Welcome to the 2023 Legislative Session!

Greetings, Friends and Neighbors!

Monday, January 9th marked the start of the 2023 Legislative Session, and I am honored to return as your 30th Legislative District representative.  

I am incredibly proud of the impactful work the State Legislature has accomplished over the last few years, especially in the face of great challenge. We worked hard on economic development, behavioral health, and support for people with developmental disabilities. I sponsored a bill to allow Developmental Disabilities Administration clients to participate in both employment services and community access services, ending the practice of making clients choose one service at the expense of another. I also sponsored legislation to eliminate the use of IQ scores in determining whether people with developmental disabilities are eligible for programs and services—the IQ test is outdated, problematic, and does not accurately measure the support someone may need. Both bills were signed into law in March 2022.  

My colleagues and I also passed legislation to help survivors flee their abusers without facing burdensome housing costs, expand access to free and reduced healthcare, create a nurse educator loan repayment program, and provide more state services and resources to help ensure young people have access to safe, stable housing when leaving systems of care. We fought to close equity gaps in schools through language access, prioritize placing kids with relatives when they need out-of-home care, and we fought to bring more nurses, counselors, and social workers to schools to address the youth mental health crisis.  

 In my first term, I also served as Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, and worked to provide Black individuals, families, and communities throughout Washington with opportunities for equity, justice, and support. This year, I am proud to announce that I will continue efforts to support community in a broader leadership as the  Majority Caucus Vice Chair. Additionally, I will serve as Vice Chair of House Human Services, Youth, & Early Learning Committee, and will serve on the Housing and Transportation Committees.  

Strengthening our community

My priorities for the 2023 legislative session include addressing our housing crisis, ensuring that comprehensive supports for the developmental disability community are available, reducing barriers in key industries facing workforce shortages, and advancing behavioral health policies.  

We have a need for more housing of every kind, in every community. In the next few decades, Washington is projected to need about 1.1 million new homes build, over half of which are needed for people with very low or extremely low incomes. This is a market that the private sector has never been able to serve. That’s why I have long advocated for a multifaceted approach that increases the housing supply, strengthens tenant protections, and increases our investment in workforce housing options. I’ve signed on as a sponsor to HB 1100, which specifically addresses the missing middle housing supply, and will continue to work on housing throughout this session.  

I will also continue to lead a bipartisan, bicameral caucus to address the needs of the developmental disability community. This session, we will work to increase the housing supply for this community, improve the caseload forecasting to be reflective of current needs, address the special education funding gaps, and increase service provider recruitment, retention, and compensation rates to address workforce gaps.  

We are facing a workforce shortage statewide, leaving gaps in essential services. I’ve introduced HB 1038 to allow licensing of anesthesiologist assistants in our state to help patients get better and faster access to surgical care.  

Additionally, I continue to serve on the House leadership team responding to the Blake decision. Sentiment continues to support expansion of behavioral health resources and infrastructure for those facing substance use disorders. Communities remain very concerned about crimes associated with drug possession, and the Legislature needs to provide the tools to law enforcement to respond to these crimes. The criminal legal standard for possession of controlled substances will also incorporate access to community supports, rather than simply forcing individuals into an endless cycle of the criminal legal system and incarceration. We’re working on a comprehensive package to build a rapid, on-demand treatment and recovery support system for every county in Washington.  

Here are some ways to stay in touch and engaged:

  • Watch TVW.org broadcasts all the debates and votes that happen in the House and Senate, along with committee meetings and other events you may be interested in. You can watch live or access recorded content. 
  • Research Look up legislation by lawmaker or by topic. 
  • Learn Learn about the legislative process, from start to finish. 
  • Testify Committee testimony will continue to have a virtual option, so instead of driving to Olympia to weigh in on legislation during the committee process, you can continue to do so from home. Written testimony is also an option, and you can always share your story with me. Learn more about how to testify.  
  • Get in touch — You can reach my office by email at Jamila.Taylor@leg.wa.gov, or are welcome to call the legislative hotline number (toll free 800-562-6000). This year, we will accommodate in-person and virtual meetings. To schedule a meeting, please contact my Legislative Assistant, Preeya Williams, at Preeya.Williams@leg.wa.gov.  

Serve as a Legislative Page!

The Washington State Legislature has one of the best Legislative Page programs in the country. Because we are operating in-person again, this program is open to youth ages 14-18. I encourage anyone interested to apply. 

Pages contribute to the efficient operation of the legislature, receive daily civics instruction, draft their own bills, and participate in mock committee hearings. They also earn a stiped of $50 a day and can also earn up to 20 hours of community service.  

To help lower-income families participate in the program, the House of Representatives created the Gina Grant Bull Scholarship; check out the FAQ page to see if you can apply. 

Taking part in the page program is a great opportunity for young people to gain a unique perspective of the legislative process. If you have a teen who could benefit from this experience, I encourage you to consider sending them to Olympia for a week.  

For more information, please visit the House Page Program website. 

It is an honor to continue to represent the 30th Legislative District. I look forward to hearing your stories and your priorities, advocacy, and feedback throughout the 2023 Legislative Session—please don’t hesitate to send me an email or give us a call at 360-868-6290.  

With Gratitude,

Rep. Jamila Taylor