2018 Session Wrap-up

2018 Session Wrap-up

We did it!

What a whirlwind of a session! We’ve heard from many old timers that this was the fastest-paced, most intense session they’ve ever experienced…and we believe them! We want to thank each of you for contacting our offices and for coming out to the town hall. We heard you and were better able to represent the 22nd LD because of your voices.

A budget that puts people first

We are proud to say that we passed a supplemental operating budget that puts YOU first – one that provides property tax relief and leaves a healthy emergency fund; one that improves mental health services and fully funds schools; and one that strengthens the safety net for struggling families and increases economic development and job opportunities across the state but especially in rural communities.

Other session highlights:

Capital/Transportation Budgets

We passed a $414 million supplemental capital budget and an $826 million supplemental transportation budget. These budgets prioritize our public schools, mental health, and affordable housing. Here is a sample of projects funded in our community:

  • $4 million for Capitol Lake Long-Term Management Planning, including the Draft Environmental Impact Study
  • $3.4 million to clean the capitol dome
  • $200,000 for the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church affordable housing project
  • $6 million to upgrade state buildings
  • $56 million for the Olympic Region Maintenance and Administration Facility
  • $750,000 for the Intercity Transit Dash shuttle program
  • $73 million for I-5 corridor improvements (Marvin Road/SR 510)
  • $550,000 for I-5 Mounts Road to Tumwater corridor study

$226 million in Capital Budget projects and $691 million in Transportation Budget projectswill benefit our community in the coming years (for more info, follow the above links and select 22nd Legislative District in the drop-down box).

Deadly Force Law – Initiative 940 and HB 3003 will improve public safety and the interactions between communities and law enforcement by increasing training and accountability, requiring law enforcement to render first aid at the earliest opportunity, instituting processes for independent investigations for deadly force incidents, and including standards for family and community notification. This effort started in Thurston County and we are proud of the dedicated activists here and across the state for moving this issue forward.

Equal Pay – women still only make  $.79 to a man’s $1.00 of pay. This bill updates our Equal Pay Act, allows people to discuss salary information, and requires equal access to new job opportunities.

Common-sense Gun Legislation – new laws protect survivors of domestic violenceban bump stocks and close the machine gun loophole, strengthen concealed pistol licenseeligibility requirements, and create the voluntary waiver system to help protect people in crisis.

Reproductive Parity Act – women will now have the option of choosing healthcare that best suits them and their families.

Net Neutrality – Washingtonians will be protected from internet providers who would slow down speeds or block content, and favor certain content over others due to “paid prioritization.”

Housing – laws will help house our most vulnerable neighbors by banning discrimination against potential renters because they are receiving rental or income assistance.

Conversion Therapy Ban – minors are now protected from the harmful therapy that attempts to change an individuals’ sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, often through verbal or physical torture.

Beth’s Corner

Women’s Commission HB 2759 – For years, many legislators have been working to establish a Women’s Commission that would coordinate women related policy initiatives and work to increase representation of women in government. I’m proud to report that, after two decades of work, we finally passed a bill to establish the Washington State Women’s Commission. A huge thank you is in order to all the women who worked so hard to make this happen, both this year and in years past – you know who you are.

For more information about the responsibilities of the women’s commission, click here.

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Survivor Protection HB 2661 – Did you know that survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking lacked full protection from employment discrimination? I was stunned when I learned this. That’s why I decided to sponsor a bill to fix this issue. It makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee just because the individual is currently experiencing or has experienced such abuse. It also requires that reasonable safety accommodations be made by the employer at the request of a victim. More details can be found here.

Buy Clean Washington HB 2412  I was excited to introduce HB 2412, the Buy Clean Washington Act, which would have created a system to preference the use of structural materials like steel, concrete and wood in our public buildings that use less carbon in production. After conversations with stakeholders, we landed on a study to help us craft a policy that encourages the use of locally made products. Department of Enterprise and University of Washington College of Built Environment, in collaboration with Central and WSU, will team up to perform a pilot on five state funded projects to analyze existing embodied carbon policies and propose methods to categorize structural materials and report structural material quantities and origins. This was a great synergistic effort with environmental, labor, manufacturers and architects. Buy Clean will be one of my number one priorities in the coming years.

Intercity Transit SB 5288 – I had the House companion to this bill and worked hard to get it across the finish line this year. The new law authorizes Intercity Transit to put a slight increase in the sales tax to the voters in their service territory. As a regular public transit user, I am confident that Intercity Transit will be successful in this initiative and have new resources to expand their service options.

Labor Bills HB 2669 and HB 1716 – Working with labor, HB 2669 and HB 1716 also made it across the finish line. HB 2669 allows for part time employees to unionize and HB 1716 provides training for those companies wishing to bid on public contracts, educating them on prevailing wage laws.

Climate Action HB 2995 – Finally, I worked to get a major climate bill across the finish line this year, focusing on HB 2995. Washington State can be a leader in a worldwide movement to get us to 100% fossil free by 2050. We were unsuccessful this year, but did move the bill and the concept forward in both the House and the Senate. We’ll be back!

Laurie’s Corner

Same-day Voter Registration Signed by the Governor SB 6021 – Same-day voter registration is one of the most important bills we have passed this year to encourage higher voter participation in Washington state. Eleven other states have already passed same-day voter registration, and their average voter turnout has grown over 10 percentage points as a result of simplifying the voter registration process by removing multiple deadlines.

I was proud to sponsor the House companion bill (HB 2297), particularly because this policy encourages young voter participation. Voting is both habit forming and contagious. Early participation in the voting process increases the likelihood that someone will become a lifelong voter!

Civics Bill: Expanding Civics Education in Public School HB 1896 – My Civics bill was signed by the governor today! As a result of this new law, by the 2020-21 school year, each school district with a high school must provide a mandatory .5-credit stand-alone civics course. The bill also allows school districts to embed civics content and instruction in dual credit courses such as AP and IB. An expanded civics education teacher-training program will be developed within the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The League of Women Voters in Olympia and OSPI were essential in making this new commitment to Civics education a reality!

International Baccalaureate Exams (Equity with AP) HB 2252/SB 5917 – Last summer, Ken Joling from Capital High School asked me to sponsor a bill to bring International Baccalaureate (IB) exams into equity with a bill that had been passed last session in regard to AP exams, detailing how student test scores can be turned into college credit. Although my bill was not the final vehicle, the policy in my bill will become the law. This bill, like so many others, evolved because of the passion in the community to make it happen: IB students and teachers at Capital HS, school districts around the state, IB students who came to testify, the PTA, and Superintendent Chris Reykdal and his staff were tireless advocates. IB has now reached full equity with AP!

PERS 1 and TRS 1 COLAs and PEBB Subsidies HB 2452 – For two years, I have worked hard to once again fund pensions and PEBB subsidies for our TRS 1 and PERS 1 retirees who have not received a COLA since 2011. The big win of the 2018 session is that these critical COLAs and PEBB prescription drug subsidies are once again in the state budget. The amount of the COLA is not what we had hoped to achieve, but rest assured I will drop a new bill for 2019 to keep bringing the COLAs up to par.

We are so appreciative of each email, postcard, letter, and phone call we received this year. Please continue to share your feedback  let us know what is important to you…let your voice be heard!