Legislative Update: Protecting Reproductive Rights, Protecting Public Education & Protecting Our Communities

Dear friends and neighbors, 

This is week two of the 2024 Legislative Session and things are moving swiftly. Today, however, I want to focus on three core areas of my work in Olympia this year: protecting reproductive rights, protecting public education, and protecting our communities. 

Protecting Reproductive Rights

During my time working in district between the end of the 2023 Legislative Session and the start of this year’s session, I heard many stories from women who told me how they were experiencing barriers to their reproductive choice—especially from women who wanted to have a tubal litigation but were often met with questions or comments from their medical providers, such as, “Have you checked with your husband about this?” or “What if you change your mind later—you are so young.” That’s why I’ll be introducing a bill that will enable women to have full bodily autonomy and know that they can be trusted with their own bodies. An additional bonus of this piece of legislation is that it will apply to both women andmen. The protections offered in this bill will permit access to all kinds of contraception or surgical procedures available on the market to both genders. 

Protecting Public Education

I’m a product of Washington’s public schools and I’m certain many of you are, too. One of my fondest memories as a child was falling in love with books. Reading regularly is a relationship I continue to foster to this day, and that’s why I introduced House Bill 2223 to protect our school libraries and increase funding for school library staff. This is hopeful news for our school districts in Concrete, Blaine, and other small districts throughout our district. 

All students in our state deserve access to libraries, regardless of zip code. Libraries are often a student’s safe space at school and reading is fundamental to learning and student success. In a time where learning gaps linger post-pandemic, access to libraries is more vital than ever. 

In addition to learning gaps brought on by COVID-19, school districts everywhere are grappling with student mental health challenges; and sometimes, addiction issues are tragically a part of the equation. I have three bills to address these challenges: 

  • House Bill 2280 will establish a lead entity for mental health in Washington schools. Kids can’t learn if they are in crisis and addressing mental health challenges is a practical and important part of learning. Click here to read more. 
  • House Bill 2146 will help students who are chronically absent and at risk for not graduating from high school and ensure they receive the support they need to get back on the right track. 
  • House Bill 2029 is a bill I’ve introduced for our kids. Sadly, our kids don’t always intentionally misuse drugs such as fentanyl. Increasingly, many teens seek out drugs for pain or relaxation from friends or social media, not knowing that they are counterfeits and contain lethal doses (2 milligrams can kill someone) of fentanyl. Sometimes people are even accidentally exposed to fentanyl and if that happens in a school setting, we want this lifechanging medication available when that risk to life occurs.

Protecting Our Communities

Every time I meet with you in person or read your emails, I want you to know I take your concerns to heart. One way I’m doing that this year is with House Bill 2220, a bill that targets fentanyl dealers. The bill would make it a violent offense to sell or have the intent to sell this deadly substance that is taking so many lives. Additionally, the bill would increase access to treatment, prevention, and harm reduction. We have fentanyl deaths happening at an unprecedented rate and youth violence is especially up. This is a pay me now or pay me later scenario that cannot be ignored. We must disrupt the flow of supply of this deadly poison. 

Here to Serve You

Please reach out any time to voice your concerns during this legislative session. My next update will reach your inboxes in two weeks.  

Best wishes,