A Commitment to Expanding Support for Youth

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

We’re four weeks into this Legislative Session and things are moving at a quick pace, to say the least! I am thrilled to share more on two of my bills that have passed out of committee – including one that was the second bill to pass off the House floor!  

  • HB 1199, my bill to prevent homeowners’ associations and landlords from unreasonably restricting home childcares, passed unanimously in the House. Washington is in a childcare crisis—families don’t have enough options. Yet dozens of childcare providers throughout the state are either getting fined by their homeowners’ associations or being threatened with eviction. Without adequate childcare, parents can’t work, further exacerbating Washington’s workforce crisis. Families need more options. This bill is now being considered in the Senate! Watch the King 5 News Story on this bill.  
  • Last week, HB 1188, my bill to allow kids in foster care to also access developmental disability services, was passed out of committee and is already scheduled for a hearing in the Appropriations (budget) Committee on February 8! The fact that kids facing enormous trauma and developmental disabilities are not already receiving these services is outlandish, but we are going to change that with this bill! This bill is scheduled to be heard in Appropriations on February 8th at 4pm: Sign up to testify or submit a comment on this bill here. 

For more information on these bills and highlights of what we’re working on in Olympia, please follow me on Facebook.

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A Peek into Bills in Human Services, Youth and Early Learning Committee 

There is a broad range of issues in the committee I chair, from children’s mental health and developmental disabilities to child welfare and early learning, and from juvenile justice to safety net programs. However, they all have common goals: to improve the lives of children and families in our state. Here is a sample of the bills we have passed through my committee so far: 

  • HB 1386 establishes a youth development grant program to expand opportunities for teens to attend enrichment, arts, 4-H, and other after school programs across the state.

boys and girls club

  • HB 1525 expands eligibility for Working Connections Child Care, which helps lower-income families pay for childcare, to people in their first 12 months of a state-registered apprenticeship program. This will help expand workforce development in family-wage jobs—and reduce the barriers of childcare costs.   
  • HB 1406 extends the amount of time that children can remain in licensed youth shelters. Young people experience homelessness for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, their parents or caregivers can’t be found or refuse to take them home. This bill extends from 72 hours to 90 days the time children can stay in a shelter, expands family reconciliation services, and aims to build a circle of trusted adults to help stabilize youth in crisis.   
  • HB 1447 strengthens the ability of public assistance programs, like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and WorkFirst Program, to meet foundational needs of children, adults and families and help them get back on their feet.  
  • HB 1405 ensures that foster youth can keep their Social Security Insurance or survivor benefits, instead of using it to pay the state for the cost of their foster care. This will help foster youth have access to funds meant for them to pay for education or other needs they may have.   

Visits to Olympia 

Last week, I had the distinct honor of catching up with former Governor Gary Locke, now the President of Bellevue College, and this young man, Mohamad Imram of Mercer Island, who President Locke nominated as a keynote speaker for the Transforming Lives dinner. This event, held in Olympia, featured inspirational community college students like Mohamad. His moving life story as a Rohingya refugee in Malaysia with no English or education, making his way to Mercer Island and now attending Bellevue College is an absolute inspiration. 


Thank you so much for reading. Please continue to reach out with comments, questions, or ideas—and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for the latest information from Olympia.  


Senn Sig

Rep. Tana Senn