Friends, neighbors —
This time of the legislative session is very busy as we have been spending the majority of our day on the floor of the House, voting on bills prior to a critical deadline called “House of Origin cutoff.” After that, policy bills originating in the House will either move forward or no longer be considered this year. This email contains an update on bills I passed so far and an announcement about an upcoming town hall.
Town hall with Rep. Mari Leavitt on March 23
Please join Rep. Leavitt and me for a town hall on Saturday, March 23 from 10:00am – 12:00pm. We will be at the DuPont Civic Center, 1700 Civic Drive, DuPont, WA 98327. We look forward to your questions and hope to see you there!
Update on sponsored bills
Many bills do not make it past a significant milestone known as the “cutoff date,” but they still can return next year or later this year if they are necessary to implement the budget. Below are highlights of some of the bills I prime sponsored that passed out of the House that are now in the Senate for consideration.
- Advanced enrollment for military families (HB 1210): Students in military families move on average six to eight times during the course of a parent’s service to our country. This legislation directs school districts to accept applications for enrollment before a military family moves to their new community, easing their transition and allowing students to continue their education with less interruption.
- Addressing unscrupulous debt collection practices (HB 1066): Debt collectors employ a process called “Pocket Service” to serve consumers with a complaint, but not actually file it with the court. However, if a consumer calls the court to ask whether a case has been filed, they are told it does not exist and take no further action, resulting in a missed hearings and default judgments. That is unfair and my bill requires debt collection complaints be filed on the consumer before a complaint is served, providing transparency and fairness to a complicated legal system.
- Ensuring victims have easy access to temporary protection orders (HB 1350): This legislation clarifies that judges can issue protective orders for victims seeking justice against a harasser, protecting victims while a case must be transferred from one court to another.
- Honoring a person’s wishes by expanding who can provide informed consent (HB 1175): Consent for health care decisions is usually the responsibility of a close family member, but for some, friends and neighbors or aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren are the people rely on the most. For those individuals struggling with diseases like dementia, this bill honors their wishes and provides better quality health care by allowing those family members and friends to make health care decisions on the patient’s behalf.
- Expanding services offered by the Office of Public Guardianship (HB 1329): The Office of Public Guardianship serves a key role and makes a meaningful difference in the lives of vulnerable people in the state. This bill allows the office to provide estate administration and less expensive supported decision-making assistance, when someone cannot make health care, financial, or other important decisions for himself or herself.
- Improving child support services (HB 1916): When parents part ways, child support ensures that a child’s basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter are met. This bill puts the state in compliance with federal law, provides better information, and makes the system more efficient.
- Protecting the traveling public (HB 1966): Aimed at decreasing fatal traffic crashes, this bill updates the rules for motor vehicles passing or yielding the right of way to “vulnerable roadway users,” like a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or someone riding a horse or farm tractor. It also includes a public awareness campaign and clarifies the responsibilities of bicyclists and pedestrians when sharing the roadway.
More bills continue to move through the Senate and the House and I will have more to share with you on those in the upcoming weeks.
I hope to see you at the upcoming town hall on March 23. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns to share. It is the highest honor to serve as your representative in Olympia.