Welcome to the 2023 Legislative Session!

Dear friends and neighbors, 

Last week marked the beginning of the 2023 Legislative Session and a return to an in-person democratic process. I am excited to get started in this new session and am grateful for your continued trust in me. This newsletter introduces the work ahead and what it means for our district and state. Please consider clicking here or on the image below to view my video on staying engaged this session. I hope you will find it useful.

Slatter Vid Upd Cover

Postsecondary Education & Workforce Development

I am honored to continue in my role as chair of the Postsecondary Education & Workforce Committee. In this committee, I guide the work to make postsecondary education more attainable for all Washingtonians. Whether it is an apprenticeship, degree, or credential, students are provided a path out of poverty to long-term financial stability and economic prosperity. When these opportunities are accessible to everyone across the state, we guarantee the continued economic strength of our state via a skilled and educated workforce. Ultimately, this builds a stronger economy that uplifts all communities.

One piece of legislation I am particularly proud of is House Bill 1156, which bridges the gap between federal and state eligibility for the Washington college grant program.  The Washington College Grant (WCG) is one of the most generous state financial aid programs in the country, but one area where it is less generous than the federal Pell Grant is its eligibility timeline. Currently, the WCG only provides aid to students for 125% of a four-year degree (up to 15 quarters) whereas the Pell Grant provides aid for 150% of a four-year degree (up to 18 quarters). This bill will fix that gap and provide a more consistent financial aid package for Washington students. As we emerge out of the pandemic, the decline in financial aid applications and lower enrollment & retention rates must be addressed. This bill expands accessibility to the grant so low-income students, students of color, and older, returning students are not left behind.

Protecting Health Privacy

Over the last year, we have seen continued, unprecedented attacks across our nation on the right to reproductive health care and bodily autonomy. Numerous vulnerabilities in individual privacy have been highlighted and exacerbated as a result. In response, I have introduced House Bill 1155, the My Health, My Data Act, which will address the collection, sharing, and selling of sensitive health-related data.

Consumers understandably assume their sensitive health care data is covered under HIPAA, but that is not the case. Private health data is currently being tracked relatively unregulated by websites, apps, and search engines, disproportionately impacting women. Period tracking apps can sell sensitive information about a women’s reproductive health. Pregnant individuals who visit crisis pregnancy centers seeking abortion care can unknowingly have their information shared with anti-abortion groups. Digital advertising firms can set up geofencing around the health care facilities that can bombard individuals with text messages and advertisements urging them not to seek reproductive or gender-affirming care.

If passed, this legislation will create a centralized approach to health data privacy in Washington state prohibiting the sale of Washingtonian’s health data and sending unsolicited messages to persons at health facilities. It would also require companies that collect personal health data to abide by stricter privacy standards for consumer health data. As healthcare increasingly takes advantage of modern technology, it is more important than ever that we protect consumer privacy and reproductive health data in equal measure.

Climate Resilience in Communities

Climate change remains one of the biggest issues we as a state face ahead of us. Communities of color and low-income communities are most impacted by the rising sea levels, increased flooding, heat waves and smoke. The next four months of legislative session presents an opportunity to turn the tide on the climate crisis, address historical injustices of climate pollution and create amazing opportunities for workers and businesses in Washington.

Last week, I introduced House Bill 1176, which will create the Washington Climate Corps Network. In partnership with the Governor’s Office, this will connect and grow opportunities in clean energy jobs for the future. As we transition to an economy that is fully dependent on renewable energy, it is vital to build opportunities for young adults, veterans, and our workforce to engage in climate action with emphasis in overburdened communities.

Staying Healthy in 2023

It has been three years since coronavirus first emerged in Washington. While many have returned to normal, many experts remain concerned that the pandemic is far from over. Cases are expected to rise due to indoor holiday gatherings and underreporting as more people take rapid tests at home. As of early January, omicron descendants made up the majority of cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though only 15% of the U.S. population has received an updated booster shot.

Taking precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 is as important as ever. If you need to schedule a vaccination or booster you can do that here, and if you’re looking for resources on testing availability head here 

As we find ourselves in the first in-person session since 2020, we’re ensuring the Legislature is more accessible than ever. All our committee hearings will continue to be run both in person and online again this session, meaning you can participate in the process without having to travel to Olympia. Here are some great ways to stay involved this session:

2023 Session Infographic short

In Service,


State Representative Vandana Slatter

48th Legislative District