Update on legislation, small business support, climate change bills, and more!

Dear friends and neighbors,

We are rapidly coming to the end of the 60-day Legislative Session, but there is still much to do in the People’s House! With less than two weeks to go, I am focused on passing bills and securing resources for the 29th District in our state budgets.

This is the time of the session where my Deputy Majority Floor Leadership is applied. I will be assisting the Floor Leader with briefing bills and concurrences of amendments with the Senate, ensuring that we pass good legislation out of the House.

Part of being a legislator is learning that your bill is moving onto the bill graveyard only to be resurrected next session, maybe. Meanwhile, some of my bills continue to move forward in the Senate.

Bills moving forward:

  • HB 1210 Replacing the Term “Marijuana” with the term “Cannabis” throughout the Revised Code of Washington – This bill passed the House last month and passed out of the Senate on Tuesday evening!
  • HB 1617 Aligning State and School Holidays – This trailer bill to bring parity in the celebration of Juneteenth has been approved in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and just moved out of Senate Rules.
  • HB 1827 Concerning the Community Reinvestment Account – This bill creates a Community Reinvestment Account that earmarks an annual appropriation of $125 million in the budget to reinvest in communities that are most impacted by the War on Drugs. The Community Reinvestment Account is funded in the House budget, and the bill is waiting to move out of Senate Rules.
  • $200K Incorporation study – A study of incorporating specified unincorporated communities into a single city.
  • $135K for Tacoma K-12 education on preventing human trafficking.

Bills and Provisos that did not pass this year:

  • HB 1067 Designating the Suciasaurus Rex as the Official Dinosaur of the State of Washington – Unfortunately, this bill brought to me by the students at Elmhurst Elementary, in Franklin Pierce School District, did not pass the House once again. I plan to reintroduce the bill next year and keep trying to make the Suciasaurus Rex the state’s official dinosaur.
  • HB 1951 Concerning Seller Disclosure Statements – I introduced this bill to give homebuyers more information to make well-informed decisions when buying a home by requiring the seller to disclose damage done from animals. Unfortunately, this bill did not pass the House before the deadline.
  • HB 1987 – The goal was to create a task force to determine how to move forward to a new state Housing and Homelessness Department, determine an organizational structure that was efficient and could produce meaningful results, and how to partner with public housing authorities to create a state housing stock.
  • Alfred C. Davis Hospital – Funding to study the feasibility of creating a hospital specific to the unique health needs of the Black/African American community.

What’s Next:

This interim, I am focused on several areas that did not become law or make it into the budgets this year, but that is important to our district.

  • Housing and Homelessness: Continue to work with the community and local partners to address homelessness and low-income housing. I plan to work with housing and homelessness advocates, lawmakers, and state agencies on how to move forward on a viable plan that serves our communities in real-time.
  • Health Care: Black/African Americans struggle with a higher rate of certain diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, low birth weight, and lack of healthcare access for preventable diagnoses. I believe there is a need for this hospital and know that there are people interested in exploring this as an option, so I will be meeting with stakeholders in the health care and Black/African American communities to talk about future budget provisos or bills.

As always, please reach out to my office if you have any questions or comments.




Small Business Flex Fund

The Legislature funded many COVID response programs, including a Small Business Flex Fund through the Department of Commerce. The Flex Fund will provide low-interest working capital to small businesses and nonprofits, focusing on historically underbanked communities (low to moderate-income communities, communities of color, minority, and women-owned businesses).

Because the pandemic has hurt our small businesses and entrepreneurs the most, this loan program is there to help everyone recover stronger and move forward together. But many businesses and nonprofits face barriers to traditional loan programs, so the Small Business Flex Fund will be one tool to help them succeed.

To qualify for a loan, a business or non-profit has to meet the following criteria:

  • The business or non-profit must employ 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees;
  • The business or non-profit must have suffered a direct economic disruption as a result of COVID-19 in a way that has materially impacted operations;
  • The business must have been in operation for at least one year prior to the date of application, or the non-profit must have been in operation since at least January 2019.

Learn more and apply today!

Photo from smallbusinessflexfund.org

Environment and Climate Change

Many of you have reached out to me about concerns over climate change. I share your concern. One of our top priorities this year was addressing climate change. In the past, the Legislature has approved laws to require our energy sources to be 100% zero emissions, creating a low carbon fuel standard in our gasoline, and electrification of our infrastructure to handle the growing need with electric vehicles.

This year, the Legislature continues our efforts to improve efficiency standards in household appliances to cut down on electricity usage (HB 1619), reduce methane emissions from landfills (HB 1663), and strengthen our energy codes to save more electricity and reduce our emissions (HB 1768).

One of the biggest things we can do is ensure that our future growth comprehensive plans consider climate change and, help governments plan for climate change, natural disasters and build safe, walkable communities with shorter commutes. HB 1099 will counter some of the suburban sprawl that forces more cars on the roads, contributing to our greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate crisis lands first and hardest on communities that can least afford it, and it takes collective action to defeat this global threat. While Washington can’t do it alone, we also cannot stand by and wait for others to lead the charge. I am committed to a future for our kids with fewer floods and wildfires, cleaner air, and healthier communities.

Discrimination in the Workplace

In 2019, I sponsored and helped pass a bill (HB 2018) that would expand protections for people who interact with lawmakers. Too often, powerful politicians have abused their power to harass others, and enough is enough.

This year, I voted in favor of HB 1795. HB 1795 prohibits non-disclosure agreements from being used to block employees from speaking out about harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wage theft in the private workplace. I supported this bill because, for too long, employers have used NDAs and settlement agreements to perpetuate a culture of silence. No worker should be forced to suffer the pain, trauma, and indignity of workplace harassment or discrimination.

This bill passed the House, and I hope it will have the votes in the Senate soon.