Final Fantastic Friday: Thank You for Following Along!

Happy Fantastic Friday!

Dear friends and neighbors, 

As the curtains close on the 2024 legislative session, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you who took the time to reach out or visit during these intense 60 days. Your engagement and support mean the world to me, and I am deeply grateful for your active involvement in our community. 

With this update, I bid adieu to our Fantastic Friday newsletters until January 2025. Your consistent readership and enthusiasm for staying informed about our work have been truly inspiring. Thank you for your dedication and commitment.

Please watch this video – it’s a thank you, from me to you! 


During this interim period, I encourage you to continue sharing your questions, concerns, and feedback with me at I value your input immensely and am eager to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a time to connect—I always welcome the opportunity to engage with members of our community. 


Celebrating Women!

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of women to the Washington State Legislature and beyond. From pioneering lawmakers who shattered glass ceilings to dedicated staffers who keep our legislative machinery running smoothly, women have played a pivotal role in shaping the fabric of our democracy.

Women legislators bring unique perspectives and lived experiences to the table, enriching our legislative discourse and ensuring that policies reflect the diverse needs of our communities. Their resilience, compassion, and unwavering commitment to progress inspire us all.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, let us honor the trailblazers who have paved the way and recognize the tireless efforts of women lawmakers, staffers, advocates, and constituents who continue to fight for a brighter, more inclusive future. Together, we stand united in our pursuit of gender equality and justice for all.

hdc women

Healing One Washington: Investments in Our Community

As we bring this legislative session to a close, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the dedication and hard work of everyone involved in addressing the opioid and fentanyl crisis in our communities.

Our efforts have yielded significant progress, and I am proud to share some of our recent accomplishments with you. Here are some specific wins that I want to highlight:

  • Naloxone for every high school, colleges and their residence halls, public libraries, first responders, and a DOH Overdose Education and Naloxone distribution program.
  • Investment in shared housing for people in recovery (Oxford Houses).
  • Medication for Opioid Use Disorder programs for 19 city, county, and tribal jails.
  • SB 6109 (C. Wilson) adding child abuse or neglect resulting from high-potency synthetic opioid to the list of what may be determined imminent physical harm.

In addition to these efforts, I’m pleased to share that our community has secured funding for two critical capital projects:

  • Hannah Heights PFAS contaminated well and water: $2.2 million
  • Pea Patch community Campus: $360,000

Furthermore, our district has received funding for essential services, including:

  • Lummi Nation treatment center ($12.857m)
  • What-Comm Dispatch Center: $1 million
  • Whatcom 23-Hour Crisis Relief Center: $2.35 million in new funding

These investments represent our commitment to providing essential resources and support to those affected by substance use disorders in our state.

Here is some additional funding we’ve secured statewide:

  • Camas Health Inpatient Treatment Center ($1.2m)
  • Chehalis Wellness Center ($3m)
  • Columbia Valley Recovery Center ($1.5m)
  • Colville Detox feasibility study ($475k)
  • DESC Opioid Recovery and Care Access ($3.5m)
  • Holman Recovery Center ($1.9m)
  • Ituha expansion ($93k)
  • Muckleshoot We Care Daily expansion ($4.45m)
  • Quinault Wellness Center ($800k)
  • Seven Nations Healing Lodge expansion ($10m)
  • Snoqualmie Tribe Behavioral Health ($500k)
  • Triumph SUD ($2.5m)

These investments represent our commitment to providing essential resources and support to those affected by substance use disorders in our state.

Our operating budget also focuses on addressing the opioid crisis and substance use disorders (SUD) through various initiatives and funding allocations. Here’s a summarized breakdown:

Access to Treatment & Public Health Supplies:

  • Total Budget: $30,236,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiatives: Outreach/Intensive Case Management, Opioid Treatment Facility, Public Health Dispensing Machines, Naloxone Distribution, Ibogaine Assisted Therapy, etc.

Child Welfare:

  • Total Budget: $8,489,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiatives: Prenatal Substance Exposure Services, High-Potency Synthetic Opioids prevention, Rising Strong program support, etc.

Law Enforcement & Incarcerated Individuals:

  • Total Budget: $683,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiatives: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, MOUD Programs for Incarcerated Individuals, Opioid Treatment Expansion, etc.

Data Dashboards and Systems:

  • Total Budget: $4,000,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiative: Development of opioid data dashboards and systems for centralized data collection and analysis.

Workforce Training & Certification:

  • Total Budget: $9,595,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiatives: Addiction Medicine Training & Technical Assistance, SUD Certification, etc.

Pilot Programs & Prevention:

  • Total Budget: $12,423,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiatives: Street Medicine Pilot, Community & School Prevention, School-Based Prevention & Intervention, etc.

Tribal Support & Outreach:

  • Total Budget: $5,400,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiatives: Tribal Opioid Fentanyl Campaign, Tribal Fentanyl Summit, Native Youth Sports Programs, etc.

Higher Education Prevention:

  • Total Budget: $4,371,000 over 4 years
  • Key Initiatives: Opioid Prevention Education & Awareness in universities and colleges.

This budget emphasizes a multi-faceted approach including treatment access, prevention efforts, support for vulnerable populations, law enforcement diversion, data management, workforce training, and collaboration with tribal communities and educational institutions.

Legislative Wins for Our Community

Here are some of the legislative victories from our session, highlighting significant progress in gun safety, housing, labor rights, environmental protection, and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. These achievements underscore our ongoing commitment to creating a fairer, safer, and more inclusive Washington for all. 

Enacting Responsible Gun Laws for Safer Communities

Gun violence remains a pressing issue affecting communities across our state, and I’m proud to have championed legislation aimed at curbing this epidemic. Our efforts have resulted in the passage of several responsible gun laws, including:

  • Responsible Gun Legislation (HB 2021): This bill ensures the safe disposal of firearms seized by law enforcement, preventing their potential use in criminal activities or suicides.
  • Lost or Stolen Reporting (HB 1903): Mandating the reporting of lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours, this law aims to prevent the illegal circulation of firearms and aid law enforcement in investigations.
  • Firearm Dealer Code of Conduct (HB 2118): Establishing standards for licensed gun dealers, including inventory security and liability insurance requirements, to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.

These measures are a testament to the tireless advocacy of passionate individuals, including many young people deeply affected by gun violence. By prioritizing community safety and responsible gun ownership, we’re taking significant steps towards building safer communities for generations to come.

Policy for a Greener Washington

Protecting our environment is a top priority, and I’m thrilled to share the passage of several key environmental policies aimed at advancing sustainability and combating climate change:

  • House Bill 2301: Strengthening food waste management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase food security for vulnerable communities.
  • House Bill 2207: Providing new approaches to reel in unlawful solid waste dumping to preserve our natural resources and enhance waste management efforts.
  • House Bill 1368: Funding the transition to zero-emission school buses to reduce emissions and protect public health.
  • And many more: From energy efficiency standards to promoting clean energy innovation, our state is leading the way towards a greener, more sustainable future.

These initiatives reflect our collective commitment to safeguarding our planet for future generations while promoting equity and environmental justice for all Washingtonians.

Victories for Our Workforce

Upholding workers’ rights is essential for building a fair and equitable society, and I’m proud to have supported legislation that strengthens protections for our labor force, including:

  • Protecting Workers’ Rights (SB 5778): Safeguarding employees’ autonomy and freedom of conscience in the workplace.
  • Increasing Vacation Accrual Cap (HB 2246): Recognizing the dedication of state employees by raising the annual vacation accrual cap.
  • Expanding Paid Sick Leave (SB 5793): Extending paid sick leave benefits to gig economy workers and caregivers, ensuring workers can prioritize their health and well-being without fear of financial repercussions.
  • Strippers’ Bill of Rights (SB 6105): Improves workplace standards in strip clubs by mandating security staffing, limiting fees, and providing training. It also aims to legalize liquor sales in strip clubs and remove lewd conduct regulations, addressing concerns of stigmatization and safeguarding workers’ rights and dignity.

By prioritizing workers’ rights and well-being, we’re fostering a workplace environment where all individuals are respected, protected, and empowered to thrive.

Inclusive Learning Standards and LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Education is a cornerstone of our society, and I’m thrilled to have supported legislation that promotes inclusivity and diversity in our schools, including:

  • HB 1228: Supporting multilingual and multicultural education to empower students and celebrate linguistic diversity.
  • HB 2331: Establishing a process for removing books from schools to ensure LGBTQ+ and diverse voices are represented in our curriculum and libraries.

These measures reflect our commitment to creating inclusive learning environments where all students feel valued, represented, and empowered to succeed.

The Operating Budget

Last year, we embarked on an ambitious journey with the passage of an unprecedented biennial budget, aimed at bolstering our investments in the wake of the pandemic. This supplemental budget, shaped by the voices of our communities and the priorities of House Democrats, continues our commitment to strengthening Washington’s families and providing them with the necessary tools to thrive and succeed.

Supporting Mental Health and Wellness

One of our foremost priorities is addressing behavioral health concerns, with a significant allocation of $270 million. This funding will enhance state inpatient behavioral health capacity, provide support for long-term civil commitments in the community, and ensure access to essential services for youth behavioral health needs.

Combatting the Opioid Crisis

Furthermore, our budget allocates $200 million to combat the fentanyl and opioid crisis, focusing on increased access to treatment, supporting families and children’s safety, and enhancing public health awareness and outreach, including support for Tribal communities.

Ensuring Access to Healthcare

Healthcare and public health remain paramount, with $785 million allocated to continue the Medicaid Transformation Project, expand health equity initiatives for uninsured adults, and improve provider rates and reimbursements, among other critical measures.

Empowering Our Children and Youth

I am particularly proud of our investment in children, youth, and families, with $150 million dedicated to increasing childcare slots and expanding eligibility, as well as boosting provider rates and reimbursements, ensuring that our youngest residents receive the care and support they deserve. It is important to note that a significant portion of this childcare funding is sourced from the capital gains tax, demonstrating our commitment to strategic and equitable fiscal policies.

Strengthening Education at All Levels

Education continues to be a top priority, with $260 million allocated to K-12 education, including provisions for special education, student transportation, and free student meals, among others. Additionally, $140 million is allocated to higher education and workforce development, supporting institutions like UW Hospital and expanding training opportunities for our workforce.

Caring for Our Most Vulnerable

Our budget also addresses long-term care and developmental disabilities, homelessness and housing, human services and poverty reduction, climate, clean energy, and natural resources, as well as public safety, legal aid, and corrections, with significant investments in each of these critical areas.

Building a Sustainable Future

Our budget prioritizes environmental initiatives with $310 million dedicated to clean energy, forest health, water quality, and salmon recovery efforts. We’re committed to protecting our natural resources for future generations.

Promoting Public Safety and Justice

Ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities, we’re investing $105 million in programs to support reentry, victims of crime, and gender-affirming approaches within our criminal justice system.

Appreciation for Representative Chopp

As State Representative Frank Chopp concludes his remarkable thirty-year tenure in the State House, the depth of his impact resonates profoundly. Through his steadfast commitment to “One Washington,” he exemplified the essence of public service, advocating tirelessly for the welfare of all constituents. His legacy extends far beyond the legislative chambers, transcending partisan lines to champion initiatives that prioritize the needs of the people. Representative Chopp has enduring influence. He played a pivotal role in fostering bipartisanship and strategic policymaking. From his advocacy for affordable housing to his dedication to expanding healthcare access, Chopp’s unwavering dedication to improving lives has left an indelible mark on Washington state. As he embarks on a new chapter, his exemplary leadership and unwavering commitment to the common good serve as a guiding light for future generations of public servants. We express our deepest gratitude to Representative Chopp for his decades of service and wish him continued success in his future endeavors, confident that his vision of “One Washington” will endure as a beacon of hope and unity for all.


In closing, I wanted to extend a very heartful appreciation to my amazing 40th District Team! I am so thankful for my Legislative Aide, Devon McBride. His dedication to the people in my district, the respect and knowledge of tribal, local, state and federal governments, and his commitment to lead our office with kindness for all.  I am grateful for my communication team for their ability to ensure every Washingtonian can hear their own voice within my voice and words. They are the team that brings out the most humble side of me; and that is to tell my story of being in recovery as a mother, family members and as an elected person.  This amazing communication team of Megan, Mayzie and Andy, along with Devon, are my family, and I am grateful for all the laughter, tears, and smiles that we have shared together in this 2024 session.  I am grateful for my team.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

All best wishes,

Lekanoff sig

Rep. Debra Lekanoff