Legislative Update: Fireworks Ban, Healthcare Cost Transparency, Childcare Costs

Join us for a Telephone Town Hall!

We have a Tele-Town Hall coming up on February 24th at 6pm! You can sign up here to join and ask us questions about issues we’re working on this year!  


Note From Joe: 

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon speaking on the House floor. Fireworks restrictions in unincorporated King County

This session I’ve been working on a bill that’s close to home for a lot of folks in White Center. Last Fourth of July fireworks sparked a fire that killed a member of our community and burned down two houses. Since then, I’ve been working with county officials to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. In Washington State cities and counties can enact a firework ban, but state law requires a one-year delay before it can be implemented.  


My bill, HB 2307, would allow those bans to take effect immediately.


I’ve heard from constituents across the district about why this bill is important for them, from concerns about personal safety to better supporting our veterans dealing with PTSD. I’m happy to report that this bill is moving and has been referred to the House Rules Committee for consideration. Hopefully, HB 2307 will be up for a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks.  


Flushable Wipes? 

Disposable wipes create messy problems for everyday households and major problems downstream. That’s why this year I sponsored legislation  requiring that items labeled as “flushable” are actually flushable. 


Many of these wipes don’t break down in our sewage systems and can cause significant damage for home plumbing and municipal waste infrastructure. Last summer, the Puget Sound area dealt with broken sewer pumps, massive pipe clogs, and toxic sewage spills that required expensive repairs and clean up. This bill helps address these problems by giving consumers accurate information about the products they’re buying.


Lowering the Cost of Child Care

Child care is now more expensive than college, and kids, families and businesses across the state are feeling the impact. I’m a co-sponsor of the Fair Start for Kids Act because I’ve heard from people all across the district about the skyrocketing cost of child care.  


Nearly half of Washington parents have a hard time finding affordable child care, which directly affects their employment & costs Washington businesses over $2 billion a year. Our childcare providers are also struggling with a 43 percent turnover rate because of low wages. This bill is a triple win that would provide more affordable child care, ensure our providers make a living wage, and give some relief to businesses and employees struggling to make things work. It’s time to pass the Fair Start for Kids Act so that our kids, families and economy grow strong. 


Note From Eileen:  


Gun Safety and Gun Violence Prevention

Representative Eileen Cody Speaking in Committee

We have heard an outpouring of support for stronger gun safety legislation. We have multiple bills this session that deal with gun control and would increase gun safety. For example, HB 2467 is a bipartisan bill that would establish a Washington State background check system for firearm sales and transfers. Currently, when you try to purchase a firearm in Washington, the background check is done through a national system. Unfortunately, some people who are prohibited from purchasing a gun are slipping through the cracks. A state system will be faster and more accurate. Last week HB 2467 passed out of the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee it now goes to the Appropriations committee for further consideration.  


Another important gun safety bill this session is HB 2240, dealing with high capacity magazines. Between 2009 and 2017, 58% of mass shootings used these magazines​, and we know that in cases where they’re used, 14 times more people are injured. I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation, which helps limit unnecessary and excessive magazines and move us closer to a future without gun violence. HB 2240 and HB 2467 are excellent examples of bills that improve firearm safety in our state, and I hope I get the chance to vote in favor of them on the House floor.  


Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Passed out of House Committee 

Last session we spoke about the need to establish comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sexual health education for all students in Washington. It is vital that our youth have the knowledge necessary to make healthy and responsible decisions. 


This year, I am co-sponsoring HB 2184, which requires comprehensive sexual health education in public schools starting in the ‘22-’23 school year. The goal of this curriculum is to teach students about safe, healthy, and consensual relationships, giving them the tools to identify and prevent sexual assault. In particular, K-3 students will learn age appropriate curriculum to keep themselves safe. It is important to teach them what kind of touching is inappropriate and what they are supposed to do when they are uncomfortable with the way someone is touching them. This knowledge helps protect our children, establishing foundational building blocks for the rest of their development.

All education must align with health and physical education standards currently upheld by schools. Parents have always been able to opt their children out of sexual health education. HB 2184 does not change that. Additionally, parents can request to view the curriculum. We know that parents play a critical role in student success, and our state will always prioritize parents’ involvement in their children’s education.


Health Care Cost Transparency  

We have spoken about the need to increase transparency so we can better understand health care costs in our state. Currently, Washington collects information about the cost of health care in multiple ways, but there is no centralized source for this information. This session, I introduced a bill to increase accountability and transparency in the health care system, HB 2457, which would establish the Health Care Cost Transparency Board. The Board would be responsible for annually calculating and releasing information on health care costs in Washington, including increases statewide for each health care provider, system, and payer. This “health care cost growth” will show the annual percentage change in total health care expenditures in our state. The Board would also be responsible for setting cost containment benchmarks to address issues with unchecked price increases for consumers. 


HB 2457 would be another tool to help increase transparency and contain costs in our health care system, so it’s more affordable and accessible for all Washingtonians. The bill was passed out of the Health Care and Wellness Committee this week with strong bipartisan support, and I l have high hopes of seeing it on the Governor’s desk at the end of this session! 

Thanks for reading!