Friends and Neighbors in the 1st Legislative District,
Last Thursday marked the end of this year’s Legislative Session, and the end of my first session serving as your state Representative. I’m very proud of the work I was able to do, and am thankful for the opportunity to serve you all.
I’ve heard from some of you wondering why I don’t send as regular updates as some other members of the legislature, it’s not because I don’t want to! The state legislature has specific and rigorous ethics guidelines for members, and because of the timing of my appointment I have additional restrictions on what I can and can’t do. This is one of the two e-newsletters that I’ll be able to send out this year, for more information on why head here.
First and foremost, I wanted to provide some information on our state’s response to COVID-19. My heart goes out to everyone who has been personally impacted.
The state legislature has allocated $200 million in funding for coronavirus response, which will go towards increased testing and surge capacity, local public health call centers, and more. Additionally, $25 million of that will go towards unemployment insurance.
I’ve got a compilation of available resources here, including where to get updates on the coronavirus, information on paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, what support there is for businesses, help with insurance, what food options are available for students, and more.
What I’ve Been Working On
I also want to pass on some information about the other issues I’ve been working on in the last couple months.
As an architect I know the most sustainable building is an existing building. But what about when those buildings are unsafe or inefficient? There are nearly 4,500 unreinforced masonry buildings in Washington, and in the event of an earthquake they pose a big risk to public safety. Many of these buildings change ownership roughly every 5 years, making it hard to invest in seismic retrofitting to keep them safe. That’s why I sponsored HB 2405, which would create a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resilience (C-PACER) program. C-PACER gives building owners a new way to finance these projects, making them easier and more affordable. It can also be used to make energy efficiency improvements or to remove lead piping, making these buildings more environmentally friendly. The bill received a lot of bipartisan support, and I’m happy to announce that it passed this session!
In my local government work, I’ve spent a lot of time with the Growth Management Act. That’s why this session I sponsored legislation adding climate change to the list of things for cities and counties to consider as they plan their growth. Climate change is real, and we need to start planning for the potential impacts now. This legislation passed the House this year, but the Senate didn’t act on it. I plan to sponsor it again next year, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to pass it.
Another piece of legislation that I’ll be pushing again next year is my “Opportunity to Purchase” bill, HB 2610. Manufactured homes are the only affordable housing option for many people, but when mobile home park owners sell their land, many people can’t afford to move or to stay. My bill would require these landlords to give park residents the chance to buy the land under their homes.
Finally, this year’s budget included funding for the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to track epi-pen usage at schools. Right now OSPI has no data on epi-pens- we have no idea how many are used annually, or how many families don’t report an allergy because they can’t afford to buy a epi-pen to leave at school. This data can help us to better support our students, and I’m looking forward to learning more.
Again, I’m thankful for the trust that you all have given me in this position, and for the work I’ve been able to do. Please be cautious and take care of yourselves during this health emergency, wash your hands and practice social distancing. We’ll get through through this by taking care of each other.
-Rep. Davina Duerr
State Representative, 1st District