Legislative Update – 2/20/2014

Tuesday marked the House of Origin cut-off, which means that bills originating in the Senate must be passed to the House and vice versa. Otherwise they are dead for this year – unless, of course, the bill is related to the budget.

Town hall meeting this Saturday!

Come and join Senator Jeannie Darneille, Representative Laurie Jinkins, and me as we host a mid-session town hall to discuss issues important to the 27th Legislative District.

  •  Get an update on the legislative session
  • Ask legislators questions you may have
  • share your thoughts on how to help our community

Location: Jason Lee Middle School Cafeteria, 602 N Sprague, Tacoma, WA 98405

Date: Saturday, February 22

Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (sign-in begins at 9:30 AM)

Washington groups flock to the capital

One of the most important and interesting parts of the legislative process is community engagement.  We want to know what is important to you! Throughout the session many groups make the trek to Olympia to visit us and talk about their priorities. It’s great to see so many engaged Washingtonians at the Capital!   This is just a small sample of all the groups that have come to visit in the first half of session:

  • Teachers and school support staff
  • Small business owners
  • Nurses
  • Auto Dealers
  • Massage therapists
  • Elementary school classes
  • Midwives
  • Preschoolers
  • AARP
  • Latino Americans
  • Nutritionists
  • Restaurant owners
  • Home care workers
  • Dentists

We look forward to seeing many more of you here in the next few weeks. Our doors and our ears are open; come see us!

But you don’t have to be part of a group to make a change!

Think you need a fancy suit or law degree to make a difference in Olympia? Nope and nope. Citizen-activists make a difference here every day.

Take Jeff Schwartz — just a regular guy with a full-time job, two kids, and a big time problem on his hands. Jeff’s youngest son, Jacob, had a rare gastrointestinal disorder that caused his body to reject food.

In order for Jacob to get nutrition, he required a certain type of formula that didn’t come cheap. One day, Jeff’s insurance company stopped providing coverage for the life-saving formula. Jeff and his family suddenly had to pay hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket every month to cover the costs.

That’s when Jeff got in-touch with a few of my colleagues in Olympia, wanting to ensure that no family has to suffer the same hardships as his own. Jeff worked with lawmakers to draft a bill requiring that insurance companies cover the formula that children like Jacob need to survive. If the bill passes, no Washington family will go through what the Schwartz family went through.

The long story short: Never underestimate a dad with a plan.

Even after Jacob was cured of his disease, Jeff didn’t give up his fight. His resilience and commitment to doing the right thing reminds us all what is great about the legislative process – anyone, rich or poor, young or old, can make a difference.

Senate version of the DREAM Act passes

Earlier this week the legislature took action on one of the most important bills we have considered this year. With strong bipartisan support, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the DREAM Act.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you stand on, we can all agree that every hard-working student should have the opportunity to better themselves and their community. The DREAM Act makes that promise a reality for thousands of immigrant students who arrived in our state as children, but now call Washington home.

The DREAM Act was a top priority for me this session, and I am excited to see this important piece of legislation headed to the Governor’s desk. With Jay Inslee ready to sign the bill, Washington will soon take an important step towards ensuring that every student in our state has a fair shot at the American Dream.