Dear friends and neighbors,
The first cutoff of session is this coming Friday. Any bills that do not make it out of policy committees by then will not advance any further, though they will be automatically reintroduced next year.
In my previous newsletter I discussed four of my bills that had been passed out of their policy committees. They are listed below with updated information on where they are as of today.
Update on my Bills
HB 1006 – Expanding access to drug testing equipment: Passed the House unanimously on February 8 (watch my Floor remarks here) and has been referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
HB 1028 – Supporting crime victims and witnesses by promoting victim-centered, trauma-informed responses in the legal system: Was heard in the Appropriations Committee on February 6.
HB 1165 – Concerning civil remedies for unauthorized disclosure of intimate images: Passed the House unanimously on February 2 (watch my Floor remarks here) and was referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
HB 1222 – Requiring coverage for hearing instruments: Passed the Appropriations Committee on a 29-2 vote on February 8, and this morning it was referred to the Rules Committee (that’s one step from the Floor!).
And here are short summaries of other bills I sponsored that have now also made it out of committee:
HB 1089 – Supporting adults with lived experience of sex trafficking: Passed the Human Services, Youth & Early Learning Committee on January 27, and was heard in Appropriations on February 8.
Last year, the SeaTac Police Department responded to numerous allegations of sex trafficking and was asked to help support victims of these offenses. This bill would help provide this needed assistance by creating a program for healing, support, and transition services for adults with lived experience of sex trafficking.
HB 1134 – Implementing the 988 behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention system: Passed the Health Care & Wellness Committee on February 8 and was referred to Appropriations today.
This bill creates a template for the rapid response teams which are critical to help people experiencing a behavioral health crisis and getting them to the services they need as quickly as possible. This bill lays the groundwork for mobile rapid response units specifically trained to deal with behavioral health crisis de-escalation and care, which mitigates police response and frees up law enforcement officers so they can attend to other needs.
HB 1300 – Concerning fraud in assisted reproduction: Passed the Community Safety, Justice & Reentry Committee on February 2 and was referred to Appropriations.
This legislation is an updated version of one I sponsored last year; it adds an important provision for disciplinary actions under the Uniform Disciplinary Act. This year’s bill also creates a work group to look at different examples of fraud in assisted reproduction and consider rules to address such fraud. Watch my video update in the next section below for more information on this bill.
HB 1349 – Concerning foreclosure protections: Passed the Housing Committee on February 2 and was referred to the Rules Committee on February 6.
This measure extends timeframe to refer homeowners to mediation in the case of a default; removes the requirement that successors occupy a home to be referred to mediation; extends lookback window exemptions on mediation and remittance through 2023; and adds new language that will delay the trustee sale of a house for the homeowners to access the Homeowner Assistance Funds. These changes will do a lot to help and add clarity for homeowners and trustees.
HB 1637 – Concerning foreclosure surplus funds: Passed the Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee on February 10.
This measure prohibits excessive fees for locating or recovering foreclosure surplus funds and other unclaimed property. I also discuss this bill in my video update below.
In this video update I talk about HB 1637, focused on protecting homeowners at risk of foreclosure from companies preying on the surplus funds of their homes, and about HB 1300 aimed at protecting people from assisted reproduction fraud and holding physicians who commit such fraud accountable.
Addressing Workforce Shortages
As our economy fully recovers from the pandemic, we are working on ways to address workforce shortages and create future economic resiliency. One strategy involves streamlining licensing and certification for in demand professions.
We are considering bills that remove barriers of entry into the workforce and increase access to applied degrees across the state. Examples are HB 1009 and HB 1030, as well as two measures in which I am one of the sponsors: HB 1069, and HB 1001. In combination, these bills will make is easier for military spouses to pursue new employment opportunities, allow regional universities to offer applied doctoral degrees to train the highly skilled workforce of tomorrow, and streamline certification of mental health counselors, speech therapists and audiologists in Washington.
Childcare and ECEAP Expansion
The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is a Washington State funded, comprehensive preschool program that provides free services and support to eligible children and their families.
ECEAP provides early childhood care and enrichment to three- and four-year olds from families with an income at or below 36% of the state median income (SMI), or tribal children from a family with income at or below 100% SMI. The program delivers kindergarten readiness outcomes for low-income children—and provides vital childcare to meet the needs of working families. Currently, this program serves about 11,000 children—and we’re working on expanding funding and eligibility. ECEAP is the state’s highest quality early learning program but costs the least in terms of ‘per child’ spending.
However, despite increasing enrollment, there are more children eligible for ECEAP than we have slots for—and a low slot rate leaves ECEAP providers susceptible to staff turnover and workforce shortage, reducing support and increasing costs. This year, we’re focused on expanding access to ECEAP, creating innovative childcare workforce solutions, and exploring other ways to assist more families struggling with the high cost of childcare.
In-Person Town Hall coming up in March
Your 33rd Legislative District delegation, Sen. Karen Keiser, Rep. Mia Gregerson, and I will host an in-person town hall on March 18. All the information and details will be announced soon, and a link will also be provided so you can submit questions in advance, but for now, mark it on your calendar!
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. If you need additional information, have any feedback, or just want to say hello, please give me a call or send me an email.
CONTACT ME JLOB 326 | PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504 Tina.Orwall@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7834 | Toll-Free Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 | 1-800-635-9993 (TTY) housedemocrats.wa.gov/orwall Legislative Assistant Mary Soderlind - Mary.Soderlind@leg.wa.gov Committees Capital Budget Health Care & Wellness Regulated Substances & Gaming Rules