Session Update, Virtual Town Hall Video, and Capital Budget Wins for Spokane

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The legislative session is over three quarters of the way completed. Today was the opposite house fiscal committee cutoff. Starting this afternoon, we will be on the House floor considering bills full time. First up are the House capital, transportation, and operating budgets. Learn more about the legislative session and get an update on where my bills are in the process with my latest video update:


Good luck to the Gonzaga men’s basketball team in Saturday’s Final Four game. Spokane is rooting you! In honor of this historic, undefeated Gonzaga season, please enjoy this historical picture of the Washington Legislature’s #1 Gonzaga fan from the Zags 1999 run to the Elite Eight.

Virtual Town Hall video

This Wednesday, Sen. Andy Billig and I (Rep. Ormsby had to chair the Appropriations Committee) hosted our second ever virtual town hall. Thank you to everyone who attended and came prepared with excellent questions. If you missed it, have no fear. You can watch a video of the town hall below. And as always if you have a question or concern, please email me at

Big wins for Spokane in the historic $5.7 billion House construction budget

Spokane Falls Community College

The 2021-23 capital budget proposed by House Democrats would break the record for total investments and put tens of thousands of people to work rebuilding the economy.

Federal funding helps, with the proposed budget (HB 1080) including $400 million in federal funding for investments in water, sewer, and broadband service along with $189 million for critical capital budget projects enabling work, education, health monitoring, and other items related to responding to the pandemic.

A total of $48.5 million would go toward grants and loans for early learning facilities. Public schools would receive $969.9 million, while community colleges get $299.8 million and public universities are set for $678.9 million in construction funding. The largest project is the construction of the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at the University of Washington ($191.3 million).

This proposal also sets new records for investments in housing ($240 million), early learning ($48 million), and broadband internet access ($155 million).

By comparison, the 2015-17 budget included $75 million for housing, $15.5 million for early learning facilities, and $10 million for broadband.

Full details about the budget are available here.

As a member of the House Capital Budget Committee, bringing pivotal infrastructure dollars home to Spokane is a highlight of the work I get to do in Olympia. These projects benefit our city for decades to come and bolster our quality of life in measurable ways.

I’m thrilled to share a few of the wins for Spokane in the House’s proposed budget:

Fighting teen homelessness

$2.5M for the expansion of teen homelessness services through the Volunteers of America (VOA) Crosswalk program. Crosswalk has been a force for good in our community since the 1980s, and these funds will allow them to grow their reach and capacity to combat youth substance abuse and homelessness.

Behavioral health that doesn’t leave BIPOC children behind

$1.438M for the Youth Behavioral Health Services Building to be operated by the NATIVE Project. We know that mental health is an integral part of overall wellbeing, and that early intervention is a key factor in successful outcomes. Spokane cannot afford to leave part of our community behind. This is a space that will fight that inequity.

Setting drug dependent newborns on a path for success

$644K for Maddie’s Place, a Pediatric Transitional Care Facility (PTCF) for endangered children. Babies born addicted to drugs have a tough road ahead. From health complications, to the impact of having a parent struggling with substance use disorder, Maddie’s Place will have the support families need to heal.

Access to information for all

$1M to replace and repair broadcast equipment at Spokane Public Radio that serves 1.25 million folks in the inland northwest. Public radio is an essential service that provides free and unbiased information to our community. These funds will ensure that even Spokane’s rural areas have access to quality news and information.

Modernizing the Medical Examiner’s Office

$600K for new technology in Spokane County’s Medical Examiner’s Office. Our region will benefit greatly from having up-to-date equipment that can aid in forensic death investigations at our ME’s disposal.

Investing in higher education, the arts, and STEM

$19.3M for Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) for their new Fine and Applied Arts building, which will be home to programs that previously had no designated space on their campus. $45M for Eastern Washington University (EWU) to take their science building out of the 1960’s and into the future. As we encourage our next generation to study STEM fields, we need our higher learning institutions to have modern facilities that support the quickly developing fields they teach.

Increasing dental health capacity

Dental health capacity plunged after the state cut adult dental health coverage in 2011 during the Great Recession. Today we have fewer providers than we had in 2010 and 50% more patients to serve. Lower-income people and communities of color are most likely to lack access to oral health care. In 2018, I worked with lawmakers from across the state to create a grant program to increase access to dental health and bring equity to dental care. Projects funded through these grants now serve almost 75,000 additional patients in Washington.

I am thrilled to announce that the capital budget this year includes grants for ten new sites. These projects will provide 64,404 additional visits when completed, providing much needed dental services to some of the most vulnerable communities in Washington. 

It’s an honor to serve our community.

Best Regards,

Representative Marcus Riccelli

3rd Legislative District – Spokane