23rd LD Update: How Rep. Nance and I Have Turned our Troubled Pasts into Success to Help Others + My Bills

Dear friends and neighbors,  

We’re now in week two of the 2024 Legislative Session. This year is a short session, lasting just 60 days, with our work here in Olympia scheduled to wrap up on March 7. I’m excited to be back in the capitol with my legislative colleagues. 

Today, I’d like to share with you a story about my seatmate and friend, Rep. Greg Nance and me, that recently came out, an update on a couple of my priority bills this year, and information on how you can get involved in the lawmaking process this year.

Turning Our Troubled Pasts into Success and Helping Others 

Many of you who have been following my political career for years and know that I am the first formerly incarcerated person elected to public office after winning my 2020 campaign for state representative. I’ve never hidden my past, nor does my seatmate, the newest member of the Washington State House of Representatives, Rep. Greg Nance, who was appointed to his seat last fall. It’s great to have a friend and a partner with me now in the Legislature who will push for more resources for those behind bars and those struggling to rebuild their lives upon release, as well as fighting tirelessly to address mental health and substance abuse issues that are often at the root of so many societal problems. 

Post Alley, a relatively new website that helps fill in gaps in local journalism and explores new ways of delivery quality reporting and commentary, recently came out with a story on us. I was deeply touched by this piece and encourage you to check it out here.

My Bills are Moving!

Last fall, I sent you an update about my trip to Norway, where I talked about my tour of Norwegian prisons and learning how another country’s approach to prisons and incarcerated people is vastly different and more positive than what we experience in the United States. I was so inspired by this trip last summer that I started investigating what’s done in most states around the country and learned that in all but two states (Vermont and Maine), voting age citizens convicted of a felony are barred from voting for at least some period of time. That’s why this year I’m sponsoring House Bill 2030, which, if passed, would only revoke a person’s voting rights if convicted of a state crime punishable by death. 

HB 2030 was scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations yesterday, which you can watch here on TVW. 

Last Friday, House Bill 1972, which would increase support for the Washington physicians’ health program, made it out of committee and is next up for debate on the House floor.  Public testimony for HB 1972 was heard last Tuesday in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, which you can watch here on TVW.  

 I’ll be sure to keep you updated as both HB 2030 and HB 1972 progress through the legislative process. 

How to Participate in the 2024 Session

  • Watch — TVW.org broadcasts all debates and votes that happen in the House or Senate, as well as all committee meetings in both chambers.   
  • Testify — Go here for an overview of the process, here for instructions on how to testify remotely, and here to sign in for hearings in the House or Senate.   
  • Research —Look up any bill by number, lawmaker, or topic here. To learn about the entire legislative process, click here.   
  • Stay Informed — Visit our websites and official social media pages:    
  • Get in Touch — You can always reach our offices by email or phone; all our contact information is listed at the bottom of this newsletter.   


Rep. Tarra Simmons