Legislative Update: News on My Bills to Support Our Youth, the Economy & More

Dear friends and neighbors,

In Olympia, we are getting closer and closer to floor action in the House. Debates on bills on the House floor start on Monday, Feb. 27, and last through Wednesday, March 8. Next Wednesday, March 1, also marks halfway through this year’s 105-day Legislative Session. It’s been going by quickly!

Last Friday, Feb. 17, was policy cutoff. What does that mean? Most bills that did not make it out policy committees by then won’t advance this year but will be automatically reintroduced next year. I’m pleased to share with you today that many of my prime-sponsored bills are still alive and I’ll be giving you updates on them in this newsletter, as well as share other news.

My Bills to Help Our Youth

  • HB 1186: You may recall from an earlier newsletter this session that I had introduced HB 1186, a child welfare bill that will protect our most vulnerable families who are experiencing homelessness. This bill will ensure that children are not removed from a safe parent solely due to homelessness. After a few minor tweaks to my original bill, the substitute bill is moving and is now with the Rules Committee for review.
  • HB 1386: Another bill that’s moving is my bill to support youth development programs. It also had a few minor tweaks to it and is now in front of the Appropriations Committee. It’s a great bill for supporting our children and youth, as when we support kids preventatively, we can do a great jo of preventing problems down the line. This bill is an investment in our future that will pay back in dividends, as when we keep our kids busy doing good things, they stay out of trouble.
  • HB 1679: While I haven’t yet talked about this bill in a newsletter so far, essentially what HB 1679 will do is modify and extend requirements of a work group convened to address the needs of students in foster care, experiencing homelessness, or both. Last Wednesday, this bill passed out of committee and is now with the Rules Committee for review. Click here to watch my testimony on this bill.
  • HB 1685: This is another bill I haven’t yet discussed in a newsletter with you, but concerns resource and assessment centers (RACs). What’s great about this bill is it will increase the ages where kids can receive care (currently birth to age 12, but if passed, from birth to age 17, or up to 17 if a child already has a sibling at the RAC), extends care for seven to 14 days (instead of the current 72 hours), and will be used to provide emergency initial care for children. The inspiration for this bill comes from Bellingham’s own Skookum Kids, whose mission is to repair the foster care system by eliminating the pain points that make life unnecessarily difficult for foster parents and social workers. The nonprofit does this by involving the whole community in the important work of child welfare. I’m pleased to report that this bill passed out of committee last week and is now under review with the Rules Committee.

An Update on Vehicular Pursuits

I’ve been updating you regularly on HB 1363, a bipartisan bill I co-sponsored with Rep. Eric Robertson (R-Sumner). If you’ve been following the news, you may already know that this bill passed out of committee last week with some compromises made to how we originally drafted it. The proposals introduced to the original bill are good news for allowing it to advance, which will enable legislators to keep debating potential changes to the law on police pursuits. It was heard again on Monday in the Transportation Committee. I’ll continue to keep you up to date as far as next steps are concerned.

My Bills to Support the Economy

  • HB 1573: This bill will extend tax preferences for dairy, fruit and vegetable, and seafood processors. It will extend the expiration date of business and occupation tax preferences from July 1, 2025, to July 1, 2035. It had its first reading at the end of January, with a public hearing on Feb. 9, and is scheduled for executive session this week. I’ll keep you updated if this bill continues to move.
  • HB 1717: This bill will support innovation at associate development organizations (ADOs). What’s great about this bill is will bring state money back into our local communities to support our local economies and small businesses. It is currently with the Appropriations Committee for review.
  • HB 1806: This bill can also be called “the Point Roberts bill.” Outside of my district, Point Roberts, Wash. isn’t too well known. This small community is five square miles of territory located beneath the 49th parallel and is separated from the rest of Washington by British Columbia, Canada.

What this bill will do is require the Department of Commerce to implement an exclave community small business relief program to provide resources by those impacted (in this case, Point Roberts) that have sustained economic loss due to the closure of the international border between the United States and Canada at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may recall that my seatmates in the 42nd district and I sent President Biden a letter requesting him to allow Canadians to use land borders to enter the U.S. regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. I am happy to report that this bill passed out of committee last week and is now with the Appropriations Committee.

Serving Washington as NCEL’s State Lead


The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) has selected me as its 2023-2024 Washington State Lead. Created by and for state legislators, NCEL is a nonprofit that organizes more than 1,200 environmentally committed state legislators from all 50 states and both major parties. NCEL provides venues and opportunities for lawmakers to share ideas and collaborate on their environmental priorities while embedding notions of equity and justice every step of the way. Click here to learn more.

Children’s Day

Monday was Children’s Day at the Legislature! I brought two of my three sons to work with me. Children’s Day is a longstanding tradition at the Legislature when lawmakers can bring their children (or grandchildren) in to see an up close and personal view of their government in action. I’m honored they were able to spend part of the day with me in Olympia!

Save the Date!

Your 42nd Legislative District delegation consisting of Sen. Sharon Shewmake, Rep. Joe Timmons, and I will host an in-person town hall from 1-2 p.m. at Ferndale High School on Saturday, March 18. All the information and details will be announced soon, and a link will also be provided so you can submit questions in advance, but for now, mark it on your calendar!

Best wishes,