Happy New Year and welcome to the first week of the 2022 Legislative Session! Just like last year, we’ll be doing most of our work remotely to help keep the public, staff and lawmakers safer from COVID. That also means you don’t have to travel to Olympia to participate in the legislative process. For more information about how to testify in a virtual hearing or submit written testimony on a bill, visit this link. It’s easier than ever to get involved!
My priorities for 2022
Throughout session, I’ll be sharing with you updates on various pieces of legislation and budget items that are of interest to our district and that I’m passionate about. Here’s a brief overview of the bills I’ve introduced this session:
- HB 1630: Bans the open carry of weapons at city council, county council and school board meetings. We must protect our access to democracy and keep our communities safe from gun violence. As a former city councilmember myself, I’m sad but not surprised that 81% of surveyed local elected officials nationally have experienced harassment, threats and violence.
- HB 1905: Addresses youth homelessness, helping ensure no young adult is released into homelessness from publicly funded systems of care, like foster care, behavioral health treatment and juvenile rehabilitation. While Washington state committed to this goal under SB 6560 a few years ago, we have yet to take the actions necessary to ensure it happens.
- HB 1644: Helps schools join the fight against climate change by allowing local school transportation levy dollars to be used for electric school buses and related infrastructure.
- HB 1729: Creates a blockchain work group to examine policies, employment needs and environmental considerations that will grow our economy and keep our state a healthy place to live, work and play.
- HB 1872: Creates a center to promote and support the caregiving sector. We’re in dire need of people to work in child care and long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities. This bill will help attract and retain care workers.
That’s not all! Here’s some other bills to keep an eye out for:
- HB 1751 and HB 1758 (sponsored by Rep. Mari Leavitt): Helps protect young people from hazing on college campuses, brought forward after the tragic death of a Washington State University student from Bellevue.
- HB 1664 (sponsored by Rep. Alicia Rule): Provides funding to school districts for nurses, counselors or other social-emotional support. Given the added mental and physical health challenges of the pandemic, this bill is especially important right now.
- HB 1732 and HB 1733 (sponsored by Reps. Pat Sullivan and Dave Paul): Delay the rollout of the WA Cares Fund, our state’s new long-term care program, by 18 months, give near-retirees a chance to qualify for the fund and offer exemptions to military spouses, disabled veterans and border state workers.
And so much more! Stay tuned for more updates throughout session.
Booster recommended for kids 12 and older
Great news for our kids, families and schools! Last week, the state Department of Health expanded eligibility for the COVID booster to everyone 12 and older. That means it’s recommended that young people ages 12 to 17 get a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least five months after finishing their primary vaccination series. For help finding a vaccine appointment, visit vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for lots more over the next few months!
Please don’t hesitate to send me an email or give me a call at 425-279-5345 with your feedback or questions. Please note, I also have a new legislative assistant, Yuval Berenstein, who you can reach at Yuval.Berenstein@leg.wa.gov. It’s an honor to represent you!