First, thank you to everyone who wrote, called, emailed, and stopped by my office to see me during this year’s 105-day legislative session. Hearing from you is so very important and helps to guide me in the bills I champion and the votes I take.
We had a fast-paced productive session. I was part of a great team of legislators who passed an operating budget and revenue package that makes critical investments in behavioral health, affordable housing, education, and the environment. We passed a bi-partisan transportation budget that invests in local jobs and infrastructure. We passed a capital budget that funds many local community projects that will help combat homelessness, provide affordable childcare for working families, provide supportive services to veterans, improves parks and many other important projects here in our community.
This communication details the bills I sponsored, companioned or actively engaged in. Stay tuned for additional information about our broader work in the 2019 legislative session.
Winning the Fight against Climate Change
I’m proudest of our accomplishments on the climate and clean energy front. I’m happy to report that Washington has committed to 100% clean energy by 2045! With the passage of SB 5116, not only do we have clean energy in sight, but also a requirement that utilities eliminate any use of coal by 2025, and ensure that low income communities have access to clean energy prosperity and incentivizes family wage clean energy jobs.
Some other wins on the climate front include the passage of a first-in-the-nation energy performance standard to upgrade efficiencies in existing commercial buildings, HB 1257 – a bill I championed with Governor Inslee; HB 1112, which bans hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), a super-pollutant greenhouse gas used in refrigerants that account for 4% of Washington’s warming emissions; and SB 5135, that will protect our orcas by prohibiting toxic pollutants that affect public health and the environment.
I’m a proud member of the LGBTQ caucus. This year, we passed SB 5356, which establishes the LGBTQ Commission and designated the 4th week of June as a time to celebrate the contributions LGBTQ people have made to the state.
We also passed the Reproductive Health Access for All act, SB 5602. This bill prohibits discrimination in the provision of certain reproductive health care services on the basis of gender identity or expression.
Wins for our First Responders
Two years of hard work came to fruition with the passage of HB 1913, concerning the presumption of occupational disease for our firefighters. This bill extends protections to emergency medical technicians and public employee fire investigators. It creates an occupational disease presumption for heart problems and infectious diseases for law enforcement officers. It also adds five different cancers to the list of presumptive diseases, including breast and cervical cancer in women. I was proud to work with a diverse group of stakeholders on this important bill.
Another bill that directly supports first responders is SB 5272. I championed the House companion bill and helped Senator Hunt push SB 5272 through in the Senate. This bill gives local jurisdictions the ability to keep up with rising operation and maintenance costs on their 911 communication services.
Protections for Nursing Moms
I heard from constituents last year who had concerns that women who needed to express breast milk weren’t being given reasonable accommodations. We fixed it! With the passage of HB 1930, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to express breast milk in somewhere other than a bathroom. If a reasonable location doesn’t exist, the employer must identify a convenient location and work schedule to accommodate their needs.
Protecting Survivors of Abuse
Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall brought to my attention the problem that survivors of abuse who’ve been threatened or harassed because of their work weren’t being protected through the Address Confidentiality Program when they purchased property. Together, we worked to pass HB 1643, a bill that requires the Secretary of State to work with the Office of Civil Legal Aid to provide information and other resources to participants in the ACP who wish to own property without disclosing their address.
Reducing Food Waste and Hunger
Last year, I convened a group of stakeholders from across the state to figure out how to combat food waste, fight hunger, and reduce environmental impacts. HB 1114 was a hugely popular bill with bi-partisan support – it passed unanimously each step of the way! With its passage, we’ve established a goal of reducing food waste in the state by 50% by 2030 and initiated action planning to get there. One in five children are food insecure and food waste is the third largest global greenhouse gas emitter after China and the USA.
Library Archives Building
Our state’s most important historical documents—including photos, maps, books, our original 1889 state constitution, and so many more—are at risk of damage or destruction because they are housed in a leaky, flood-prone, half-century old building that once doubled as a bomb shelter. This year, I led a successful effort to secure funding for a new state library-archives building.
Read more about the need for a new library-archives building here:
Supporting Washingtonians with Traumatic Brain Injury
Under current law, traffic infractions generally include both a base penalty and additional fees and assessments deposited in various accounts. One such additional fee is a $2.00 traumatic brain injury (TBI) fee. That fee supports TBI research and a wide range of patient services. I sponsored the House version of this successful legislation to increase the fee in order to better serve Washingtonians who experience a traumatic brain injury.