OLYMPIA – In the first six weeks of the 2020 Legislative Session, health care accessibility and affordability has been a top priority for Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, and state House Democrats. In addition to the Hunger-Free Schools Act, which passed on February 17, Riccelli has managed to pass changes to how the state approaches health in transportation goals, a Joint Memorial asking Congress to include dental care in Medicare coverage, and an update to physician assistant laws to address the lack of access in rural and underserved areas.
“Healthy families and healthy communities are a passion of mine and one of the big reasons I am a state legislator,” said Riccelli. “That is why so much of my work focused on how we can be healthier, how we combat food insecurity, particularly for children, and that we keep expanding access to affordable health care for rural and underserved areas.”
Also a key item in Riccelli’s legislative priorities this year, HJM 4016 seeks to name State Route 902, which leads to the Eastern Washington Veterans Cemetery which serves as the final resting place for over 6,000 veterans, the Gold Star Memorial Highway. This was request legislation from loved ones of fallen service members who worked with Riccelli in 2019 on legislation to exempt Gold Star family members from vehicle license fees on Gold Star license plates. HJM 4016 passed the House unanimously.
“I can’t think of a more fitting honor. This comes from families who have sacrificed so much. I want to give special recognition to someone who helps organize our Gold Star families, Kirsten Lyons. Her son, Sargent Jacob Hess, was 22 when he died in Afghanistan, killed supporting combat operations. They’re a very special family for our community and this whole state. And, quite frankly, when they bring something like this forward, it’s my honor to try to help,” said Riccelli on the House floor.
The bills and joint memorials next head to the Senate for its consideration.