000
We expanded access to reproductive health care services regardless of gender identity or immigration status, passed a public option health care plan, and guaranteed ACA protections under state law. We also created the nation’s first longterm care trust to ensure access to funds for caregiving services for elderly, ill or disabled family members.
In response to the opioid epidemic gripping the nation, we’ve passed new laws to address how addictive drugs are prescribed, increase the amount of peer counselors, and expand supportive housing.
A new law that removes the personal belief exemption from the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination requirements will help keep immune compromised individuals healthy, but still allows for medical and religious exemptions.
Kids need to be safe, and they need to feel safe in school. We enhanced training mandates for school resource officers and will require educational service districts to establish Regional School Safety Centers to provide training in behavioral health coordination, suicide prevention, school-based threat assessment, and assistance in crisis situations.
SUPPORTING OUR YOUTH TO SUCCEED
Locking up at-risk youth for noncriminal actions like truancy or running away from a foster family can create lifelong trauma. It can also initiate an endless cycle of criminality and recidivism. Because these kids need help,
not jail time, we passed legislation that will eliminate noncriminal juvenile detention and authorizes courts to commit juveniles to secured therapeutic facilities or approved secure programs with intensive wrap-around services.
SUPPORT FOR WOMEN
Legislation passed this session works toward equal pay by prohibiting employers from requesting wage history of job applicants, protects workers from sexual harassment, and helps close the gender gap in tech industries.
Legislation passed this session provides nurses and other medical workers with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, strengthens prevailing wage protections for workers on public works contracts, and protects isolated workers from sexual harassment.
PROTECTIONS FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT
Many carbon emissions in Washington State are caused by burning gasoline for our daily transportation activities. We passed laws to help increase the use of electric cars, buses, trucks, ferries, and ships.
Protecting salmon and orca habitat
We’ve strengthened Washington’s oil spill prevention laws, funded projects to restore salmon access to river spawning habitat, and regulated whale watching activities to protect orcas and other marine life.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND EVICTION REFORM
We adopted a property tax break for seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans on limited incomes that will prevent people from being priced out of their homes as property taxes rise along with property values. Eligibility for the property tax exemption is now based on a calculation using each county’s median household income, which will help more homeowners in our district.
We made a record investment of $175 million in the Housing Trust Fund, including large investments in permanent supportive housing for people living with behavioral health disorders, housing for the homeless, and preservation of existing affordable housing.
New laws also battle homelessness by increasing tenant protections, like
extending the eviction notice timeline from 3 to 14 days, increasing the notice period for rent increases, and expanding eligibility for relocation assistance for displaced mobile home residents.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
A criminal conviction means lifetime consequences that can affect employment, business opportunities, housing, education and more. Families and communities suffer when formerly incarcerated individuals
cannot successfully reintegrate with the community due to these hurdles. The New Hope Act streamlines the process to acquire a certificate of discharge and expands eligibility for vacating convictions. This offers people the opportunity to turn their lives around.
Jail is often the wrong approach to deal with emergencies arising from substance use and mental health crises. A new law supports local initiatives to properly identify people in crisis and engage them with therapeutic interventions and other services, rather than the revolving door of the criminal justice system.
We’ve heard a lot from our constituents about gun safety. In response, we passed legislation to prevent people from using guns to harm themselves or others:
- Increased protection for domestic violence victims, families and law enforcement officers
- Improved system for gun purchase background checks
- Banned untraceable 3-D printed guns
- Extreme risk protection orders for persons under 18
- Improved procedures for protection orders and conditions following involuntary treatment
Thank you for electing me to represent your priorities in Olympia. Prior to my election last November, I personally visited the homes of over 13,000 residents all across our district. When I got to Olympia in January, I was well-prepared to tackle the host of issues you care about most.
I am proud to say I worked successfully to pass bills that help close the gender gap in tech jobs, put more condos on the market for first time homebuyers, and provide property tax relief for seniors and others on fixed incomes by increasing the income amount they can receive and still qualify for tax relief programs. I also helped write and pass a bill that ends jailing of youth runaways and replaces jail with therapeutic treatment. I was able to pass a bill that bans hydraulic fracking when drilling for oil or natural gas. I also focused on rebuilding our state’s salmon populations.
Did you ever see something that should be improved and think; “I hope someone does something about that”? Please contact me because together, now we can!
It is such a joy to serve you! Thank you so much.
Most of us have witnessed the impacts of mental health and substance use challenges, whether in our own families or in our community. I successfully advocated for $42 million in dedicated funding to combat the opioid epidemic.
I also passed three major pieces of behavioral health legislation. One increases both the quantity and quality of recovery housing, another addresses the behavioral health workforce shortage, and the third removes barriers to employment for people in recovery seeking work as peer counselors.
I also passed a bill to codify Affordable Care Act provisions into state law, including requiring coverage for preexisting conditions. Now, no matter what happens at the federal level, families in our state will still have access to the healthcare benefits they’ve come to depend on. Lastly, I passed a bill to provide greater privacy protections to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
This year I continued my focus on affordable housing and homelessness as Chair of the newly renamed Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee. Along with many other important issues, I led an energized committee to come up with solutions to protect manufactured and mobile homeowners and tenants.
I returned to the Consumer Protection & Business Committee to make sure our businesses function well, and this was also my first year serving on the Appropriations Committee— an important committee that determines state spending on important programs and government functions.
I am pleased to be appointed to the Work Group on Natural Disaster and Resiliency Activities. Finally, state government, counties, cities, utilities, tribes and insurers will come together to study and make recommendations on natural disaster mitigation and resiliency activities so we can successfully rebuild after a major disaster.