Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who joined the telephone town hall call last week and who attended the district town hall meeting this past weekend. We had an incredible turnout at both events, and we were so pleased at the in-person town hall to see familiar and new faces after two years of not being able to get together.
So many members of our community showed up to discuss important issues and share your thoughts and concerns. Your participation is critical to making our community stronger and more connected, and we are grateful for your continued support.
Sen. Marko Liias, Rep. Strom Peterson, and I were happy to answer your questions, which were thoughtful and engaging, and we appreciate that the discussions were lively and respectful.
In case you missed the meetings, I encourage you to listen to the recording of the telephone town hall by clicking here or on the image below.
And if you were not with us on Saturday, you can also read this story by Larry Vogel with My Edmonds News, where he reports on some of the issues that were discussed.
We are exactly one month away from Sine Die, which is when the session adjourns until next year, so that will give us an opportunity to hold another town hall later in the spring or summer to continue working together and address the challenges facing our community.
I am proud of many of the bills we passed to the Senate, but I am particularly happy that we passed landmark legislation to protect reproductive rights. These bills will guarantee access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare services, including contraception and abortion, without fear of discrimination or unnecessary restrictions.
I believe that every person should have the right to make their own healthcare decisions, and the package of bills we sent to the Senate will ensure that reproductive healthcare remains safe, legal, and accessible to all who need it.
After the overturn of Roe vs Wade, we made it a priority to protect the reproductive rights and bodily autonomy of our community, as well as the safety and security of the health care professionals who provide those services.
This is the topic of my latest video update. Click here or on the image below to watch it:
Update on Bills
As you know, three of my bills made it to the Senate and all of them are still moving along:
- On Tuesday, the Senate Human Services Committee passed HB 1470, requiring private, for-profit detention facilities to comply with basic health and safety standards in order to operate in Washington state. Click here to watch my testimony on March 13.
- Yesterday, the Senate Education Committee amended and passed HB 1565, supporting and strengthening the professional educator workforce. The amendment limits teaching residency grant support to three cohorts of residents seeking an endorsement in special education.
- This morning, the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee passed HB 1217, which will look at the prevention of wage theft through the Department of Labor and Industries and other stakeholders in a case study.
I also want to tell you about two bills I co-sponsored:
- I am the second sponsor of Rep. Dave Paul’s HB 1316, that will expand access to dual credit programs like Running Start. The measure passed the House on March 4, was heard in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on March 13 and was passed out of committee yesterday. Running Start, a dual-credit program founded in 1990 for high school juniors and seniors, allows students to graduate with both an associate degree and a high school diploma, or at least earn some college credit and save some tuition they would have paid at a four-year university. This bill will expand access by eliminating barriers such as add-on course fees and lack of financial coverage.
- I am also the second sponsor of Rep. Tina Orwall’s HB 1089, supporting adults with lived experience of sex trafficking. That legislation did not pass the House but its Senate companion, SB 5114, passed the Senate unanimously, and was heard on March 14 by the House Committee on Human Services, Youth and Early Learning, which then passed it on March 17. This is an important bill and the first of its kind to create a network of services to support survivors of sex trafficking. Many people want to exit their trafficking situation but are prevented because of a lack of support. This bill will provide many different levels of support to offer viable options for freedom.
It’s Budgets Time!
The focus over the last three weeks of session will be on the three state budgets: operating, transportation, and capital.
The operating budget covers the day-to-day expenses of the government and is essential for the delivery of public services such as education, healthcare, and public safety.
The transportation budget centers around maintenance and improvement of multimodal transportation services and infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and public transportation systems, including ferries, which are vital to our district.
The capital budget builds, repairs and maintains public buildings and other long-term investments and infrastructure, including schools and hospitals.
All three budgets are interconnected and necessary for a functional and effective government. As they roll out, I will keep you posted on the projects and investments included in each of them.
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.