Dear friends and neighbors,
Thanks for coming out and joining Sen. Javier Valdez, Rep. Gerry Pollet, and me last Wednesday at Nathan Hale High School for the 46th district town hall this interim. I was excited to see SO MANY people come share their thoughts and questions with us! Civic engagement is a priority of mine, so I was delighted by your engagement!
As the daughter of Iranians who came to the United States seeking peace and freedom, my first legislative session focused on pursing equitable polices that empower all individuals and families to prosper and pursue their dreams. As I review some of the work accomplished in my first legislative session, I hope the takeaway will be that we put forth big, bold solutions to our state’s toughest issues and built a Washington that works for everyone.
House Bill 1345: Maintaining family bonds during incarceration reduces recidivism and promotes rehabilitation and successful reintegration into our communities. Yet, those who are involved with the justice system have faced inequitable barriers in accessing family visitation privileges. This year, I passed a bill to remove extended family visitation from the list of privileges that the Department of Corrections requires incarcerated individuals to contribute to.
Senate Bill 5440: There are over 850 people in jail waiting for over 300 days for a timely competency evaluation and restoration. Working with the sponsor, Sen. Dhingra, we’ve put forward policy that increases access to diversion services, shortens wait times, and prioritizes treatment for people with behavioral health disorders waiting to stand trial.
Healthcare & Medicare Affordability: People should not have to make the difficult decision between paying rent and visiting the doctor. This year, we’ve invested over $1 billion in funding for health equity, increased rates for health care workers, and increased provider rates and reimbursement. The state budget also includes $6 million to address the Medicare affordability cliff. Next year, I am excited to continue advocating for one of my bills, House Bill 1313, to provide more opportunities to make Medicare more affordable.
Nowruz – Persian New Year: As the first Middle Eastern woman and first Iranian American woman elected to the Washington Legislature, it was an honor to introduce and pass House Resolution 4629 honoring the Persian New Year or “Nowruz”. This is a huge step in recognizing the cultural contributions that Iranian Americans have provided our state and is critical in responding to recent rises in hate crimes against minorities.
We still have a lot of work left to make sure our state policies include feedback from those with lived experience (HB 1541), provide child sexual abuse survivors with the option to seek justice against abusers as adults (HB 1618) and improve behavioral health delivery through the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program. I look forward working on these issues in the future.
Capital Budget Wins
As a member of the Capital Budget Committee, it’s been an honor to direct resources in Capital Project funding to our district. Here are some of the items your 46th LD delegation advocated for in the budget:
- $13 million for University of WA Medical Center to provide a behavioral health renovation that adds psychiatric beds and increased capacity for on demand treatment.
- $1.5 million to help ROOTS Young Adult Shelter increase shelter capacity for unhoused and at-risk youth and services such as family reconciliation.
- $1 million is allocated to construct and modernize early childhood education and assistance facilities at the Northgate Jose Marti Early Learning Center which is operated by El Centro de la Raza.
- $778,000 for the Refugee Artisan Initiative Maker Space and Cultural Center in Lake City to provide social service and a multipurpose community center construction project that will serve distressed communities.
- $258,000 for Sail Sand Point to maintain and upgrade the community boat center and increase access to sailing and paddling to everyone regardless of age, income, or ability.
Operating Budget Wins
This year, I strongly advocated for increased funding healthcare – with an emphasis on our dire behavioral health needs. We’ve secured a historic investment of $1.1 billion to reduce homelessness and support community behavioral health services, health provider rate increases, substance use disorder prevention and treatment and crisis diversion including:
- $8 million to reboot diversionary programs for substance use disorder.
- $3.6 million for three behavioral health response teams serving King County.
- $1.4 million to support poison centers.
Transportation Budget Wins
The $13.4 billion transportation budget for the 2023-2025 biennium in Washington State includes funding for many important projects across the state. This includes $1.3 billion allocated for our state’s ferry system to support the acquisition of five new hybrid-electric ferries. To address climate change and promote sustainable transportation, the transportation budget benefits from revenue generated by the Climate Commitment Act. Close to one billion dollars have been assigned to transit, electrification, bike, and pedestrian projects, as well as incentive programs aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. This comprehensive transportation budget showcases a proactive approach to addressing critical infrastructure needs, promoting sustainable transportation, and ensuring informed decision-making for the future.
Stay In Touch
Our district is fortunate to have engaged citizens who actively participate in the public process. For a more in depth review of the work we’ve accomplished this session, you can view my end-of-session mailer here and all the legislation I’ve supported in 2023. Please continue to stay in touch. Thank you for all you do!
Rep. Darya Farivar