Update from Olympia: Bills close to finish line

Protecting the Affordable Care Act

With the passage of SHB 1870, we’re protecting the Affordable Care Act in Washington state, regardless of any rollbacks that occur at the federal level. The bill puts provisions of the ACA into state law, like prohibiting health insurers from rejecting an applicant due to a pre-existing condition, and prohibiting annual or lifetime limits on essential health benefits. It goes into effect as soon as it’s signed by the governor, and will help keep Washington families safer and healthier.

A more inclusive planning process for regional transportation

My bill to bring equal representation to our tribal communities in regional transportation planning authorities, HB 1584, passed the Senate this week. I’m very glad this bill that respects government-to-government relationships is on its way to the governor’s desk.

Eliminating the need to renew Gold Star license plates

Surviving family of United States Armed Forces members who died while serving our country are eligible for special vehicle license plates from the state Department of Licensing. These Gold Star plates are a way of honoring a fallen family member, but are also a painful reminder of the family’s loss. The plates are normally renewed online with no problems, but a recent computer glitch forced some families to re-verify their Gold Star qualifications, a process they should never have been put through. To spare any more families from going through this, I sponsored a bill to make Gold Star license plates permanent, HB 1197. It cleared the Senate this week and is on its way to becoming law.

Giving nurses a break

It continues to be important to me that we guarantee basic meal and rest breaks for our nurses, and that’s why I sponsored HB 1155. It has passed out of the necessary Senate committees and now awaits a vote by the full Senate.  Click here to read more about this important legislation to protect our nurses and those under their care in a recent Spokesman-Review article.

State transpo dollars win major federal grant for Central City Line!

The federal government has awarded Spokane Transit Authority’s Central City Line over $53 million in grant money. This is exciting news for Spokane, and I am very pleased the more than $15 million the state invested in the project through the Connecting Washington transportation package was leveraged to get this grant.

Spokane-area National Teacher of the Year visits Olympia

It was great to visit with 2018 National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning, who came to Olympia this week and stopped by to say hello to Rep. Timm Ormsby and me. Mandy was teaching English and math to refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Ferris High School when she was selected as the National Teacher of the Year. In that role, she is spending this year traveling the nation as a full-time spokesperson and advocate for teachers and public education.

Census 2020: Why it matters

Communities all over Washington are mobilizing for the 2020 Census. Data collected during the census shapes the future of our schools, transit and healthcare. That is why the budget passed by the House includes $12 million for census outreach to ensure everyone gets a voice.

Information gathered by the census guides how all levels of government fund vital services over the next ten years. The census also determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

For the first time ever, you’ll be able to submit your information online, by mail or phone.

Visit www.census.gov for more information

It’s an honor to serve you. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.

Best regards,

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