Making progress on education, housing, reproductive rights and public safety
This session, we tackled major issues facing all our families, including housing, privacy, education, and behavioral health care.
We also passed all three budgets—operating, transportation, and capital—before the end of the 105-day session. Those budgets made smart investments that will help families and communities here in the 49th District and in every corner of the great state of Washington.
I want to thank everyone who wrote, emailed, called the Hotline—your comments and ideas are quite important to me.
A special thanks to people who took the time to attend one of our 49th District town hall meetings. It was so good to see you and hear your stories and thoughts!
Every student learns differently—and our education system should not treat them as interchangeable parts.
That’s why I wrote House Bill 1308 that improves on Graduation Pathways, a program that created multiple routes for students to find pursue their individual futures after public schools.
This new law establishes a personalized option for students to meet graduation pathway requirements. That new option involves completing a performance-based learning experience, where they apply their skills and knowledge in the real world.
As an educator, a lawmaker, and a mother, I know our children perform better when they have more options. I hope this reform helps students find their way to success in school and in life.
Special education investments
The teachers and parents of special education students have pushed for decades to get better funding from the state.
This session, we passed a new state budget that invests an unprecedented $417 million more toward special education.
New funding will also study the total cost of special education, so that we know exactly the size and scope of the problem at our local school districts and statewide.
Building schools and colleges
I’m happy to say the state’s new construction budget puts significant new funding into building local schools, colleges, and university facilities.
- $70.4 million to construction early learning facilities
- $872 million to help build public schools
- $1.5 billion for higher education construction
The high price of rent and mortgages is a problem through the state and right here in the 49th District.
This problem is affecting all of us, with working families struggling to find an affordable place to live, young people losing hope they’ll ever buy that first home, and more people losing their home to live in their cars or in a tent.
Housing is a serious problem that needs serious solutions.
Our new state operating budget and the new construction budget both include significant investments to address the housing crisis.
The new operating budget includes:
- $30 million more for children and youth homelessness
- $141 million extra for emergency housing and rental assistance
- $150 million added to the covenant home ownership program
- $60 million more for encampment response and outreach
- $27 million increase for Housing and Essential Needs
In the new state construction budget, there’s $170 million to build affordable housing and shelters along with $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund.
Protecting reproductive health rights
Your reproductive rights are under attack across America, and this session, we fought back by passing laws to protect your health, your rights, and your privacy.
Shield Law (House Bill 1469)—As soon as the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, we knew that other states would try to limit abortion care and criminalize it for women and their doctors, even for things that happen outside a state’s borders. The Shield Law uses every available tool so our state’s residents are safe from the reach of anti-abortion laws from Texas, Idaho, and elsewhere.
Stocking up (House Bill 1854)—I believe every individual has the right to their own bodily autonomy. And that right extends to exercising the full spectrum of our reproductive health rights and services. This bill allows Washington to distribute mifepristone to those seeking to end a pregnancy or for miscarriage management. The decision to end a pregnancy should be made between a patient and their provider, not by a judge in Texas.
Eliminating co-pays and deductibles (Senate Bill 5242)—Your reproductive health decision and health care access shouldn’t get limited by your ability to pay. Co-pays and deductibles are a significant barrier to reproductive care, especially for low-income patients. This bill eliminates these out-of-pocket costs for all Washington residents seeking abortions.
Protecting your private health data (House Bill 1155)—The My Health, My Data Act is first-in-the-nation legislation to protect our deeply personal health information from being sold without our consent – including reproductive health data. This is important as reproductive health care is being attacked across our country.
Our state’s new operating budget also includes a $24 million boost in funding for reproductive health services.
New training facility!
I’m excited to announce we fought for $2 million in the state budget to start a law enforcement training center here in Clark County.
This will address a serious problem for our police and sheriff departments throughout southwest Washington, which have struggled to fill positions due to a shortage of training slots for new recruits.
Another advantage is that instead of leaving for up to four months at the training center in Burien, law enforcement hires can stay with their families here while they develop the skills and knowledge needed to keep our communities safe.
I’d love to hear from you
If you have an idea or question, please get in touch with my office!