Rep. Slatter’s newsletter: Raising tobacco age to 21 / Measles / Tracking bills

Preventing our kids from becoming addicted to tobacco

tobacco 21

Research shows 90 percent of adult smokers got started when they were kids, and smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

If you’re an adult who smokes, vapes, or chews, that’s your choice and your right. What we don’t want is young kids–some as young as middle school–getting addicted to tobacco. The younger someone is when they start using tobacco, the greater the impact on brain development and the harder it is to quit.  This addiction also has long-term health consequences.

Most teens get their tobacco and vapor products from friends and peers who are ages 18 to 20. That’s why I support House Bill 1074, which would raise the legal age to buy tobacco to 21.

I’m happy to report that this legislation passed out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee with bipartisan support.

Measles outbreak

Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to the measles outbreak in Clark County. There has been one confirmed case in King County and measles could easily spread our way. If you have questions, King County Public Health is a great resource and source of information for keeping ourselves healthy.

For most people, getting immunized against measles is a safe and effective way to prevent the spread of the disease. However, children under the age of one and people with certain medical conditions cannot get the vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those who cannot get immunized.


With the current outbreak, kids in Clark County who aren’t immunized are unable to attend school and parents with infants are scared to take their babies out of the house. To try and reduce outbreaks in the future, I support legislation to remove the personal or philosophical exemption from the measles vaccination for school attendance. Exemptions would still exist for medical and religious reasons. This bill was heard by the Health Care and Wellness Committee this morning, you can watch it here.

How do we keep track of all the bills?

You might have wondered how legislators keep track of the thousands of bills introduced each session.  This year, the House of Representatives has 20 committees. Representatives sit on 2-4 committees and are able to hear presentations and testimony on issue areas and bills as they go through the committee process. My committees are Transportation, College and Workforce Development, and Innovation, Technology and Economic Development.

If a bill makes it to the “floor” to be voted on by the full House, someone from the committee that heard the bill can often provide information and context for their colleagues who are less familiar with the legislation.

Another way that legislators can get a quick snapshot of a bill is through the bill report. Nonpartisan staff create bill reports for each bill that a committee hears. The report contains a summary of the bill and how it changes current law. After the bill has a public hearing, the bill report may also have a synopsis of the testimony.

If you are interested in learning more about a bill or a particular topic, bill reports are available on the legislative website under “Available Documents” for each bill.

Working together

We represent the same district, and we’re office neighbors! Rep. Amy Walen is in JLOB 418 and I’m in 419.  It is a true honor to represent the 48th, and working with Amy is a joy.  I value the hard work and thoughtfulness she brings to this role.

Between the two of us we cover six different committees so the proximity of our offices has been both fruitful and convenient!  It allows us to discuss legislation and bounce ideas off each other, particularly on district-specific issues.

We are both committed to keeping you updated while working together on policies to benefit working families back home and throughout the entire state.

Thank you so much for your interest in what’s going on in Olympia. As always, if you want more information, want to share your concerns, or want to give me feedback, please don’t hesitate to call or email anytime.