Legislative Update: My Top Priorities This Session + Meet My Seatmate

Dear friends and neighbors,

The 2023 Legislative Session is underway! In this year’s 105-day session, we will be focusing on tackling behavioral health, public safety, economic concerns, housing, reproductive freedom and more. Before the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment in late April, the 2023-25 state budget must also be written and approved.

While the last two years we’ve held virtual sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s format is hybrid, as we are keeping many of the remote features we established. Personally, I am thrilled to be back in Olympia in person this year and am pleased to share with you my legislative goals for 2023. If you plan on testifying in a committee hearing this year, you still have the option to testify remotely via Zoom if you prefer.

My committee assignments position me well to support the highest priorities of the 42nd Legislative District. I am humbled and honored to continue serving as Vice Chair of the Innovation, Community & Economic Development, and Veterans Committee. I will also continue to serve on the Human Services, Youth & Early Learning, and the Capital Budget committees.

Top priorities of mine this session

I want you to know I take your concerns seriously. After meeting extensively with law enforcement as well as you, my constituents, it is clear to me that a change in our state’s pursuit laws is necessary. Criminals know they can run and are taking advantage of well-intentioned reforms meant to curb unnecessary injuries and deaths from vehicle pursuits. I voted against this change in policy in 2021 and I believe that it has not had the intended effects. We cannot let criminals have a free pass. That is why earlier today I introduced a bill with Rep. Eric Robertson, a Republican member of the House from Legislative District 31. This bill will restore the laws around vehicle pursuits to what they were in 2020. A one-size-fits-all pursuit policy simply does not work for every community in our state and this bill will allow police agencies to set their own pursuit polices.

I also have a youth development bill in the works that may include mentoring, expanded learning opportunities, afterschool or summer programs, school-aged childcare, or other child supports that address the comprehensive needs of young people. These expanded learning opportunities will be in such areas as the arts, civic engagement, science, technology, engineering, and math.

Before session started, I had already introduced HB 1186, a child welfare bill that will protect our most vulnerable families who are experiencing homelessness. This bill ensures that children are not removed from a safe parent solely due to homelessness. Being poor is hard enough; and in these tough times, housing insecurity is all too common. Families can face the risk of homelessness due to sharply rising housing costs, a family tragedy, being victims of domestic violence, or a myriad of other crises. They shouldn’t have to risk losing their family too.

Introducing my seatmate, Rep. Timmons

I want to take the opportunity in this opening newsletter  to introduce you to my seatmate, Rep. Joe Timmons was sworn into office on Dec. 21, 2022. He and I, along with Sen. Sharon Shewmake, recently sent a letter to President Biden outlining our request to allow Canadians to use land borders to enter the United States regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. You can read the full letter here.

It is truly an honor to serve you in the Washington State House of Representatives. This biweekly newsletter will give you a sense of the issues I am working on, and the progress being made. I welcome your ideas and encourage you to reach out by emailing or calling me about issues important to you and your quality of life. You can also visit my legislative Facebook page for regular updates.

Best wishes,