23rd LD Update: Health Care & Wellness, Transportation & Capital Budget Wins

Dear friends and neighbors,

This session we have made some important strides in healthcare. We expanded coverage for preventive services, ensured access to essential healthcare, and made life-saving medication more affordable.

In addition, we prioritized transportation investments to enhance sustainability and safety and address climate change. We have taken steps to improve ferry systems, pedestrian and cyclist safety, and support electrification initiatives.

I am excited about the progress we have made and look forward to continuing this momentum in the future.

Health Care & Wellness:

We’ve made significant strides in healthcare and support services for Washingtonians. Whether through expanded coverage for preventive services like colorectal and lung cancer screenings under HB 1957 or ensuring access to essential healthcare regardless of federal changes. For young adults leaving inpatient behavioral health treatment, HB 1929 introduced the Post-Inpatient Housing Program to prevent homelessness and aid in a smooth reintegration into society. HB 1979 has capped the cost of inhalers and epinephrine pens at $35, making life-saving medication more affordable.

Our commitment to accessible healthcare extends to long-term care benefits, ensuring continued participation for those who move out of state and protecting against discrimination (HB 2467). Moreover, we’re enhancing healthcare cost transparency through HB 1508 by involving more consumers and improving data-sharing. Physician Assistants now have more autonomy to provide timely and quality care under HB 2041 in underserved areas.

Additionally, steps have been taken to enhance the safety of abortion providers by allowing clinic names on medication labels through HB 2115. We’re clarifying language to protect healthcare providers offering reproductive and gender-affirming care, ensuring patient dignity and provider safety across state lines with HB 1954.

Two of my bills passed through both chambers this year. These include House Bill 1972 and House Bill 1983. HB 1972 strengthens financial support for the Washington Physician Health Program, and HB 1983 extends support services for drug court graduates.


In this session, we prioritized transportation investments to enhance sustainability and safety and combat climate change. This includes improving ferry systems, pedestrian, and cyclist safety while supporting electrification initiatives. Notable legislation includes HB 1846, which opens ferry vessel procurement to national shipbuilders while offering incentives for Washington-based construction.

The Move Ahead WA plan allocates $1.6 billion to improving the ferry system, including building hybrid-electric ferries, operational support, emissions reduction efforts, and maintaining existing vessels.

For folks in our district, ferries are a lifeline to vital services like health care and education. My seatmate, Rep. Nance, has made fixing our ferries a top focus and has spent the last few months gathering feedback and concerns from Kitsap neighbors. He was able to secure $500K in the supplemental budget to evaluate funding sources and gather key data for federal funding we can use to fix our ferries.

Additionally, the state is embarking on a clean ferry initiative to modernize its fleet, aiming to reduce pollution and improve environmental sustainability. Port electrification efforts are also underway to decrease diesel emissions and enhance coastal communities’ environmental health and quality of life.

Capital Budget Wins:

In addition to legislative efforts, I’ve requested state funding for local projects. Below are a few of my requests that will receive funding from our state’s capital budget:

Bainbridge Island Senior/Community Center ($100,000): Supporting the design phase for seamless project transition.

Rejuvenation Community Day Center ($500,000): Providing basic needs, shelter, and resources for homeless individuals, fostering community support.

St. Vincent de Paul—Permanent Supportive Housing & Shelter ($1 million): This project is developing affordable housing and services for vulnerable residents. Phase 1 is focused on women and children, and Phase 2 will follow its completion.

Stay Connected!

As we approach the election season, please note that certain communication channels, such as email updates, websites, and Facebook pages, will be temporarily inactive from May 6, 2024, until after the general election in November. However, my office remains open and ready to assist you with any questions, meeting requests, or messages you may have. I’m excited to meet in the community in the months ahead. Feel free to reach out anytime. I’m here to help with any questions or concerns. Look at the options below to keep in touch. Enjoy your summer and fall, and I look forward to reconnecting with you soon!

E-mail me directly: Tarra.Simmons@leg.wa.gov.

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