Women’s Rights, Solutions to Homelessness, and Election Year Activity Freeze

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week, a draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade became public. While this is not a final draft, it is an extremely troubling possibility. A woman’s right to control her own body and make medical decisions free from government interference is sacrosanct. Washington voters have guaranteed the right to an abortion by law and should this draft opinion become final we will continue to ensure that safe and affordable reproductive healthcare is available for all. But make no mistake, women in 23 states and possibly more will lose their right to safe and legal abortion. One of those states is Idaho, and we can expect the demand for reproductive healthcare in Spokane to skyrocket.

This year the Legislature updated the Reproductive Privacy Act, expanding the list of professions who can provide abortion care, shielding patients who receive abortions from facing penalties and prohibiting our state from prosecuting anyone who aids or assists an individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom. We must work to expand our reproductive healthcare capacity to help with the expected flood of women seeking healthcare from other states. Washington will remain a beacon of freedom for women and their families to make healthcare decisions without government interference.

Finding Urgent Solutions to the Homelessness Crisis

Tent in doorway

Homelessness is an immediate and pressing issue in Spokane and across the state. One of my main goals this year is to work closely with city leaders here in Spokane to find solutions to this urgent crisis. One of the quickest and most efficient ways to get people off of the street is to purchase rapid rehousing facilities. Rapid rehousing facilities are former motels that can quickly be converted into living spaces. Rapid rehousing has proved to be a gamechanger for getting people off the streets and stabilized. This year the Legislature appropriated record amounts of money to both purchase rapid rehousing facilities and operate them. In March, I joined my 3rd district seatmates in sending a letter to Mayor Woodward urging her to invest in these properties and take advantage of the historic level of state funding. I followed up recently with a meeting with Mayor Woodward and Council President Beggs to focus on collaborating at all levels of government and with our non-profit providers to ensure we can put these statewide investments to work right here in Spokane.

One project I will be working to advance is Catholic Charities’ purchase of the Quality Inn on Sunset for a rapid rehousing facility. Located close to transit, this facility would provide 88 rooms for transitional housing with supportive services for families and individuals. These are the type of concrete actions we need right now to get a handle on this crisis. I promise to continue working with our city leaders to find solutions for Spokane.

Election Year Activity Freeze

During an election year, there are certain restrictions on my communications to prevent the use of state resources for election purposes. These restrictions include a freeze on mass email updates such as this one, as well as to my legislative website and Facebook page – meaning no new content can be added beginning May 16, 2022 until after the general election in November.

Despite the “freeze” I am still able to respond to constituent communications, so if you have questions or comments about legislative issues or need help connecting to resources, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You can reach my office at 509-866-4954 or send me an email at Marcus.Riccelli@leg.wa.gov.

Championing Children’s Health and Wellbeing

Students at lunch

This week I was named a 2022 Champion for Children by the Children’s Alliance for my work on HB 1878, expanding free school meals to students with high numbers of low-income students. A new eligibility report from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction finds that an additional 179,1766 students at 406 schools will now receive free meals as a result of HB 1878! Up to 173,000 additional students could also receive free meals depending on how school districts group their schools.

Free school meals are the best way to ensure that our kids have the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and play. With the passage of HB 1878, roughly 35% of children in our public school system will now receive free meals. Feeding Kids Can’t Wait!

It is my honor to serve you!


Rep. Marcus Riccelli