Friends, neighbors —
There is less than a week left in the 2019 Legislative Session and both the House and Senate are busy voting on legislation. We have spent most of the last two weeks on the floor of the House, voting on legislation the Senate approved. Similarly, the Senate has been voting on House-approved bills, including some of mine. Below is an update on the bills I sponsored that passed both chambers of the Legislature.
In addition, I am hosting a “Coffee & Conversations” meeting with Rep. Mari Leavitt at Anthem Coffee in University Place on May 4 from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. We are scheduling additional “Coffee & Conversations” meetings in other towns and neighborhoods throughout the summer.
Many of you have reached out about HB 1155, which requires rest and meal breaks for nurses. I understand your concerns about recent amendments to the bill, and I fully support nurses and health care workers.
Sponsored legislation passed by the Legislature
Many bills do not make it past a significant milestone known as the “cutoff date,” but 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 and the Senate.
- Advanced enrollment for military families (HB 1210): I am happy to share just a few days ago the Governor signed this bill into law. HB 1210 allows military families to enroll their students in school before moving to a new area, minimizing interruption to a child’s education and providing peace of mind to those who serve our country. Watch a short video about this bill by clicking here.
- 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 can harm credit, housing, and employment opportunities. That is unfair and my bill requires debt collection complaints be served on the consumer before a complaint is filed, providing transparency and fairness to a complicated legal system. I recorded a video explaining this bill that you can watch by clicking here.
- 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 they 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 these additional 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 authorizes 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 themselves.
- 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): SB 5723 is an identical companion to HB 1966 and it now moves on to the Governor for approval. It seeks to decrease fatal traffic crashes by updating the rules for motor vehicles passing or yielding the right-of-way to “vulnerable roadway users.” It also clarifies the responsibilities of bicyclists and pedestrians sharing our roadways.
“Coffee & Conversations” begins May 4
Join Rep. Mari Leavitt and me for the first of several “Coffee & Conversations” on Saturday, May 4. We plan on holding these small group discussions in towns throughout the district and the first is in University Place. I hope you will mark your calendars and join us. We will be announcing future dates in the coming weeks.
When: Saturday, May 4 at 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Where: Anthem Coffee & Tea – University Place, 3609 Market Place W. #101, University Place, WA 98466
Supporting our health care workers
I support and appreciate the valuable service health care professionals provide to our state, which is why I voted for HB 1155 when it left the House. This bill provides meal and rest breaks for nurses, critical to ensuring patient safety. Unfortunately, the Senate amended the bill to strictly limit the number of hours nurses can work in a shift and exempts certain facilities from being required to provide those breaks.
The next step is to work with Senate leaders to return the bill back to the original intent of ensuring health care workers have basic breaks and overtime protections. That is what our health care workers and our patients deserve.
Since we are nearing the end of the regular session, I look forward to providing you an update on the status of the state Operating Budget, Transportation Budget, and Capital Budget soon. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me about any ideas, questions, or concerns you have. It is the highest honor to serve as your representative in Olympia.