Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This past Wednesday, March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day.
Much of our history ignores the labor, resilience, and influence of women, especially women of color who face additional barriers to opportunity and recognition. Here, in the People’s House, we are building a world where women are truly welcome to lead, take charge of their health, and walk equal paths toward success.
We envision a Washington that ensures economic, reproductive, and civic freedom for women across our state.
Women legislators from both sides of the aisle had our picture taken on the Capitol steps:
We began all-day floor action on February 27 and reached House of origin cutoff this past Wednesday. Any bills not passed out of the House are likely dead, though they will get automatically reintroduced next year.
Click here or on the image below to watch the super quick video update I recorded during a break from floor debate on the very first day, where I discuss three really good bills that reflect our values:
So far, we have sent 328 bills to the Senate, of those, 257 passed with 80 votes or more, including 196 that passed unanimously. So, while we do have differences, most of the time we share views, and we are all here with the same goal: to improve the lives of the people we represent.
We’ve had a strong focus on equity, workforce development, education and reproductive health, which is reflected in the bills we passed. Some highlights include:
- Shielding patients who seek reproductive or gender-affirming care in Washington state, and their health care providers, from other state’s archaic laws (HB 1469)
- Ensuring that health care providers in Washington state are protected when providing reproductive or gender-affirming care (HB 1340)
- Protecting your sensitive health data, including data related to reproductive health (HB 1155)
- Addressing our home care workforce shortages by updating certification requirements and reducing licensing fees for home care workers (HB 1694)
- Growing our behavioral health workforce by supporting those studying to enter the field, reducing barriers to entering the workforce, and streamlining licensing requirements (HB 1724)
- Expanding access to the Running Start program by making it available in the summer (HB 1316)
- Promoting workplace safety for Washington’s warehouse workers by requiring clear information about quotas and work speed (HB 1762)
- Expanding eligibility for Working Connections Child Care, helping lower-income families to pay for childcare during their first 12 months of an apprenticeship program (HB 1525)
- Promoting inclusiveness with the “Nothing About Us Without Us Act” by requiring increased representation of people with direct lived experience from underrepresented communities on a taskforce, workgroup, or advisory committee. (HB 1541)
Three of my bills made it to the Senate!
- HB 1217, Preventing wage theft by allowing the Department of Labor and Industries to require employers to pay interest if they unlawfully withhold wages from their workers.
- HB 1470, Requiring private, for-profit detention facilities to comply with basic health and safety standards in order to operate in Washington state. Watch my floor remarks on final passage of this bill.
- HB 1565, Supporting and strengthening the professional educator workforce with an online platform to recruit and hire educators, and a teacher residency program. Watch this 30-second video on this bill from the wings of the House floor.
Latino Democratic Caucus
As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we recently created the first Latino Democratic Caucus in the Washington State Legislature. We made this minute-and-a-half video so you can get to know who we are and the issues we are working on:
Remember our Town Halls!
Your 21st district delegation, Sen. Marko Liias, Rep. Strom Peterson and I will hold two town hall meetings to give you an update on the issues we’re working on this session, and answer your questions which, by the way, you are welcome to send us in advance by clicking here or on the image below.
TELEPHONE TOWN HALL THIS MONDAY!
Monday, March 13, 2023. 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
You should receive a call on Monday. To be sure you are called, you can sign up here: https://vekeo.com/whdc21
If you do not receive the call, you can still participate by dialing 877-229-8493 and using ID Code 116357
IN-PERSON TOWN HALL
Saturday, March 18, 2023. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Edmonds Waterfront Center Banquet Room,
220 Railroad Ave Edmonds, WA
Activities for children will be available at the in-person event, and there will be a breakout room for Spanish speakers hosted by LETI (Latino Educational Training Institute). Accommodations are also available if needed. Please reach out to our offices with requests for assisted hearing services, translations, accessibility concerns, or any other accommodation needs.
Thank you for reading my newsletter. If you need more information on any of the issues discussed here, or on any other legislative matter, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.