Dear friends and neighbors,
We’ve hit the half-way mark of this year’s legislative session and there are a lot of things to report, so get yourself some coffee or tea and find a comfy spot.
Let’s start with some good news on the vaccines front:
King County expands vaccine eligibility
Phase 1B-1 in South King County has expanded, it went from 75 and older to 65 and older! Click on the image below for all the information.
K-12 teachers & childcare workers now eligible for vaccine
The Biden Administration issued a directive this week for all states to prioritize K-12 teachers and childcare workers. And Governor Inslee announced that these groups are now in 1B Tier 1, which is the phase currently receiving vaccines.
For all the details, please read the governor’s release here.
Veterans of all ages can now get scheduled for vaccines
The Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System announced that all ages of veterans are being actively scheduled for the vaccine. Veterans must call 206-716-5716 to schedule an appointment and priority will still be given to those who are at higher risk, older or have existing health problems. For more information, read this Seattle Times story or visit the Puget Sound VA website.
33rd District Town Hall on March 24
Please mark your calendars: we’re holding a virtual town hall in a couple of weeks. Click on the image below to go to the Facebook event for all the details, including how to submit questions in advance. Also, you don’t need to have a Facebook account to see the event page or to watch the town hall live.
Update on two of my bills recently passed by the House
Bill of rights for survivors of sexual assault
HB 1109 (passed unanimously on February 25)
As you know, much of my legislative work over the past five years has been centered around bringing justice and increasing support to victims of sexual assault, starting with testing every single sexual assault kit and creating a tracking system. Watch this short video, which summarizes some of my previous work and the bills the Legislature has passed on this issue.
By putting survivors at the center of the state’s response to sexual assault, we can move toward remedying the gaps in the current system and improving outcomes for survivors, who have done an extraordinary job of speaking up and demanding change. Now it’s time for the state to speak up on their behalf and afford them with needed protections.
This year I introduced a bill to empower survivors with a Bill of Rights that includes more information on their cases, transparency and resources.
- Requires the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to collect and report information on the investigation status of cases tied to previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits collected prior to July 24, 2015.
- Requires the Criminal Justice Training Commission to conduct an annual case review program to review sexual assault investigations and prosecutions for the purposes of improving training and case outcomes.
- Expands the statutory rights for sexual assault survivors.
Please read my press release here and watch my Floor remarks below:
Continuity of operations
HB 1271 (passed on a 90-6 vote on February 24)
Ensuring continuity of operations in the offices of county elected officials during public health crises.
This measure is the result of 19 weeks of dialogue between county officials and their thoughts on best practices in providing services during COVID-19, and the statutory barriers to continuity of operations. It will provide local government with the tools they need not only during the pandemic but in a future crisis.
Watch my Floor remarks here.
Juneteenth – a state holiday?
You may have heard the word “Juneteenth” before, maybe you even remember learning about it in school. But for many, Juneteenth is more than just a word. It’s the date, June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas were finally freed, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
I believe Juneteenth should be a state holiday as one way to acknowledge the atrocity of slavery and celebrate its end.
I am happy to report that on February 25, we passed HB 1016 out of the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, June 19 will be a state holiday starting next year. This would be a clear and official way we can all join together and remember when Black/African American people were finally freed.
Juneteenth won’t address racial systemic barriers and inequities our Black communities have endured, but it’s a step towards racial reconciliation. Making Juneteenth an official state holiday will bring awareness and consciousness to a crucial day in our country’s history, educating communities about the history of slavery and its devastating impacts.
For more information on this bill, click here.
Keep in touch!
I appreciate your interest in what we are doing at the virtual Capitol and, as always, want you to know that if you need additional information on these or any other legislative issues, my office is there to serve you so don’t hesitate to contact us.
I also hope you’ll visit my official Facebook page for frequent updates.
Rep. Tina Orwall