Free School Meals Gets a Hearing, Reproductive Care Protected in the Legislature, Page Applications Open!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you to everyone who attended our 3rd district telephone town hall last Tuesday, January 17. The questions were thorough and well-informed, and I enjoyed having a chance to share more about the work we are doing on your behalf. The entire conversation was recorded, and you can listen to the entire event on this link.

Free School Meals Heard in the House

I have always believed that nutritious food is key to a child’s success, especially in the classroom.  I think about how hard it is for a growing child who is still developing and trying to pay attention in the classroom. That is why I have worked to sponsor and support laws in the legislature that improve and expand our school meal programs. But the existing system is limiting.

Federal funding isn’t keeping up with the increased costs of our existing free meals program and families are struggling to make up the difference. We can’t keep pushing the burden of feeding our kids to their schools. That’s why I introduced The Washington Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HB 1238) to make school meals free for everyone, and the responsibility of the state to pay for it.

I had a chance to testify on the bill in the House Education Committee this week and am proud to have so many educators, advocates, parents, and students supporting free school meals. I’ll keep you updated as HB 1238 progresses.

Reproductive Access bills: Standing with our health care providers and patients

Since the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, other states have passed laws to severely restrict abortion access, and some are even considering legislation that could impact Washington residents. Washington residents have made it clear that the right to reproductive care is important and must be protected and preserved.

As chair of the Health Care & Wellness Committee, I see it as my responsibility to ensure that our health care providers aren’t wrongly punished for actions taken by other states. One area that concerned me was what could happen if a health care provider provided care to a resident from another state, and that state tried to go after the doctor, nurse, or other health care practitioner. That is why I introduced HB 1340, which ensures that providers cannot be disciplined or have their license denied for “unprofessional conduct” if the conduct was in accordance with Washington state law. Basically, if the reproductive care they offered is legal in our state, they can continue to practice here without fear.

Meetings with Spokanites visiting the Capitol

I really enjoy when individuals and groups from Spokane take the time to come visit our state Capitol and meet with me to discuss important issues. This week I wanted to highlight meetings with Spokane County Commissioners Waldref and Jordan, nurses from our local hospitals, Whitworth President Scott McQuilkin, and over 60 community leaders who took part in the Greater Spokane Incorporated Olympia fly-in.

Page Applications Still Being Accepted!

Do you know a 14- to 17-year-old interested in government? The House Page Program is still accepting applications for the 2023 Legislative Session. Pages earn a daily stipend and can also earn up to 20 hours of community service. I’d love to see more Spokane area students come get engaged with the lawmaking process and learn more about how the legislature operates. Normally, 17-year-olds are not eligible to apply but this year there a one-time exception due to the COVID-19 pandemic and certain weeks are available for those who are 17-18 years old and weren’t able to participate in previous years because of the pandemic.

If you know someone who might be interested, send them the link to the House Page Program here or share the video below!

It is my honor to serve you!





Rep. Marcus Riccelli