Legislative Update, Legislative Youth Advocacy Council and Renters’ Rights are Human Rights

Dear friends and neighbors,

We are halfway through the 2021 Legislative Session and we’d love to hear from you! My colleagues and I have spent every day of the last two weeks debating and passing legislation out of the House. Here are a few helpful links if you’d like to tune in or stay involved:

  • Watch us discuss and vote on bills live by looking for “House Floor Debate” on the TVW schedule.
  • Track the status of your favorite bills here.
  • Submit bill comments here.
  • Sign up to testify on bills remotely here.
  • To check out important dates for the remainder of the session, click here.

Legislative Update

I’m excited to announce that last Thursday night, my first bill passed out of the House. HB 1274 gives state agencies the opportunity to store data and make telecommunications investments using a third-party commercial cloud provider. This technology is more secure, scalable, and will allow state agencies to operate more efficiently.

I introduced this bill after watching too many of our community members struggle to access needed resources, like unemployment insurance, through state agencies due to high demand. I am excited about the potential this bill has to dramatically improve the quality of remote services for state agencies that choose the commercial cloud.

Check out my floor speech here and press release here.

In a unanimous 95-0 vote, my colleagues and I passed my second bill, HB 1510, out of the House, allowing Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) drivers the opportunity to use the HOV lane to pick up patients.

A large population of lower-income patients with life-threatening conditions use NEMT vehicles to get to and from their appointments. These patients should not have to stress about making their appointments on time due to heavy traffic. A small but important bill, HB 1510, will improve the quality of life for patients using NEMT drivers for medical appointments.

After almost three hours of floor debate, we also passed Rep. Tarra Simmons’ sponsored legislation, HB 1078, restoring formerly incarcerated citizens’ voting rights.

I was thrilled to see this legislation pass. Voting is the most essential right of a U.S. citizen. If someone can work, pay taxes, and contribute to their community, they should be able to vote.

Check out my floor speech on HB 1078 here.

Apply now: Legislative Youth Advocacy Council

Do you know a high school student who will be a freshman, sophomore, or junior next school year and who is passionate about politics and inspiring change in their community? Encourage them to apply for the Legislative Youth Advocacy council by March 31st.

The Legislative Youth Advocacy Council is a nonpartisan, student-led youth advisory body under the Washington State Legislature. A select group of Washington students from a diverse range of backgrounds makes up this extraordinary group of young leaders. Together they promote youth participation in state government, foster long-lasting relationships between policymakers and young people, and achieve tangible legislative progress on behalf of Washington students.

Check out their website here and apply here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Locations

Are you eligible to be vaccinated? Head over to the Washington State Department of Health website to find the closest vaccine location  near you. Currently, Washington residents that qualify under Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1 are eligible to receive the vaccine. To assess your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Phase Finder web form. If you are eligible, please print or copy the confirmation page and share it with your vaccine provider.

Constituent Corner: Renters’ Rights are Human Rights

I have received an overwhelming amount of emails and letters from you supporting HB 1236, which protects tenants against discrimination and retaliation from landlords.

Even before the pandemic, BIPOC, low-income, and elderly tenants were the most vulnerable to Washington’s inequitable renter laws. They also make up many of the month-to-month renters in Washington. Currently, landlords can evict their month-to-month tenants with a 20-day notice for no reason. It causes immense stress to renters as they scramble to find a new home with little or no funds to help them move. This rule has a detrimental effect on tenants’ health and can lead to individuals losing their homes.

I support HB 1236 because renters’ rights are human rights.

HB 1236 protects month-to-month tenants from no-cause evictions by requiring landlords to cite a reason for eviction. Landlords can still terminate the month-to-month agreement if the tenant violates the lease agreement or participates in unlawful or gang-related activities, however they must give reasonable notice. As a renter myself, I understand intimately the security that this bill will bring to renters across Washington.

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Our lived experience is our greatest influence as legislators, not our professional careers. We develop our values by facing life’s challenges and absorbing life lessons that you can only learn from personal experience. These values inform our legislative priorities. Thanks to your support, we are demonstrating the value of having diverse voices at the decision-making table.

Sign up today for the monthly Black Members Caucus Newsletter to stay up-to-date on what my colleagues and I are doing to pass legislation that prioritizes racial equity and justice for Black communities across Washington.

To stay up-to-date on the issues that I am working on, visit my legislative website or follow my official Facebook page!

In service,