Early Action COVID Relief, Public Health Bills, and Thank You

Step One for Washington’s Community and Economic Recovery

Yesterday, House Democrats passed the first step in the House and Senate plan for Washington’s community and economic recovery, starting with the allocation of $2.2 billion in federal funds to provide assistance to Washington families and businesses who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal will ease the financial hardship of struggling renters and landlords, small restaurants and other neighborhood businesses, school districts, uninsured and underinsured individuals, and communities of color, which have been disproportionately hurt during the pandemic.

  • BOOSTING PUBLIC HEALTH: $618 million for a state Department of Health fund for vaccine administration, contact tracing, and testing.
  • KEEPING PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES AND FED: $365 million for rental assistance and foreclosure assistance, and for small landlords to stay on top of their mortgages. The plan also includes $52 million for food and cash assistance, and a TANF extension.
  • INVESTING IN SMALL BUSINESSES: $240 million for grants for small businesses and non-profits to maintain operations and help with reopening.
  • GETTING STUDENTS CAUGHT UP: $714 million for schools to address learning loss and get ready to bring kids back to the classroom when it’s safe to do so. The plan also includes $50 million for grants for child care providers.
  • SUPPORTING ALL WASHINGTONIANS: $70 million for long-term care and developmental disabilities programs and $6 million for health care for those who are underinsured and uninsured. The plan also includes immigrant relief assistance and grants to provide emergency financial aid for undocumented college students.

This early action COVID relief bill ensures we support those most impacted by the pandemic so that we can recover, together. In the coming months, House Democrats will have bills, a supplemental budget, and an operating budget for the next biennium that continue to invest in public health, equitably address needs across the state in struggling communities, and help families and small businesses.

Public Health Bills

Public health has been an important focus of several pieces of legislation I have introduced for the 2021 legislative session. In Spokane, we’ve banked our future on the health care sector. From sponsoring legislation that supports our many nurses, to bringing a medical school to Spokane, I’ve watched firsthand how creating a healthier Spokane is positively linked to both our economy and quality of life. Like most folks, the COVID-19 pandemic has me looking at health care in a new light. Now more than ever the health our families, and of our neighbors, is critical to our success as a community. This year, I brought forward several policies to address the cracks in our public health system that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed.

I answer questions about the public health bills I am sponsoring this year in the video below.

I also was interviewed by KHQ’s Kevin Kim about HB 1110, my bill to balance public health boards. Video here: WATCH: State lawmakers says new bill aims to take politics out of local health departments | Coronavirus | khq.com

Thanks for making the town hall a success!

On Wednesday, I went live across social media, and answered questions directly from you. The 3rd LD town hall is always an excellent chance to hear directly from Spokanites about what truly matters to you. This year, we went virtual and I was astounded by the turnout. Thank you for tuning in and coming ready with great questions for both myself and my seatmates, Representative Timm Ormsby and Senator Andy Billig.

Missed the live event? Watch our Virtual Town Hall right here:

A robust democracy can only exist with an active and engaged citizenry. Thanks for doing your part. I so very honored to do this job and appreciate your partnership as we work together to move Spokane and our state forward.

Best Regards,

Representative Marcus Riccelli

3rd Legislative District – Spokane