District Update: Legislative Updates + How State Dollars are Spent at Home + Town Halls in April

Dear friends and neighbors, 

The 2024 legislative session is a wrap! It concluded at 5:49 p.m. on March 7 and I’m now back home in Bremerton working on issues important to you right here in our communities in Kitsap County. 

In this newsletter, I’m giving you an update on legislation, budget requests I put in for projects right here at home, as well as information on two town halls I’m hosting with my seatmates next month. 

An Update on Keep Our Care Act

In a short, 60-day session as the one that just concluded, sometimes the clock runs out on important legislation and must wait and be reintroduced in the next biennium, as the legislature works on a two-year cycle. Sometimes it takes several years to get important bills across the finish line in both chambers. For the past several years, this has been the case with the Keep Our Care Act. 

Since 2022, I have been working on this issue with my friend and colleague, Sen. Emily Randall. This year, her bill, Senate Bill 5241, was the vehicle that moved through both chambers (I sponsored the companion bill, House Bill 1263). Sadly, in the end, it wasn’t heard for a vote on the House floor. Once again, I’m disappointed in this result, but it doesn’t mean I’m giving up on this idea. I will continue to advocate for it, and you can expect it to be reintroduced in 2025. 

The Keep Our Care Act creates a system of public oversight that ensures people’s needs are prioritized over corporate growth. This will protect care and prioritize patients when hospitals merge or are bought by other healthcare systems. This is especially true right here in our communities, where residents may only have the choice of one hospital or clinic. For a deeper dive into this bill and what happened during this legislative session, I encourage you to check out this Seattle Times article here.

Bills of Mine Becoming Law

This year, two bills of mine passed through both chambers. These include House Bill 1972 and House Bill 1983. HB 1972 strengthens financial support for the Washington Physician Health Program; read more about it here. HB 1983 extend support services for drug court graduates; read more about it here. 

HB 1972 was already signed by the governor, and the photo above is at the bill signing! This bill becomes law effective June 6. HB 1983 still awaits a bill signing.

How State Dollars are Spent at Home

In addition to sponsoring and supporting legislation, legislators also put in requests for state funding on a variety of local projects. The list below includes just a few of my requests that will receive funding from our state’s capital budget:  

  • Bainbridge Island Senior/Community Center ($100,000): The funding request is intended to support the design phase of the new Bainbridge Island Senior/Community Center project. The goal of this phase is to have all necessary plans, documents, and community support in place to seamlessly transition into the construction phase of the project. 
  • Rejuvenation Community Day Center ($500,000): The Rejuvenation Community Day Center (RCDC) is designed to fulfill basic needs, offer shelter, and provide resources. It aims to restore dignity and motivation among homeless individuals, offering meals, showers, healthcare, housing assistance, and counseling. The RCDC fosters inclusivity and community support, serving as a hub for aiding those in poverty or homelessness. 
  • St. Vincent de Paul – Permanent Supportive Housing & Shelter ($1 million): St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Bremerton is developing a two-phase mixed-use affordable housing and community services project on its two-acre property in Bremerton. Phase 1 will focus on serving women and children, including 57 units of permanent and transitional housing, a food pantry, and a 10-bed expansion to the Stella Maris Shelter. Phase 2 will provide 110 units of affordable rental housing for low-income families. The project aims to support vulnerable residents and maximize community impact. Phase 1 predevelopment activities are being funded by a Local & Community Projects Capital Budget request. Once construction begins, this funding will become permanent. Phase 2 will commence after Phase 1 completion.  

To dive deeper into state budgets (operating, capital, and transportation) and see what has been appropriated for our district, check out https://fiscal.wa.gov/

Join Us at a Town Hall! 

My seatmates and I are hosting two town halls on April 13. Check out the graphics above and below for the times and locations, and if you’re curious to hear from us about how the 2024 legislative session went and what we’re working on in the interim, I really hope to see you there! 


Rep. Tarra Simmons