Legislative Round Up

Dear neighbors,

I hope you and loved ones are enjoying our lovely summer weather!  This legislative update offers a round-up of the past session, where we made important strides on protecting reproductive rights, reducing gun violence, addressing workforce shortages, and uplifting all communities in the green economy of tomorrow! I will follow up with more updates on areas such as workforce, climate, and reproductive healthcare in the next newsletter, but I am proud of what we were able to accomplish with your help and participation in the legislative process.


We were able to pass our 2023-25 operating, capital, and transportation budgets without relying on any new general taxes or fees. These budgets also provide property tax relief for seniors (HB 1355), working families (Working Families Tax Credit), and COLA increases for our state’s retired public employees (SB 5294).

Key investments include:

  • $2.2 billion for K-12 education,
  • $1.8 billion for long-term care and developmental disabilities,
  • $1.1 billion for behavioral health,
  • $1 billion for public health and health care,
  • $684 million to protect natural resources,
  • $590 million for early learning and childcare, $519 million for housing and homelessness, and much more. To learn more about funding in the Resilient Washington Budget, click here.

Additionally, we led the way on expanding access to behavioral health care by addressing the shortage of behavioral health workers with legislation to help us recruit, educate, and retain the workforce we need (HB 1724), as well as a provide mental health counselors with a streamlined process to practice across state lines in Washington (HB 1069).


Having heard from you about the issues that mattered most, we moved forward important policies to advance racial equity and justice in our community so that all Washingtonians can thrive. We passed several bills to build more housing (add some bill numbers here), and created paths to homeownership, especially for low-income families and communities who have historically been prevented from owning their own home due to racially restrictive real estate policies (HB 1474). One vital bill at the intersection of equity and community development is HB 1181 to help cities and counties plan, adapt, and build more sustainably, so all communities are better prepared and protected from climate change impacts and natural disasters.

2023 Special Session Recap

In May, Governor Inslee called the legislature in for a special session to create a uniform drug possession law for our state. In the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling in State v. Blake, a gap in policy was created regarding drug possession that was set to expire on July 1. To avoid a confusing patchwork of policies, treatment options, and penalties, it was imperative for us to act.

On May 16th, a final compromise was passed as Senate Bill 5536. This helps those struggling with substance use disorder by providing the necessary support and services for treatment, while also minimizing involvement with the criminal legal system. Simultaneously, we included the needed flexibility for law enforcement and prosecutors to intervene to address public safety concerns. Together, SB 5536 strives to strike this delicate balance and serve as a foundational law to build off of in future sessions to increase access to treatment.

Going forward, our communities can rest assured that there is a statewide system that creates accountability through community engagement and the implementation of proven strategies to rehabilitate people with substance use disorder.

Preparing for the 2024 Legislative Session

Now that session is over and interim is underway, I am back in our community, listening to you, and working on solutions to our most pressing challenges. Policy areas that I am working on this interim include:

  • Ethics in Artificial Intelligence
  • Continuing to build on our work to secure the right to reproductive health care
  • Credential transparency at institutions of higher education
  • Improving wastewater treatment and providing access to clean water for all Washingtonians
  • Continuing assessment of current and future workforce needs, including needs in healthcare, Washington state’s supply chain, and other skilled, technical jobs that are vital to our state’s economy.
  • Further work and assessment of post-secondary education affordability, enrollment, basic needs, and student outcomes, including for underrepresented communities

I look forward to diving deeper into these issues in future e-newsletters with you!

I am further honored to share that I have been selected to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Newly Created Higher Education Task Force! This is a bipartisan group of legislators from across the nation who will examine state and federal strategies to make college more affordable for students and taxpayers, improve completion rates, and reduce rates of unrepayable student debt. Together, I am hopeful we can take meaningful action to build a strong and equitable workforce and economy!

Stay In Touch

Our district is fortunate to have engaged citizens who actively participate in the public process. Please continue to stay in touch by following my facebook page or by sending me an email.  Thank you for all you do!

In Service,

State Representative Vandana Slatter