Legislative Update: Insulin Prices, Affordable Housing, Block the Box, School Meals

Telephone Town Hall Notice 

We will be hosting a telephone town hall this coming Monday, February 24th at 6pm! You can sign up here to join us and ask questions about issues we’re working on this year!

Note from Eileen:  

Rep. Cody on the House Floor

Insulin Bill Passes the House 

Washington State, like the rest of the country,  is facing a crisis in prescription drug affordability. The cost of insulin has skyrocketed in the last decade, and too many of us are personally experiencing this issue. Currently, our state has implemented legislation to evaluate contributing factors to health care costs for patients. We know we need to do more to lower prescription drug costs. 

This week, the House passed bipartisan legislation to reduce the cost of insulin. For two years, House Bill 2662 will cap the total out-of-pocket cost of 30-day insulin supplies to $100. It will also establish the Total Cost of Insulin Work Group, which will review and develop strategies for reducing insulin costs. With this legislation, we are building a foundation for more affordable care for our state. The bill is now headed to the Senate for consideration. I look forward to seeing it on the Governor’s desk!  

Affordable Housing  

The need for affordable housing is growing throughout our state, and we have a lot of work to do to help our local governments. Many of our neighbors are one financial crisis away from homelessness. In Olympia, we are fighting to combat some of the barriers to building and finding a stable place to live. 

This session, we passed several affordable housing measures, including House Bills 2634 and 1694. HB 2634 will provide tax exemptions on properties sold to organizations for low-income housing. HB 1694 will allow renters to pay deposits, nonrefundable fees, and last month’s rent in installments. Both bills ensure that affordable housing is more accessible and more abundant, and they give our communities the tools to build or keep the units they need. All people in our state should be able to find safe, stable housing, and these bills are vital in securing that. 

Data Privacy 

I have heard from many of you about the importance of preserving our privacy. In Olympia, we are working to regulate the use of your data and maintain your right to privacy. 

This week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 6281 — the Washington Privacy Act — with bipartisan support. The bill is modeled after similar legislation in California, and it establishes personal data rights for consumers and outlines responsibilities of entities who use that data. This is an important consumer protection that I hope to see on the House floor.  It now goes to the House Innovation, Technology, & Economic Development Committee.  

I am happy to announce that House Bill 1888, which protects the information of public employees, also passed out of the House with bipartisan support. This legislation will protect our employees by giving them a reasonable expectation of privacy for their personal, identifying information. It now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

I’m looking forward to seeing these important consumer and employee protections pass into law this year!

Note from Joe:  

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon Speaking in CommitteeDon’t Block the Box

Transit lanes are for transit vehicles. The delays that line violators cause are frustrating both for bus commuters and for people obeying the law while others cheat the system. The current options for enforcing transit only lanes aren’t enough, which is why I’m sponsoring HB 1793 

This bill would also make cities safer for pedestrians, and particularly for people with disabilities. Blocked crosswalks can make navigating a city impossible, this helps make sure that our crosswalks are accessible for everyone.  

The bill passed out of the House in late January and has a hearing next Monday, February 24th in the Senate Transportation Committee.  

Feeding our Students 

When kids are hungry, they can’t learn. In recent years Washington has made a lot of headway in getting our kids the food they need, this session I’m supporting HB 2660 to continue that work. This bill makes sure that our schools are taking advantage of federal dollars, and would make it so schools with a high percentage of eligible students provide all meals for free.  

We’re currently 45th in the nation in school breakfast participation, and there are 285,000 food insecure students in Washington state. This bill would reduce administrative burdens, make things easier for parents, and prioritize our students’ needs. It passed out of the House last week with near unanimous support, and is scheduled for a hearing next week in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.  


Thanks for reading!