Interested in a quick summary of the big issues we’re working on this session? Click the video below to learn more.
First bills of the session
In true bipartisan spirit, the House sent two bills over to the Senate this week.
Mental health: Joel’s Law passed 98-0 as the first bill approved by the House. It’s a step in the right direction in fixing our state’s badly broken mental health system. The bill is named after Joel Reuter, a young man who was tragically killed by police while suffering from a mental health crisis.
Joel’s Law would allow families to get a second opinion to determine if their loved one needs to be involuntarily committed. Joel’s parents tried desperately to get their son the help he needed, but unnecessary barriers in the legal system prevented them from doing so.
Helping people in emergencies: We also passed a small budget bill that will pay for emergencies such as the extraordinary costs from the wildfire season last summer and the Oso landslide. It also provides immediate funding to critical state services in mental health and foster care and saves taxpayers $20,000 a day in interest costs from a court case.
This is a great example of Democrats and Republicans working together to solve problems and address our responsibilities across the state.
Expanding Sound Transit
A strong regional transit system helps fight congestion and strengthens our economy. That’s why I’m excited to tell you that my bill to expand reliable, predictable public transit in Pierce County was approved by the House Transportation Committee earlier this week.
The legislation would provide Sound Transit with the authority ask Puget Sound residents for a new investment in our high-capacity public transportation infrastructure. There would be a number of important projects and services across the region, but most important to me extending congestion-free light rail from Seattle to Tacoma.
With more than a million new residents expected in the Puget Sound over the next 25 years, it is crucial for us to plan for how to accommodate that growth. We need to act this year to reduce gridlock and provide everyone with better transportation choices.
Helping Homeless Students
Another bill that I’m proud to be working on is House Bill 1682, which seeks to improve the educational outcomes for homeless students using the successful models of McCarver Elementary.
It does so by changing the definition of basic education to include more counselors and other forms of support these kids, while also providing grants to community organizations with programs that serve students without a permanent home.
We can’t expect kids to do homework when they don’t have a home. We have to do better for the children of our state.